Harry Potter: The Character Vault by Jody Revenson

Character-VaultTitle: Harry Potter: The Character Vault

Author: Jody Revenson

Publisher: Titan Entertainment Group

Rating: 4/5

“More than twenty-five thousand items of clothing were created for the Harry Potter films, including six-hundred plus school uniforms – new robes had to be created every year for the growing children.”

We’ve all read the books, we’ve all seen the films, now re-live the magic. ‘Harry Potter: The Character Vault’ gives us mere muggles a chance to go behind-the-scenes and discover the secrets, tips and tricks straight from the Harry Potter set. Did you ever wonder why Neville Longbottom was so much thinner in the last two films? Do you want to know which of the cast members wore false teeth and coloured contact lenses throughout filming? Which member of the cast hadn’t even read the books or seen any of the films when going to their audition?? You can now know the answers to all these questions, and more, in this wonderful new book.

‘The Character Vault’ is the third installment of the Harry Potter film art book series, published by the excellent Titan Books. This is a great addition to the Harry Potter film’s, and of course will be a must-have for fans who are pinning for a little more Hogwarts in their lives. The book is split into no less than nine chapters, each with extensive profiles of all the key characters, including the main cast, Hogwart’s staff, other students, the Death Eaters and much more. Each profile covers the costumes of the characters, including information about how each was made, how many were needed (they had to make more than you’d think!) and how clothes were brought and altered depending on the scene and film. There are also behind-the-scenes photographs, quotes from the actors themselves and their take on their characters costume.

The thing I found most fascinating about this book was learning about how the actors came to audition for the films, and what their family and friends made of it all. It is also fascinating to hear how Jason Issacs (Lucius Malfoy) changed the appearance of his character dramatically, compared to Christopher Colombus’ initial plans. It just goes to show how these fabulous actors really bring their characters to life, not just in their acting skills, but also by working with make-up artists and designers to help develop their on-screen persona. There are plenty of little snippets like this that will, I’m sure, make you eager to re-watch all eight films again.

Usually, I find that behind-the-scenes books are like watching blooper reels. It spoils the film and takes away some of the magic. However, this book only adds to the Harry Potter franchise. The book also comes with two posters tucked into a pocket at the back, one with pictures of members of The Order of the Phoenix, and another featuring members of The Death Eaters. There are also plenty of visual development artwork images included, produced by various artists.

Having read the book, it is easy to see the amount of effort that went into each scene, from th12077304_10153328970293500_1075025421_ne costume, to the make-up and lighting and casting. Everything, of course, had to be perfect. There are details about how Hermione’s Yule Ball dress was designed and made, as well as the reasoning behind the Luna’s impressively unusual “Christmas Tree” dress for Slughorn’s Christmas Party. It’s little snippets like this that are taken for granted when the audience see’s them on-screen, but so much thought goes into every tiny detail.

The only pet-peeve I had with this book was the use of Americanisms in the spelling, for example, I’m sure the use of ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ instead of Philosopher’s will annoy a few people. But the book, like the two before it, is written by American Jody Revenson. She knows her stuff, and excels in her writing.

The is no doubt that ‘Harry Potter: The Character Vault’ will be a massive hit with fans, young and old alike. It would make an excellent Christmas present for anyone who enjoyed the films, and is a great way to re-live all the exciting on-screen Harry Potter moments. The book is available now.

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