Report from MSN UK Tour for Half-Blood Prince and Details on the Contest for Part in Deathly Hallows


Jun 14, 2009

Posted by: SueTLC

HBP Film

Previously we told you about a special MSN tour and contest Sky was having in the UK to celebrate the release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. This contest involves the opportunity to win a part in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, as well as a chance for fans to visit a traveling exhibition of props from HBP. Today, longtime TLC reader Neil had tickets to the stop in Edinburgh, Scotland and sent us his report of the exhibition, as well as news that there would be a winner of the contest in every country it visits (you can see the list of stops here). He was also told that depending on the director’s final decision, some of winners may end up as Witches or Wizards in portraits for the film. While we hope to have some of Neil’s photos from his stop available soon, below you can read some of the things fans can expect to find when they visit the tour. Thanks so much Neil!

Neil started out the tour by noting the friendly staff, telling them about his recent experience at LeakyCon, he described the tractor trailers which comprised the touring exhibition, noting they are all decorated to look like Hogwarts. Upon entering, Neil wrote:

“The first part that you walk into, via a stone arch, contained three LCD
TVs on the wall and they were hooked up to 3 different games consoles playing
the HBP video game. The two immediate things I noticed about the
game were that you get play Quidditch and that even on the
Wii version, the graphics were much improved. There were two people
working for EA there to help you, and they were chatting away to me as I tried
out Quidditch on the Xbox 360 (it reminded me a lot of Quidditch World Cup on my
old Gamecube.) You fly through the floating stars to get closer to the
Snitch. I had 2 goes. The first time I was totally rubbish and got
nowhere near the Snitch. The second time I was much better and would have
caught it if I hadn’t been chatting to the EA guys!! [cough]), and the
Gryffindor Duelling Club on the Wii. If the game ends up being as good as
this demo version then, again, this will be a big improvement. I found
that while duelling in OotP the Wii didn’t pick up all of the remote’s
movements, so you ended up not casting all of the spells you meant to, but this
seems much more responsive, and Protago is awesome! If you time it well,
it will send the spell back the opponent who cast it. Unfortunately I
wasn’t able to take any pics of the games, but I did mange to get one of the big
promo sign on the stone castle wall.

I then went through the stone arch and passed a stone Griffin, which seemed
to be guarding the second section. This one was very much like the
plusher parts of Hogwarts, with wood paneling and wooden ceilings. On the
left was a huge floor to ceiling mirror to give the illusion of space, and on
the right were the 4 big display cases. The first one contained one of
Harry’s costumes, which I assume he will be wearing out-with classes (scruffy
boy!!), complete with his wand in his pocket and some school books. The
second had Horace Slughorn’s tweed attire, which really seemed to fit the
character so well. Next we got to see Dumbledore’s robes, along with the
Elder wand, one of his telescopes, a few of his books and several
parchments. The last case was probably the best, but
unfortunately I was too busy talking to the promo people to really take it in at the time. But I did see
straight away that it contained the sorting hat and Harry’s Firebolt!! In the case there were many books, rolls of parchment, another telescope, star charts,
official Hogwarts documents, and even one or two that look like they may be from
the Wizengamot. I was pleased to learn that everything there had been used
during the filming of HBP. Moving forward I heard a very high
pitched and torturous scream come from though the door. Someone was
yelling “Expacto Patronum”, but it sounded like the poor girl was in

After the screaming stopped, I walked through the door into Dumbledore’s
office. I didn’t recognize it at first, mainly because of the size and
shape restrictions imposed on the designers by the fact that they were
putting it in the back of a trailer, but you would have thought that the
portraits on the walls and the high-backed chair ,complete with RED leather
padding behind the desk would have given me a clue. And I’m a Gryffindor

They sat me down in the chair and told me to look at the camera and
smile. I told them they needed to say something funny because I cannot
smile on cue for a photo. After they took my picture in Dumbledore’s
chair, that told me to choose from either Dumbledore’s or Harry’s wands and to
practice one of the spells on the bored in from of me. I decided upon the
Elder wand (well I was in his office, right?) and went for Wingardium
Leviosa. Once they’d recorded the proper attempt for the completion
to win a part in the last film, Rachel, the lady that was looking after us here,
told me I’d done a perfect Swish and Flick. They then told me that I would be able to go on to MSN in a day
or two to see my video, and they let me take a few pictures of the office
which contained several shelves of books, parchments, crystal balls, various
instruments, potions bottles, as well as the aforementioned portraits.

I left via a side exit, and at the bottom of the stairs I was stopped by a man in Slytherin robes who turned out to be
a magician. The choice of robes seemed appropriate in the end, because he
was rather cruel with his card tricks. He asked me to name my favourite
character (Hermione) and got me to write my name on a Hermione playing
card. He then proceeded to place my card in the “middle” of the
pack…each time he did this it always came out as the second card. I was
starting to get wise to the fact the he was making it look like he was placing
it in the middle, when he hit me with the big one. With a flurry of hands
he discarded the top card. Ahah! I knew that mine would be on
top now and I told him so!! He turned it over to reveal a different card
an mumbled “are you sure?”. I looked at him and there was my card gripped
between his teeth! I was gobsmacked!
Before I left I was able to speak to the Tour Manager, John. We
chatted for a bit about how only ticket holders were getting on board and that
they had won their tickets through various media partners like MSN, Sky and
Sainsburys. But when I mentioned the all British cast he told me that
there would actually be a winner from every country that the tour
visits. He didn’t know if all of the winners would be filming on the same
day, but when I jokingly said how good it would be to die during the Battle of
Hogwarts, he told me that he thought the winners might end up as witches and
wizards in portraits (subject to the director cutting it out of the film, of
course). He then went on to tell me that he would be travelling with the
Tour throughout Europe, but the PR people that I’d met would change at every
country, so they would always have native language speakers. He also said
that they were all really enjoying the tour and that the best thing about it was
seeing everyone come out of that side door of the trailer with big smiles on
their faces.

I can attest to that. I was back in my car after only 28 minutes,
but by the time I put the photo of me in Dumbledore’s chair, and my Hermione
playing card, on to the front passenger seat of my car, I was really looking
forward to July 15th, and I had a big smile on my face!!

Finding Hogwarts

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.