Exclusive First Look: Insight's Epic Harry Potter: Exploring Hogwarts Guide

Harry Potter: Exploring Hogwarts

Harry Potter: Exploring Hogwarts, an illustrated guide, is set to hit shelves this October, and we have an exclusive first look at the hardbound book. Fans of the Harry Potter series will once again have a chance to revisit the Wizarding World through this interactive book. Those of all ages won't be able to resist unveiling the new secrets hidden in Hogwarts.

The upcoming illustrated Harry Potter guide was written by author Jody Revenson, who is certainly no stranger to the Wizarding World. The best-selling author has extensive experience writing about Harry Potter. Revenson previously published books such as Harry Potter: Spells & Charms: A Movie Scrapbook and Harry Potter: Hogwarts: A Movie Scrapbook. Her latest work is notably illustrated by Studio MUTI and published by Insight Editions, an expert in unique and innovative books.

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Related: Why Harry Potter Is Set In The 1990s

Harry Potter: Exploring Hogwarts will take readers on a journey behind-the-scenes through iconic landmarks within the films. The interactive book, which is up for pre-order ahead of the October release, features detailed illustrations and lift-the-flap elements revealing new tidbits of information. Not only can readers explore the hallways of Hogwarts, but they can also discover the surrounding grounds, the Forbidden Forest, and Hogsmeade. There will also be a number of secret rooms, never before seen in Hogwarts. Our team at Screen Rant got an exclusive preview at some of the pages, take a look below at the striking images and insightful excerpts:

Harry Potter Preview

Defense Against Dark Arts Classroom

  • Starting with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, a classroom was constructed in the studio that had one curved wall and was set at the top of a tower. Tall windows on one side of the attic-type room flooded the area with light. The classroom held eighteen double desks. As the actors grew, the desks needed to be replaced with bigger versions.
  • Dolores Umbridge, the professor in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, didn’t believe in teaching her students defensive magic, so her classroom was left plain. The textbook she chose floated to each student’s desk.
  • A Gothic-style pulpit sits atop stairs that lead to the professor’s office. Production designer Stuart Craig felt it would be a great theatrical entrance for the second-year Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, Gilderoy Lockhart, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Harry Potter Preview

The Forbidden Forest

  • The forest was filmed on location for the first film, then created in a studio for each film thereafter. To “make” the forest, tree trunks were constructed and hung above the set. Then carved roots were set into the stage floor, and the trunks were attached to these.
  • Production designer Stuart Craig decided that the farther one got into the forest, the bigger, creepier, and more mysterious it would become. As the films progressed, the trees became bigger and bigger, and they were perched on massive roots that looked like fingers, based on mangrove trees. Even the mist used to add a layer of hazy fog became thicker in the later films.
  • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry and Ron travel to a hollow where a colony of Acromantula spiders live, headed by their king, Aragog. Aragog, built by the creature shop, had an eighteen-foot leg span, literally weighed a ton, and was covered in yak hair, sisal, and hemp fibers, which are also used in broom-making.

Harry Potter Preview

Moving Staircases and Talking Pictures

  • The costume, prop, art, and set decoration departments worked together to create a scene that would be photographed and then painted by artists for the stationary pictures. These images were given the crackly texture of an old oil painting by a computer
  • Production designer Stuart Craig had to first figure out how the staircases moved. An early thought was to treat them like escalators. Then Craig came up with the idea that any one staircase could swing ninety degrees to a new position. So, a staircase placed against one wall could move to create a bridge to the opposite wall. This intertwined coil of the Grand Staircase, created digitally, forms a double helix.
  • A scene with moving or talking portraits would be filmed with green-screen material in the picture frames. The background for the portrait would be painted and scanned into the computer. Then actors or crew members were filmed in front of a green screen, and all these elements were digitally combined.

The extraordinary full-color illustrations truly stand out at first glance. Harry Potter: Exploring Hogwarts gives fans a chance to rediscover the magic surrounding the franchise, while also discovering new aspects of the magical lore. The concept art and behind-the-scenes fact are just as intriguing for new or long-time Harry Potter readers. This book is just the first in a planned series of large-scale interactive books centering on the Wizarding World.

Next: Harry Potter: The Marauders & How They Got Their Names Explained

Harry Potter: Exploring Hogwarts is scheduled to release on October 8, 2019. It's available for pre-order here from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound.

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