30 Awesome Behind-the-Scenes Secrets About How Harry Potter Was Made.

The magic of Harry Potter isn't just in the spells and characters, it came from all of the hard work of the cast and crew to make such an incredible franchise feel totally real. While such an undertaking is no easy feat, the production team really made it look effortless. But here are 30 behind-the-scenes facts about how Harry Potter was made to prove that otherwise. Enjoy!



3/30. The moving staircases in Hogwarts were a combination of one real staircase and a tiny model of multiple staircases made to look real post-production. The actors stood on this single moving one to film scenes, and the rest were sweeping views of the model.

4/30. The Ministry of Magic set was so big, it took hundreds of extras to fill it, including some producers. Walls were lined with green and red tiles made of wood, and the fireplaces where wizards could warp to stand more than nine meters tall.

5/30. In addition to creating models and masks, the creature shop could actually make the monster models move with motors. The giant spider in one of the movies took motors and about 100 people to move.


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6/30. The Weasley's Wizard Wheezes store took three months to build and was filled with 120 designed products. Ollivanders wand shop had more than 17,000 individually labeled wand boxes in it.

7/30. In Harry's Gryffindor dorm room, props changed from movie to movie. Producers lined bedside tables and walls with things the characters would be interested in, like sports posters and pennants. But the beds were never upgraded. By the time the final movies were filmed, Daniel Radcliffe and the other boys had to curl up in balls to keep from hanging over the edge of the bed during shoots.

8/30. During the epic feast in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," tons of desserts covered the tables in the Great Hall. While most of it was made from painted resin, some of it was edible and the cast got to indulge.

9/30. Dumbledore's office was intricately designed by producers who bound hundreds of British phone books in leather to fill the bookshelf, and placed 48 portraits on the walls of "Hogwarts' headmasters." The memory cabinet, where Dumbledore showed Harry his memories, was decorated with more than 800 tiny, hand-labeled vials.

10/30. The potions classroom actually grew in size during the filming of the "Harry Potter" movies. Producers had to expand the set to make room for all the extras. The hundreds of glass bottles that lined the walls of the classroom were filled by producers with any strange thing they could find, from tufts of hair to unwanted guts or bones from local butchers.


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11/30. To make the Weasley house look disheveled, no walls in the set were at a right angle. Support beams were yanked out of place after the set was built to make it look accidentally skewed.

12/30. Five large warehouses were needed to store all of the props used during the "Harry Potter" films. They included 5,000 pieces of furniture, 12,000 handmade books, 25,000 printed pages of The Quibbler, and all the Weasley's Wizard Wheezes products.

13/30. Hagrids beard was made up of six different hair pieces, and things got stuck in it all the time, including live bats.

14/30. In "The Order of the Phoenix," Harry goes to the Ministry of Magic to find a prophecy. There, he finds hundreds of prophecy orbs. 15,000 physical orbs were made and lit by set designers. In the end, all of them were scrapped because the whole scene was digitalized. The studio tour still has some of the originals on display.

15/30. The large "Magic is Might" statue in the Ministry of Magic was actually made with large quantities of foam and hand painted.


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16/30. Dolores Umbridge, the evil professor who wore pink, had a very pink office in the Ministry of Magic and at Hogwarts. Dozens of plates with cats painted on them hung on the walls. Only the cats weren't actually painted. Producers snapped photos of cats then digitally implanted them onto the plates during post-production.

17/30. As Umbridge gained more power (and became more evil), her wardrobe got progressively more and more pink.

18/30. The graphics team hand-wrote thousand of letters but then found out that they were too heavy for the owls, so they had to make them again. Even after replacing them, it took the owls six months to learn how to fly with the new letters.

19/30. There are two different Hagrids hut sets. One is oversize with oversize props so that the actors would look small and the other is normal size so that the actor that played Hagrid would look like a half giant.

20/30. To film sweeping views of the fictional Hogwarts castle, the art department built a 1:24 scale model based on a sketch by one of the production designers, Stuart Craig. The castle takes up a massive room and details every courtyard, field and tower filmed in the movies. The towers could be lit inside. Real gravel and plants were used for the landscape. It took 86 artists seven months to construct it, and when it was winter during the movie they used salt to look like snow on the miniature set.


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21/30. Quidditch was the work of the special effects and visual effects teams. Brooms were mounted in front of a green screen, which the visual effects team could replace post-production with a digital backdrop. Several versions of the golden snitch were designed. The final version was plated in actual gold.

22/30. There was an entire animal productions team used to tame and coach a variety of creatures that appeared in the eight movies. Hedwig, Harry's owl, was played by four different owls who were each taught very specific actions. More than a dozen rats played Scabbers, Ron's pet rat in one of the movies. Four different cats played Hermione's pet, Crookshanks. Nine Neapolitan Mastiffs played Hagrid's one dog, Fang.

23/30. The goblet of fire is over five feet tall and it was hand-carved from an English Elm tree. More than 3,000 wands, also handmade, were used during filming.

24/30. 18 cars were used to film Harry and Ron's getaway sequence in "The Chamber of Secrets." Three old double-decker buses were used to build the 22-foot high Knight Bus. It was so top heavy that 4 tons of weight had to be added to the bottom so it didnt fall over.

25/30. Each wizard chess piece used in the very first movie weighed almost 500 pounds.


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26/30. Not everyone in the films was supposed to look like a muggle or wizard, so there were tons of creatures, which required an entire creatures shop in set. The design team spent countless hours making and putting on masks for the Gringotts goblins.

27/30.The floating candles in the great hall were originally hundreds of real candles suspended by wires, which were digitally removed. But while the first movie was being filmed, there was a problem. The heat from the flames burned through the wires and caused candles to drop onto the tables. Afterward, all the floating candles were created digitally.

28/30. Diagon Alley changed throughout years of filming. It was originally built with Charles Dickens' books in mind, as well as descriptions from the "Harry Potter" series.

29/30. All the potions that the cast drink during scenes were actually just soup.

30/30. Crew members used ropes and wrenches to bend and twist the set for the Weasley twins' store once it was fully assembled to give it that whimsical look.


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