I used to think I was a fairly loyal, clued-up Harry Potter fan. I queued up at midnight for the book releases, have seen all the films at least twice and am a Pottermore member (Ravenclaw and proud). But Alex takes fandom to the next level.
'I want to be a wizard. For real. Wish I could wake up tomorrow and be one.'
These words come from the man himself. I'm not even joking.
I thought it only right to take him to the Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour in Watford for his belated Christmas present.
I won't spoil the entire experience for you here - in fact, I can't. There's probably over a thousand objects on display in these studios, where the majority of scenes from the films were shot. Let's just say we spent close to five hours there. Here's the highlights from our visit!
The Great Hall, complete with house points hourglasses, faded medieval murals and bronze tableware awaiting the next feast to magically manifest itself.
There's models and blueprints everywhere for the various rooms at Hogwarts, like this one of the Great Hall. Perfect for people like my boyfriend to spend hours geeking out over...
The centrepiece for the Yule Ball.
Yellowing engravings hang on the wall of the Leaky Cauldron.
The front gate to my future manor. It'll be protected by Disillusionment Charms, natch.
Wooden four-poster beds with plush velvet drapes in a turret: the only boarding school dorms I'd ever have considered as an alternative to day school.
As an art historian, I seriously adore the array of paintings in Hogwarts. The prop artists must have had so much fun painting them - for instance, the painting to the bottom left is taken almost directly from a scene of Hogarth's Marriage à la mode, with added wizard's hats...
It's the tiny details I love in the props, from imitation filigree metalwork to hand-painted school crests and lovingly weathered textbooks.
Alex and I hung around Dumbledore's office for way longer than was strictly necessary.
Me feeling Pensieve. *crickets chirping*
From the heights of Dumbledore's triple turret, to the depths of the dreaded dungeons...
A precious vial of Felix felicis, a.k.a. liquid luck!
I'm pretty sure Alex would like Lupin's trunk for his birthday, complete with magic self-ejecting drawers...
...And I'd like the latest model of the Firebolt for my birthday, please.
Someone developed a predilection for Butterbeer.
This makeup kit fascinated me.
I don't think I'd last two minutes in the Forbidden Forest with all these dudes on the loose...
But Diagon Alley I can just about handle. I can always get behind a little retail therapy...
Please can I live in an apartment above one of these shops? They can't be smaller than the studio flats on Rightmove...
Alex went a bit weak at the knees when he saw the models room.
And the best model of all.
Alex wouldn't leave until we'd identified all the different parts of the set, including the Gryffindor Boys' dorm, Dumbledore's office, the Astronomy Tower, the Great Hall and the Owlery...
'Can we have this in our house? Please?'
And we couldn't resist playing around with our House uniform in the giftshop afterwards. Alex may have been sorted into Hufflepuff on Pottermore, but I reckon having Cambridge as an alma mater guarantees instant access to Ravenclaw!
Congratulations if you made it this far through my most picture-heavy post ever! Suffice to say, if you're a Harry Potter lover, you've got to make the trip out to Watford. From poky cupboard under the stairs to the heights of the Astronomy Tower, the Studio Tour is a must for those hoping for a heavy envelope with a scarlet wax seal to drop through their letterboxes some day...