Following on from HARRY POTTER: THE CREATURE VAULT, Titan Books present this stunning red wine coloured leatherette hardback book with a gold coloured debossed frame trim design on the front and back and blurb on the rear of the book. Measuring at 24cm x 28.5cm with a thickness of 2cm, this is a decent sized book to showcase the large full colour images and details of the locations from the movie.
As a film fan who likes to travel, I like the idea of visiting places which were used as locations for movie shoots. I internally screamed with joy when I visited Plockton, the home of the harbour master’s house and some of the opening scenes from The Wicker Man. As a lover of the Harry Potter film franchise, particularly the early films when Harry, Ron and Hermoine were still kids getting into mischief, it’s brilliant to be able to read this book and see where the different scenes were shot as well as gaze upon some beautiful concept art and behind-the-scenes photos of the location and props. Most of the sets were built in studios but for landscape shots and locations, numerous parts of Scotland, Wales and England were used and this book specifies where each location was shot.
The book begins with the Dursley’s house and follows the locations in the order of which they are revealed in the film. The layout of the book’s contents is perfect, with enough photographs, sketches and concept art to visually reacquaint yourself with those particular scenes from the films, and plenty of text detailing the creation of those scenes from the creation and acquisition of certain props to the way in which the set design was achieved to give the illusion of a sprawling neighbourhood or moving staircases. From an artist or craft point of view, this book is a tremendous insight into how these wondrous places were created, especially if you’re looking to work on films yourself. The details about dressing the set in a certain way and creating backdrops and props for the scenes really highlight the vital hardwork and dedication put in by these unseen individuals. Without these people, we wouldn’t have the magical Diagon Alley with its shops brimming with cauldrons, broomsticks and books. Likewise, what would the film have been like without the CGI whizzes who created such iconic locations such as the breathtaking Quidditch pitch?
Featuring full colour photos and concept art throughout its 208 pages, HARRY POTTER: MAGICAL PLACES FROM THE FILMS is a riveting read for anyone with an interest in the Harry Potter movies, particularly those people who love to know more about the behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating masterpieces such as this, a film franchise that was always going to be a visually grand task thanks to its magical source material. It’s an extremely hard book to put down, with each page revealing more secrets on how certain visuals were achieved. You’d think revealing these methods would ruin the magic of the movie, but far from it. These details only make the franchise more of a mesmerising wonder of creation and it’s great to see that even the actors had their own input into how their character’s spaces should be, whether it needed more books (Hermoine) or less personal items (Snape). With the designers working alongside the directors to achieve a certain look as detailed by J.K. Rowling’s textual descriptions, the crew really did bring the book series to life.
This stunning book also contains a little booklet in the middle of the book featuring the paintings of Hogwarts, as well as a map of Diagon Alley in an envelope at the back of the book, which are fun little additions to an already exceptional companion book.
If you know a Harry Potter fan or are one yourself, you must add this exquisite coffee-table book to your collection.