Tuesday, February 9, 2010

On the Harry Potter trail

After visiting the village of Lacock, we headed over to Lacock Abbey to see what remained from the 13th century.

Even though the temperatures were hovering at the freezing mark that sunny day, the snowdrop flowers were framing the abbey gardens.

Come in and take a further look.

Founded in 1232, the abbey prospered until the dissolution of the abbeys by Henry VIII. Some 832 religious communities were disbanded between 1536-41. It is still possible today, however, to see the cloisters, the chapter house, and the sacristy, along with several monastic rooms.

After 1539, it became a country home until 1944 when it was turned over to the National Trust. Pretty special house, I'd say!

Fast forward to the 21st century, and Lacock's claim to fame is as a setting for two of the Harry Potter films--Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (known in the States as the Sorceror's Stone) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. You might remember in one scene that the gardens of the cloisters were covered with snow and held a fountain.

The cloisters and the side rooms were transformed into classrooms at the Hogwarts School.

Harry, Ron and Hermione left their footsteps here in the hallways.

And in the middle of the Warming room stands the cauldron featured in the movie.

Now for confession time: I've never read a Harry Potter book.  I've never watched a Harry Potter movie, but the odd thing is that Saturday night, I was flipping channels and what came up on the screen but Harry and his classmates in this very room in front of the boiling cauldron. And I have to tell you, I was intrigued. So..., if I was to take a first dip into the Harry Potter experience (just considering it, mind you) would you recommend reading the books or diving into the movies head-first?

And a giant Thank You to sweet Jenny at Pleasant Places for her kind words and for her gift of this award. You'll be treating yourself if you check out her blog too.


  1. Since it's confession time, I have only read one Harry Potter book and never seen one of the movies. (And I teach Children's Lit.) Hope I don't get fired for that confession. I think you either love fantasy or it's not quite your thing. Give me book of Historical Fiction any day. Great photos.

  2. Oh, again another involving post. And you are very welcome Debi. You have a fabulous site and one day I am gonna treat myself to completely reading all the tours you have posted here. My confession: I am a surprising Harry Potter fan. All the movies are done very well, and my hubby and I love them more than our pre-teen girls do. I have only read the first two books and yet one day I know I will splurge and get the set for our family library. The movies would be the easiest jump start and I have heard, as expected, that the books are so much better than the excellent movies.

  3. Only read the first book, but seen all the movies. My children and husband are HUGE fans... like it's weird to me! The two older kids and my husband stayed up almost an entire night reading that last book. My husband said it was like losing an old friend that had been around forever. They all three confessed to CRYING at the intensity of the last book. They were all really sad to see the series end.
    My family loved the books more, but they are LOOOOOOONG.
    The first one is short and sweet, thus, my choice.
    The movies are good, but I tend to get lost unless I watch them back to back, and even then, there are layers to the story I've missed, by not reading.
    Give it a shot on those long airplane rides, you have nothing to lose!

  4. Read the books for sure. The movies are good and they do a really good job for staying to the story line, but there is just so much more to the books. I don't usually enjoy fantasy much myself, but as a children's librarian when these first started coming out and with a sister in law who was asking me if they were appropriate for my nephew I had to read them. I LOVED them. I was amazed with the details that Rowling created out of her imagination to create the world of Wizards. Either way you should try them out--either the movies or the books, but there is so much more to the books. I hope you enjoy them.

  5. I am not a Harry Potter fan, my kids are HP factoids. I did watch the first movie before my last trip over... just so I wouldn't look like a nimwit.
    Your photos are fabulous!

  6. thank you for another lovely english tour. what gorgeous

    books first, is always a fun way to go.

  7. The movies are fun, especially if you don't want to get involved in a novel. BUT, as usual, the books are much better :) My confession: I've read them all, but haven't seen all the movies that are out yet...oops!

  8. Debi, DEFINITELY start with the novels! I am a HUGE Harry fan...have read all the books & seen all the movies on opening night. The books of course are better, but the movies are great depictions of the book. You just get so much more out of the books & they are such an easy read. Once you get started, you won't be able to put them down.