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

HBP Film
Posted by: sue
June 13, 2009, 06:07 PM

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 pain!
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 too...DOH!!!
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!!

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1316 Points

Great article. I really want to see this tour. Unfortunately, no where near me.

Posted by 9and3qtrs[ROAR] on June 13, 2009, 06:26 PM report to moderator
243 Points

Can you tell me if only ticket holders are welcome or if anybody can go in? I would like to visit it in Haarlem, but if I can’t get in without a ticket than I won’t take the trouble to travel to Haarlem.

Posted by greatpetie83 on June 13, 2009, 06:28 PM report to moderator
20582 Points

OMG!! Neil it sounded brill!! I so wish i could of been there with you mate!! :D
shock you picked Hermione!! Guess who i would of picked!! LMAO!!
Great to see you enjoyed it!! Sooooo looking forward to your pics!!
Big Hugs

Posted by ٭Ĥ☻ğđ☻ъъÿ٭ Ř☻äř٭ on June 13, 2009, 06:31 PM report to moderator
1457 Points

Perfect Swish and Flick! Excellent! Sounds great…any chance of a tour in US?

Posted by Flora Lovegood {<3WBM<3} on June 13, 2009, 06:36 PM report to moderator
68 Points

greatpetie it’s for competition winners only alas. can’t wait to see the pics neil!

Posted by taz_uk on June 13, 2009, 06:41 PM report to moderator

This sounds fantastic. I would be smiling too. What an experience!!

Posted by Spook on June 13, 2009, 07:01 PM report to moderator
243 Points

It would have been nice if I knew of the competition. Can’t find it anywhere (googled several times). Even the Dutch HP-sites don’t know a thing (from what I’ve seen).
Which sites had competitions regarding this tour?

Posted by greatpetie83 on June 13, 2009, 07:07 PM report to moderator
3703 Points

Oh, Neil’s lucky :)

Posted by Christine on June 13, 2009, 07:37 PM report to moderator
2926 Points

WOW, I really can’t wait till June 24th (or 25th), when they will be in the Netherlands.

Great report!

Posted by Niphai on June 13, 2009, 07:46 PM report to moderator
523 Points

that sound excellent!! if only to be in europe!

Posted by Phlegm dela Coeur on June 13, 2009, 07:55 PM report to moderator
1749 Points

No stops in the US???!!! Darn….


Posted by Rin68nyr on June 13, 2009, 08:55 PM report to moderator
1884 Points

Thanks guys!! It was fun!!

greatpetie83, I can unfortunately confirm that only ticket holders can get in to see the tour. This was the post that Leaky put up a few days ago:

I believe you can also enter via the MSN website.

Posted by Neil in Scotland * ROAR! * on June 13, 2009, 09:28 PM report to moderator
3455 Points

OMG!!! THATS SO UNFAIRR! … not only does the prop exhibit sound awesome- ive been to the one in chicago— if not more awesome than the one in chicgo..BUT YOU GET A CHANCE TO BE IN THE DH MOVIE!! OMG!!!!!! and its all in the UK not the US…. i really want a chance to be in the movie, but the contest isnt available in the US….*sniff, cry!

Posted by Catherine ( *SQUEE!*) on June 14, 2009, 12:48 AM report to moderator
360 Points

:O:O greatt :)….tanks for the article

Posted by potterrock on June 14, 2009, 01:35 AM report to moderator
58 Points

JK Rowling said no one from the US can be in the movies from the start so its not a suprise that we aren’t included in the contest.. :(. but it would have been cool to get to see the tour of props and such here.

Posted by Tonks_charms on June 14, 2009, 01:40 AM report to moderator
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