Review: “Harry Potter: The Exhibition” Opens in Lisbon
After 20 worldwide stops, Harry Potter: The Exhibition opened in Lisbon, Portugal, and MuggleNet was present to cover its opening.
The Exhibition is held inside two huge tents below the Pavilion of Portugal’s distinct concrete canopy, the same spot where Instituto de Magia Português often holds its quidditch games. Going inside feels like you’ve Apparated into Hogwarts or walked inside Mr. Weasley’s camping tent.
The two soundstages and backlot at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter have always made it feel very spacious. The feeling at this venue is different. There’s no imposing Hogwarts Castle model at the end, but there are props and costumes at less than an arm’s reach and an immersive and intimate environment.
So immersive, in fact, that while waiting for the press conference to begin, I heard what sounded like thunder or small explosions. I genuinely thought it was part of the Exhibition, perhaps a sound effect of a stormy sky in the Great Hall. Only after did I realize that a storm had begun outside, and the wind kept rattling the tents. It added a whole new level of magic to the experience!
At the opening, Oliver Phelps shared that he and James “have been fortunate to be, for the best part of a decade, seeing this Exhibition grow and travel.” James added that he was “really excited to witness the [Portuguese] fans seeing all their favorite props and costumes.”
Unfortunately, we never had a premiere for the films here in Lisbon, but we knew the Portuguese fan base was one of the most passionate in the world.
Eduardo Lima mentioned he was “very happy to attend this marvelous Exhibition in Lisbon.” After last week’s confirmation that Fantastic Beasts is heading to Rio de Janeiro, I took the chance to ask MinaLima about the graphic imagery being built around the Brazilian wizarding world.
We can’t tell you anything. [everyone laughs] We just started [working] on the film, so we don’t know much about what’s going on. The only thing I can say is that I’m so happy that Brazil and the Portuguese language are going to be represented. I can’t wait to start putting my hands on the graphics, but we can’t say more.
The Exhibition starts off with a small Sorting Ceremony. After a short reminiscence of a few Harry Potter movie scenes, the Hogwarts Express was revealed, along with some snowfall, ready to take us to Hogwarts.
We were greeted by the Fat Lady and ended up between the Gryffindor common room and the boys’ dormitory. Some fan-favorite props are here, such as Hermione’s beaded handbag and Neville’s Mimbulus mimbletonia.
Moving along, we reached the Potions, Divination, and Defense Against the Dark Arts classrooms. You can even brush up on your Herbology skills by pulling a baby mandrake from its pot! I was excited to see a prop I’d never seen before: the jack-in-the-box Parvati Patil conjures in Defense Against the Dark Arts class.
Another great section of this Exhibition is the small Quidditch pitch, where you can throw a Quaffle through one of the hoops! You can also visit Hagrid’s hut and sit on his giant-sized armchair.
As we made our way forward, we entered a grimmer setting. Amid a foggy Forbidden Forest, we saw Buckbeak and the Hungarian Horntail. In the Dark Arts room, we encounter Voldemort’s and various Death Eaters’ costumes. We got a glimpse of a cloaked Dementor, a Petrified Colin Creevey, and the five inanimate Horcruxes.
The very last room needs no introduction. The Great Hall is decorated for Christmas and ready to host the Yule Ball. Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall are dressed for the occasion, and two of our favorite creatures, Fawkes and Dobby, are also here.
After walking past the Deathly Hallows and the sword of Gryffindor and waving goodbye to the trio and Neville, it’s time to hit the gift shop. As I left Hogwarts behind, it felt so strange to “be back” in Lisbon.
The Exhibition is open every day until April 8, 2020. Opening times are from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday–Thursday and from 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday–Sunday. Tickets are timed, start at €12.00, and are on sale at harrypotterexhibition.pt. An audio tour is also available for €6.00.