Spotlight: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

The film based on the penultimate book in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, sees yet another new teacher start at Hogwarts – but not to fill the vacant Defence Against the Dark Arts position. This time, Snape finally gets his wish and takes that role, which leads the way for new teacher Horace Slughorn to take up his old position of Potions master.

Surbiton Railway Station

By Spacevezon (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

We start with a trail of destruction left by the Death Eaters, with the most dramatic moment centred on the Millennium Bridge which crosses the River Thames in front of the Tate Modern. After the destruction of the Millennium Bridge, the mass of Death Eaters head past several London locations, including Trafalgar Square, before ending up in Diagon Alley.

Away from the destruction of London landmarks, Harry is seen calmly enjoying a coffee in a train station cafe. Whilst within the cafe, Harry sees Dumbledore on the opposite platform. The station in question is Surbiton in South West London, where overnight filming in November 2007 let the Harry Potter team take over. At the time it was Cafe Chaud (now a Caffe Nero).

Lacock in Wiltshire is used as Budleigh Babberton, the village Harry and Dumbledore apparate to in search of ex-Hogwarts professor Horace Slughorn, to convince him to return to the wizarding school. Three parts of this village are used, beginning with the spot where Harry and Dumbledore apparate, at the far end of Chapel Street (the memorial seen in the centre was constructed specially, so don’t expect to see it in the village!).

Lacock - Cantax HillHorace Slughorn’s temporary residence is further up Cantax Hill and is very recognisable. Finally, Harry and Dumbledore are seen walking back along Chapel Street again, after visiting Horace (even though geographically it doesn’t make sense!).

Lacock is owned by the National Trust, including nearby Lacock Abbey. The traditional looking village with its notable absence of overhead cables, TV aerials and yellow lines make it the perfect film setting for period dramas, plus the previous Harry Potter films. Lacock Abbey was used extensively for a variety of scenes in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and the village has been used for many period dramas including Cranford and the upcoming Series 6 of Downton Abbey.

After Slughorn is successfully recruited, it’s back to Hogwarts where we see mostly studio based filming. The exception to this is a brief glimpse of Gloucester Cathedral where Harry and Ron are enjoying watching the crowds of students getting to class, before Professor McGonagall sends them to Potions, inadvertently leading to Harry picking up the Half Blood Prince’s old textbook.

The remaining Hogwart’s scenes see Harry attempt to befriend Slughorn to get hold of a memory Slughorn has tampered with, which is crucial to finding out how Voldermort has used Horcruxes. Upon finding out this precious piece of information, Dumbledore, along with Harry, goes in search of one of these. The establishing shots of the cave they seek out show the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. In stark contrast, just a little further along this cliff face is the spot in Father Ted where the Holy Stone of Clonrichert can be found!