It was with puffy eyes and groggy minds that Hypable writers Selina and Harri arrived at the Warner Brothers Studio Tour, London. Starting the day at 4 A.M. to arrive at Leavesden by 10:00, we were obviously feeling weary – but none of that mattered. As the shuttle bus (plastered with pictures of Diagon Alley) pulled out of the lay-by, we were greeted by the comforting sound of “Hedwig’s Theme” and watched by the towering Wizards’ Chess pieces that guarded the entrance. Any fatigue instantly dissolved and was replaced with bubbling excitement and anticipation.

Note: This review contains spoilers for the tour setup.

 

It was over eight months ago now that J.K. Rowling told us Hogwarts would always be there to welcome us home. For any witch or wizard, arriving at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London: The Making of Harry Potter will feel like returning home after a long time away.

When the doors of the Great Hall swung open, we embarked on a journey of wonder and magic. Yes, magic. It may be one of the most clichéd (and least imaginative) words anyone could use to describe a behind-the-scenes tour of the Harry Potter studios, but, trust us, it’s the only one that can even begin to explain the experience.

Sure, it’s not perfect. There is a bit of a clunky start, with the forced video introduction from Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint (some dodgy dialogue and clear reluctance on their part made it all a bit awkward), but once the tour suddenly and brilliantly kicks off, the real enchantment begins: goblin faces, floating candles, portraits, potions, pets, stunning Yule Ball gowns and so much more.

Experience everything you love about the films, from memorable sets like the Great Hall, the Gryffindor Common Room, Dumbledore’s office, and Diagon Alley to breathtaking props like Ron’s howler, U-NO-POO, the Marauder’s Map and Harry’s Hogwarts letter. Everything is handled with such care and consideration, even tiny papers that never appear on screen are faithful to the continuity and have artistic merit. When you aren’t staring open-mouthed at the craftsmanship, you can be riding a broom, sipping a Butterbeer or magically chopping carrots at the Burrow.

We want to focus now one some specific parts of the tour that we absolutely loved. There are also a few areas we feel have room for improvement – but don’t worry, WB, we’ve got you covered with our brilliant suggestions!

 

Top 5 reasons to visit the Harry Potter Studio Tours

#1: The staff
This sounds weird, but one of the best things about seeing the sets of Harry Potter is the presence of the staff members. We might just be cynical Europeans, of course, but neither of us had ever experienced such pleasant and consistently friendly treatment – even the guy behind the Starbucks counter in the foyer wanted to know all about our tour! Every member of staff was eager to get our input on the tour and hear about our personal experiences with Harry Potter, and they also had interesting stories of their own to share. One story in particular stuck with us: manning the Yule Ball section of the big room of sets was a former extra on the films! He’d come from one of the local schools, and, according to him, had spent more time being a Hogwarts student than an actual student! But he’d loved every bit of it, and when he realised he could continue to work within the fandom, he jumped at the chance. Another member of staff revealed to us that they’re actually quizzed on their Harry Potter trivia and that they’ve had extensive training by the actual set and visual effects designers to make sure they are absolute experts on how it all came together. They aren’t messing around. These people are professional Harry Potter fans. New dream job?
 

#2: Diagon Alley and Hogwarts
We both felt that the tour got better and better as it went on, and some of the final areas took our breath away. First there’s Diagon Alley, with its incredibly detailed shop windows. We probably walked up and down the street a dozen times, just because we could, and there was always more to discover! McMullpepper’s Apothecary almost made us wish Pottermore was working again, with all the incredible ingredients we could stir into our potions, and Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment was packed with trinkets (“bits and bobs for doing your wizardry,” eh??) that we really wish had been available in the gift shop! The best windows to peek through are probably those of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes and Flourish & Blotts, though. An incredible Gilderoy Lockhart display fills up the latter, and you know all about the Weasley products – only this time they are right in front of you! If only we’d have been able to enter some of these shops… but maybe some day they’ll expand the accessibility. The only reason we managed to tear ourselves away from Diagon Alley though was because of what awaited in the next room: Hogwarts. Scaled down of course, but still absolutely massive. And unbelievably real. We stood there in silence for a good 20 minutes, squinting to make it seem like we were really seeing Hogwarts. The detail of this model is unreal, and seeing it really encapsulates how the movies have brought this incredible story to life.
 

Selina's going to Ollivander's!

#3: Butterbeer and the gift shop
Yeah, we’re materialistic suckers! Anyone who’s been to the Wizarding World in Orlando has already experienced something similar to this, of course – although we CAN confirm that the chocolate used for the frogs is British, not American (and therefore more yummy, in our opinion) – but we were overwhelmed. The butterbeer, which is available halfway through the tour, was probably what we had been looking forward to the most, and it didn’t disappoint! Although it wasn’t served in the iconic pints (hint: we wish it could have been!), the froth was delicious and the drink itself lightly sparkling and sweet, just like J.K. Rowling likes it! And the gift shop, that was an experience in itself. There was just so much to see, we’re sure we missed a lot in our quest for souvenirs. Iconic props lined the shelves along with the merchandise, and we almost missed things like the stained glass window from Goblet of Fire and the lamps from Slughorn’s party in Half-Blood Prince! We also didn’t feel that the merchandise was unreasonably priced. Most of the typical souvenirs like Quaffles, Hedwigs, mugs, and notebooks ranged from about £7-£20, and the candy went for about £2.50-£9. There was definitely something to pick up for everyone, even those who only wanted a small token to remember the trip by. Of course, there were also the pricier items, like a replica of the Sword of Gryffindor, a chess set and a Horcrux ring (something for your Great Hall wedding, perhaps??), and lots more. We tried to control ourselves and just bought some candy (it was like someone was whispering “Anything off the trolley, dears?” into our ears), but there were so many things it would have been amazing to own. Like cuddly Pygmy Puffs (if Selina could have remembered whether Arnold was purple or pink, she definitely would have got one for herself!).
 

#4: The display cases
Easily one of the tour’s highlights are the display cases littered throughout studios J and K (the lettering a total coincidence, we were told). All the small artifacts that were created for the films can be studied in acute detail, allowing fans to take in things that they couldn’t see in the movies. Staring at the Horcruxes, reading Lily’s letter to Sirius, looking at Hogwarts through the Marauders Map or reading an article from The Quibbler are just a small selection of the things you can do. We could have easily spent several hours giggling, gasping and gawking at the little touches like Cheeri-Owls cereal, the Yule Ball invitations and Dumbledore’s will. While the inability to observe the sets in as much detail was a disappointment, the props are a magical treat in their own right.

 

#5: The special effects room
After a Butterbeer and a photo in the Ford Anglia or aboard the Knight Bus, visitors start the second leg of the tour in the Special FX/Creatures room. House elves, goblins, mer-people, Fawkes, and even the corpse of Harry and unconscious dummies of Draco, Ron and George stand eerily around you. If you can peel yourself away from these amazing and life-like models for just a moment, you will be treated to a video from Warwick Davies and the Creature Department that shows you exactly how everything was assembled and used. A display case in the centre allows you to push buttons that make Hedwig turn her head or the Voldemort fetus struggle for breath. Go through an archway, and you are face to face with Aragog, staring into the eyes of the Basilisk and looking up at a scaled model of the Hungarian Horntail. Finally, you can bow to Buckbeak and hope that he graciously lowers his head to you. That isn’t even half of it – the Creature room is something that needs to be seen to be believed.

 

Tips for improvement

#1: More time in the Great Hall
The first official stop on the tour is also one of the film’s most iconic sets – The Great Hall. With an introduction to compliment it in the greatest (pun intended) and most surprising ways imaginable that we won’t spoil for you here, it’s safe to say you really are plunged into the Wizarding World head first. The set itself lives up to even the highest of expectations, with wonderful costumes and props from all of Harry’s years at Hogwarts, as well as tiny little details that you wouldn’t have noticed while watching the films. But it’s all over too quickly. By the time you’ve noticed hidden House crests, or tried to take a fleeting picture with Dumbledore’s eagle-podium you’re being rushed along to the next step of the tour. Understandably, there are plenty of other groups that need to see the Hall, but the beginning of this wonderful experience feels rushed. In fairness, the rest of the tour is unguided and you are free to spend as much time as you like gawking at the names on portraits and inspecting every coloured bottle you find. It just feels that, being the largest and most overwhelming stop on the tour, it would’ve been nice to have the chance to soak it all up.
 

#2: Such detailed sets, why hide them away?
The tour may be called The Making of Harry Potter, but what’s wrong with letting visitors explore some more of the sets? The detailed exhibits on how the props, costumes and sets were designed, made, and used are undeniably fascinating. But fans can only explore Diagon Alley and (fleetingly) the Great Hall in any close capacity. The rest are fenced off so that you can only peer into your favourite magical places instead of walking through them.  It is important that everything is kept clean and undamaged, but, without being able to see everything, visitors can never truly appreciate the hard work that was put into crafting the series. An example of this is Dumbledore’s office. We could just about see what looked like the Headmaster’s living quarters behind the main study, and since we never saw this in the films it would have been amazing to finally see it now. But with only one vantage point, all we could really see was an abundance of green and purple velvet cushions. perhaps with the set walls expanded and a walkway put in place (as was done with Diagon Alley), we would have been able to see everything without actually touching it.
 

#3: More photo opportunities
While you are able to take pictures throughout the tour, one of the things the museum-like setup doesn’t allow for is for fans to really get in and experience the story. Of course we get that they can’t have thousands of feet and grabby hands all over everything every day, but only being able to watch the sets from afar is sometimes a bit like freeze-framing a scene from the movies (which you could do at home). One thing we think could improve the tour is to allow for visitors to take more organic, interactive pictures of themselves experiencing the sets. There are already several, great opportunities for this, like getting your picture taken on a broom (see above! Magic is real you guys) or having your face put on an Azkaban poster, and outside you can get pictures in the Ford Anglia and on the Knight Bus, but this could be taken even further. You can’t get up to the actual owl pedestal Dumbledore uses in the Great Hall, so how about making a replica and making a space for it on the side, for fans to get on and strike their best “Weeeelcome, weeelcome!” pose? Also, one of the biggest dreams of most Harry Potter fans is to sit in the Gryffindor common room (or any of the common rooms, actually), and while this can’t happen, perhaps an armchair could be placed in front of the display, so anyone who sat in it would look like they were actually in the room. Just small things like that would really improve the interactivity and give the experience a more hands-on feel.

 

Personal notes

Selina: Being more of a book fan than a movie fan, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But the tour really won me over – mostly because of the staff. I’ve never encountered such a nice group of people, and they really can’t get enough praise. I’d be curious to see them again after a few months, though; listening to “Hedwig’s Theme” over and over again would drive me up the wall within a week! Walking down Diagon Alley was incredible, and seeing Hogwarts was more emotional than I thought it’d be. But, for me, the very best thing about the tour was really random: I finally saw my name in canon! When I spotted it on the wall of portraits I think I let out a squee worthy of a Mandrake. But that’s okay, I was surrounded by people who got my geeky excitement! Introducing, what I shall henceforth claim is my name… Selina Sapworthy (and note: she’s a Gryffindor. Take that, Pottermore!). I’m curious to see what expansions they’ve got planned though. I really felt the absence of sets like the Slytherin common room, the Room of Requirement and the Owlery, and it’d be great to have more areas you could actually walk through (like Diagon Alley) as opposed to just walk by. But all in all, I had an amazing time!

Harri: The Leavesden Harry Potter tour is an informative, rewarding and touching experience for fans of the films and books. If you’re a hardcore fan, you won’t find out much more about the making of the films then you didn’t already know through interviews and DVD featurettes – but the interactive and immersive nature of the tour is worth it. There is so much to see and do that one visit doesn’t seem enough. The official guide estimates that visitors will spend about three hours in the tour. Selina and I spent five hours going around, and even then we wanted to go straight back in to study everything that we might have missed the first time through which can only say good things for the tour. The atmosphere, staff, and Butterbeer were some of my personal highlights. If you have any doubts about going, don’t worry – you will love nearly every second. But look carefully, there is so much there that you can miss some amazing pieces just because they are hidden above doors or behind ticking clocks, and you won’t want to miss a thing!

 

Is it worth it?

One of the big questions we’ve been getting has been whether, when all is said and done, the Harry Potter Studio Tour is worth the £28 admissions fee (plus travel expenses). We came with no real expectations and left only with our arms full of chocolate frogs and camera batteries dead, but also with a deep feeling of having come that much closer to Hogwarts. If that’s what you’re looking to get out of this, then yes, it is absolutely worth it. In the words of J.K. Rowling (whose words are immortalized in the wand room), Hogwarts was there to welcome us home.

As far as getting to the studio, once you’re in London it’s really not that difficult. Trains leave regularly from Euston, and at Watford Junction station Mullany’s Buses operate a regular shuttle service to the Leavesden lot. They say the tour takes three hours – we were there for about five (the butterbeer kept us going!). There is so much to see, and rushing through it would be a huge mistake. We’re both already thinking about going back there, because we probably missed loads! Enter a room, turn and look up, and there’s Luna’s lion hat. Blink and you miss it.

If you do go, savour it. Spend ages inspecting all the props in the display cabinet and the windows in Diagon Alley. Imagine yourself at Hogwarts as you watch the lights change from night to day. Gaze at the incredibly detailed concept design artwork. Talk to the helpful, friendly and knowledgeable staff who will tell you amazing stories about how the Harry Potter movies brought the magic to life. Keep calm and have a butterbeer.

We’ll leave you with this incredible piece of artwork by Adam Brockbank, depicting the Dumbledore funeral scene that should have been. It’s for insights like this that you want to explore the movie magic:

Tickets for the Studio Tour can be purchased on the official website.

Exclusive

Hypable dives deep into Crooked Kingdom with Leigh Bardugo, discussing the art, heart, and future of her dynamic duology Six of Crows.

In addition to Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, Bardugo is the author of the best-selling Grisha Trilogy, and is currently writing a young-adult Wonder Woman novel.

Crooked Kingdom, due out tomorrow, continues the tale of Kaz Brekker and his motley gang of young (and only occasionally reluctant) criminals. Set in the chilly streets of Ketterdam, Kaz’s crew finds themselves working against the clock in game where the stakes have risen from “seriously high” to “catastrophically personal.”

Read full article

Hypable dives deep into Crooked Kingdom with Leigh Bardugo, discussing the art, heart, and future of her dynamic duology Six of Crows.

In addition to Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, Bardugo is the author of the best-selling Grisha Trilogy, and is currently writing a young-adult Wonder Woman novel.

Crooked Kingdom, due out tomorrow, continues the tale of Kaz Brekker and his motley gang of young (and only occasionally reluctant) criminals. Set in the chilly streets of Ketterdam, Kaz’s crew finds themselves working against the clock in game where the stakes have risen from “seriously high” to “catastrophically personal.”

Cunningly magical and exactingly scientific, Bardugo’s work celebrates quirks of character, and champions diverse protagonists who challenge readers on every page — which is just about as often as they challenge themselves.

This interview is spoiler-free for Crooked Kingdom.

Interview with Leigh Bardugo

One of the major differences between Six of Crows and the Grisha Trilogy is the way you utilize perspective. How did you decide to structure the duology among multiple points of view?

I knew when I wanted to tell a heist story that I didn’t want to tell it first-person POV. It can be done, if I’m not mistaken, Ally Carter wrote her heist books in first person, but I had a clear idea of how I wanted to break the chapters, and how I wanted to release information. And I feel like that’s what heists and cons are really about.

Both Holly Black, and Ally Carter and I have all commiserated on the challenges of writing a heist, and I can’t remember which one of them said it, but it’s not just about conning the mark — it’s about conning the reader. And I felt like having these different, shifting perspectives would give me more opportunities to do that.

Obviously, that structure is very George R.R. Martin-esque. Did you take any inspiration from the point-of-view structure in A Song of Ice and Fire?

As far as I’m concerned, A Song of Ice and Fire is my touchstone for fantasy, particularly the first three books. And I think there are certain things I’ve definitely taken from [Martin], like the geography as destiny. But also, starting with redshirt who gets killed off is very much a Martin trick! [laughs] But it was also kind of a way to get people up to speed in terms of the powers that existed in the Grisha world and the potential for what [jurda parem] could do… to put everything on the playing field and move into the rest of the action.

six-of-crows1

Did you find much of a difference between writing Six of Crows and writing Crooked Kingdom? Very little time passes between the two books, but almost everybody is in radically different mindsets.

I think the biggest difference in Crooked Kingdom is, in the beginning of Six of Crows, Kaz is assembling the team. So you have some people who know each other, but you have some who don’t, and none of them trust each other — with the exclusion of Kaz and Inej, but even that is trust with conditions.

And then they go through hell together, which naturally changes the way that they interact with each other, and the way that they think about each other. And so that’s really where they are in Crooked Kingdom. Six of Crows has this escalating level of action and interaction between these characters, whereas Crooked Kingdom, we hit the ground running. I think that there’s a lot more progress in those relationships because of what they’ve been through.

Let’s talk about Kaz for a bit — the guy with, ostensibly, all the answers. Where is he emotionally in Crooked Kingdom? How did you decide to employ him in the book?

He comes in a little later, but he’s definitely not used sparingly. It’s interesting, because I’ve always thought of Inej as the heart of the books, and I was talking to a friend recently and she was like, “Crooked Kingdom is much more her book.” And I was like, “Really? I think of Six of Crows as being very much her book!” But whoever reads it, they see a different hero, or a different protagonist, that the arc belongs to them. But I think everybody has pretty steep hill to climb with this one, honestly.

Early in the book, Kaz thinks that, over the course of the three days Inej has been missing, he has murdered the old Kaz Brekker, and now he’s all business. I was really struck by that — I thought he was all business before!

Well, Kaz has some very clear ideas on how you are able to survive in the world. And there are certain tools that have served him very well. It’s not an easy idea — he really believes there are punishments for making yourself vulnerable. And the truth is, in this environment that is 100% true. And that fact does not change throughout the book. That is the reality of the world that they live in. But whether or not Kaz can actually keep his humanity at bay is a different story.

He does start off involved in some fairly brutal business at the beginning of the book. It’s interesting, because you don’t pull many punches in Six of Crows, but in Crooked Kingdom it feels like… well, the gloves are not off, but the gloves are off!

[laughs] That should have been the tagline! “The gloves are not off! Crooked Kingdom!” I’m ready for that movie trailer.

You know, it’s interesting. In some ways, I think that… I don’t think Crooked Kingdom is necessarily a darker book. There are a lot of dark things that happen in it, but it is also… because these characters know each other better, I think… I mean, maybe I’m wrong, you never know when you’ve written a book what people are going to take from it. But for me, there are actually quite a lot of moments of lightness and hijinks. I think I felt freer to let them have certain adventures that were… I don’t want to use the word “zany!” But there’s a pleasure in going a little bit over the top when it comes to heists and cons, and I really wanted to indulge that.

crooked kingdom leigh bardugo interview

And because it is only a duology, there was a lot that had to happen emotionally. And I really am not into being beaten over the head with grimdark. My personality is like, is I sense tension in the room or if something bad has happened, I inevitably make the wisecrack. And I think that that sense of humor imbues the books — or I hope it does.

So would you say that Jesper takes some of that from you?

Yeah, probably! Jesper actually [says] in Crooked Kingdom, that he always thought of himself as a lucky guy. He’d always thought of himself as a generally happy person. And one of the things he has to contend with in this book is digging a little deeper than that, and understanding where his own compulsions come from, and some of the choices that he’s made. And the idea of acknowledging that there’s something beneath this easygoing manner. But I love writing Jesper. A lot.

And which character would you say you find the easiest to write?

You know, it depends on the book. In Six of Crows, the easiest character to write was Matthias, because he’s so dogmatic. He has such strong opinions, and he also has this very mannered, old school fantasy way of thinking. He has this kind of Arthurian bent to him. So he was very easy to write, but I think in terms of the character that was the most fun to write, it was probably Jesper.

In Crooked Kingdom, it was Wylan, because he was the person I was discovering most about as I wrote him. And he’s also in some ways the most YA of all the characters, because he has, for a big chunk of his life, despite the things that were going on at home with his father, has led a fairly sheltered life compared to the rest of these characters.

Speaking of YA, how do you balance the youth of Kaz and co. with their at times very mature exploits? At times, I find myself thinking, “These kids are so young!”

I think of them as sort of like CW teenagers! But I also think, you know, adolescence is a very modern construct, and we tend to forget about that. But I always say, what would Arya Stark be like at 17?

Stabby?

Very stabby. And very cynical! I get why there’s a certain suspension of disbelief required for the characters ages, and in truth, when I go to a high school to speak, or I go to a signing and I meet actual 16 and 17-year-olds, I’m like, “Oh my God! You are but wee children! You are but walking, talking, fetuses! I can’t put you in these horrible circumstances!” [laughs]

But I also think that that’s one of the conventions of YA — and also, look, life is nasty, brutish, and short in the worlds that I create. So unless you are of a very privileged class, and even then, you are probably not going to have a whole lot of time to eke out an existence.

It’s interesting, because Nina undergoes a very adolescent-like experience in Crooked Kingdom, grappling with the ways she has changed. In Six of Crows, she’s like Lady Confidence, and now…

Yeah, Nina’s confidence is shaken in a very fundamental way because of her attachment to her power, and it’s something that she’s never had to question before. And there are other things about her that remain unshaken, and she knows who she is on a lot of levels.

You know, I don’t think there’s anything interesting about keeping a character in one place. And people always talk about, “Oh, who are you going to kill off?” The worst thing you can do is not kill somebody off. One of the lessons that I really took from reading George R.R. Martin is, you take the thing that the character thinks defines them, and then you take it away, and you see what happens. That’s the Jaime Lannister lesson. And that, to me, was the exciting thing to do with some of the characters in the book.

Speaking of taking things from characters, what kind of challenges is Kaz facing internally at the start of Crooked Kingdom?

I think this is the moment when Kaz is deciding who is going to be. Because his life has been all about revenge, and one of the questions that Inej poses to him is not really about his attachment to her. It’s about, what comes after that? Are you just going to become exactly like the man you’re looking to destroy? Because the methods Kaz pursues are not any less ruthless than Pekka Rollins’.

He prides himself on that, actually.

Yes. Although he and Rollins have different ideas about where the lines are drawn. I think this is the book where all of the demons come home to roost. It’s the revenge and redemption book, but it’s also, which demon is going to win, essentially.

Kaz reminds me in a lot of ways of Locke Lamora from Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard series — but ironically, Locke is a lot better-hearted than Kaz.

I actually read Lies of Locke Lamora after I wrote Six of Crows, because I had heard a lot about it, people had been telling me to read it for years. And then I read it, because I was really afraid that it would be so much like Six of Crows that I would be like, “Oh no! What have I done!” But as it turns out, they’re not at all alike.

Locke is very much the mode of the like, kindhearted trickster, as opposed to Kaz, who is like, “I will cut out your kind heart and eat it!”

Do you think of him at all like the Darkling from the Grisha Trilogy? They both have a profoundly diabolical streak.

I think the Darkling is a much more noble character than Kaz. The Darkling may have lost the thread in terms of his humanity and the cost of human life, but he has, ostensibly, noble goals. He’s a patriot, he believes in protecting his people, he’s trying to build a future for the Grisha that isn’t one of persecution. There are a lot of ways to defend the Darkling that don’t work for Kaz, who is very much out for himself, and out for revenge. And revenge is not necessarily a noble goal. It’s something you sympathize with, but it’s not something that is bigger than him.

But I really, [laughs] I really enjoyed writing him. And sometimes he would take me by surprise! And I don’t say that lightly, because I think of myself as very much in control of my characters — they don’t tell me what to do. But I remember writing the scene on the ship with Oomen and thinking, well, what is Kaz going to do here? And it was sort of like Kaz took over, and was like, “I’m telling you what I’m going to do!”

I took a great deal of pleasure in writing the details of that scene, and it’s weird, because I always know when people get to that scene. I know what page it is, because they’re like, “Page 158! Ahhh!” And the weird thing for me is, I’m like, I think it’s kind of romantic! He’ll poke a guy’s eye out for you, baby, and then throw him in the drink!

It is very sweet, in a murderous way. Were there any similar moments where you thought Kaz went overboard? Or did you ever have to push him?

I pulled back, actually. In Crooked Kingdom there was a torture scene that I ended up taking out, because it was just too much. It’s not that it was implausible for the character, but there was already enough brutality happening. And I think sometimes we’re pulled toward these things because they have a certain amount of emotional resonance in them, and high stakes in them.

But I think we also, somehow the idea of being dark, or edgy, or gritty, has come to mean that you’re somehow more legitimate or the story is weightier. And I try to sometimes consciously push against that, because I want this world to feel real, I want it to feel like the peril is real, but we do write for young people. And I want my readers to be able to follow me there without feeling hopeless.

Looking at the bigger picture, how did it feel to craft this story as a duology?

Weird! [laughs] I’m honestly a real lover of structure. I believe very firmly in the resonances of narrative structure, and to me they kind of provide a safety net for writing. I can look at my own stories and say, okay, well, this was squishy here, or this moment needed to come sooner, or this wasn’t a strong enough twist. And to me, the natural structure for a story is three acts. And I think that’s still the story that got told, it just got told in two books. That second act did not belong to it’s own book. But it’s funny, I sort of thought of it — it just always felt like this shape.

And for the characters who survive, there could continue to be stories, but for this particular moment, this is the moment where we pause with them. And in some ways, it just felt like it always had this shape, is the best way I can put it.

I love the duology format — there’s a natural urgency to it, I think, and that serves the heist story particularly well.

It does, it does. And I’ve always sort of thought of these books as, when I set out to write them, I told my editor — I gave her a proposal, but I said, I’ve never written a book like this before. So I don’t know if it’s one book, or if it’s two books, or if it’s three books, and we’ll just have to play it by ear. And at the end of the first book, I was like, okay. I can tie up all of the plot-things easy, there’s a very natural way to do this. I was like, but the emotional things I wanted to do with these characters, they went deeper and darker than I expected them to, and there’s no way they can earn the endings that I think they deserve in one book.

It’s true, at the end of Six of Crows it feels like the characters think they’ve reached their endings, and they haven’t.

I think too, that’s what makes heists interesting. There’s the fun side of them, but the thing that really makes them exciting, particularly in books as opposed to film is what the challenges are that the characters have to overcome. People enter in, these are characters who appear highly competent at the beginning of Six of Crows, and then they face these challenges… that undermine that competence, and that’s what makes the heist exciting.

It’s not that like, OH! This is happening! And this is blowing up! Or this person got caught! It’s what they have to overcome personally within the story. And for Crooked Kingdom, that was kind of doubly true, because they have this whole new set of challenges that are coming out them, and they’ve just had their armor torn to bits, so they’re a lot more vulnerable to those challenges.

So moving forward, what are you working on now?

Well, I’m working on Wonder Woman right now, and I have a couple of other projects that I can’t talk about yet, but one is one that I have been wanting to write for a very long time. And some other things cooking!

What is it like writing Wonder Woman?

You know, it’s really very joyful! The strange thing about it is that I have just come off the heels of writing these very morally compromised characters, and Diana has her own challenges to contend with, but she is at her heart a very kind hero. And it’s one of the things I think people love so much about her, is that she has this deep empathy, and this deep kindness.

She comes from a culture where that is valued, and where the suffering of others means something. And so it’s been really fun to write her! And I feel like I’m in a better mood! I’ll come out of my writing day, and I’m like, oh, I feel good! And then I’m like, maybe it’s because I wasn’t writing about murder and torture!

So it’s been great. I feel like there’s obviously a tremendous weight of expectations that are attached to the character and I want to do right by the character, but I’m really glad I’m doing it. I don’t think there’s any other character I would have wanted to put my other work aside for than Wonder Woman.

Did you like the trailer?

I LOVED IT!

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo is available tomorrow from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and your local independent bookstore.

What are your top theories for ‘Crooked Kingdom’?

Anyone who received a mole or rat Patronus in J.K. Rowling’s new quiz is getting a little reassurance from the Harry Potter author.

Last week Pottermore took the fandom by storm when they debuted the long-awaited Patronus quiz. It’s a next-level personality quiz — it’s beautiful and provides a real sense of magic. Overall, we love it!

There’s just one problem: Many people are getting Patronuses they don’t particularly like. After all this waiting, these poor fans got stuck with a creature that they’re allergic to (cats), are scared of (rats), or they simply don’t like (moles).

Read full article

Anyone who received a mole or rat Patronus in J.K. Rowling’s new quiz is getting a little reassurance from the Harry Potter author.

Last week Pottermore took the fandom by storm when they debuted the long-awaited Patronus quiz. It’s a next-level personality quiz — it’s beautiful and provides a real sense of magic. Overall, we love it!

There’s just one problem: Many people are getting Patronuses they don’t particularly like. After all this waiting, these poor fans got stuck with a creature that they’re allergic to (cats), are scared of (rats), or they simply don’t like (moles).

Over the weekend Rowling fielded a couple of complaints by offering the upside to getting a rat or mole Patronus.

Rat Patronus explanation:

Mole Patronus explanation:

All told, there are over 140 Patronuses. Can she get to work on writing reassuring comments on every single one of ’em?

In a press release announcing the Patronus quiz, Pottermore said that “further new information and features will be revealed about the spell and its outcomes” in the “months to come.” Hopefully that means we really are getting detailed explanations.

Related: Hypable’s staff reacts to their Patronus results and what they mean

Exclusive

At Copenhagen Comic-Con, Hypable caught up with Game of Thrones actress Kerry Ingram for a chat about Shireen’s horrific death scene, Netflix, and horseback riding.

It seemed like a full-circle moment when I got to sit down with Kerry Ingram and tell her just how much Shireen Baratheon’s death upset me. Even on a show like Game of Thrones, which makes an art out of assaulting its viewers’ senses, that particular scene felt like it crossed a line — and that was just my reaction, watching safely from behind a computer screen! How must the actress herself feel, having to actually act out her character’s death at such a young age?

This led to a wider musing about what Game of Thrones does to protect its child actors from the horrific things their characters experience. (Ingram is now 17, but was only barely in her mid-teens when that scene was filmed.) I also wondered if she ever went back and watched the scene. Turned out she watched it live with the rest of us — but, luckily, she was able to find the fun side of the situation: Outraged reactions like my own. The irony is sweet.

Read full article

At Copenhagen Comic-Con, Hypable caught up with Game of Thrones actress Kerry Ingram for a chat about Shireen’s horrific death scene, Netflix, and horseback riding.

It seemed like a full-circle moment when I got to sit down with Kerry Ingram and tell her just how much Shireen Baratheon’s death upset me. Even on a show like Game of Thrones, which makes an art out of assaulting its viewers’ senses, that particular scene felt like it crossed a line — and that was just my reaction, watching safely from behind a computer screen! How must the actress herself feel, having to actually act out her character’s death at such a young age?

This led to a wider musing about what Game of Thrones does to protect its child actors from the horrific things their characters experience. (Ingram is now 17, but was only barely in her mid-teens when that scene was filmed.) I also wondered if she ever went back and watched the scene. Turned out she watched it live with the rest of us — but, luckily, she was able to find the fun side of the situation: Outraged reactions like my own. The irony is sweet.

At Copenhagen Comic-Con 2016 I got to ask Kerry Ingram all this and more, while also diving into more fun topics like Shireen and Arya’s hypothetical take-over of Westeros, and Ingram’s new Netflix series, on which she plays ‘Becky with the good hair’ and gets to do lots of horseback riding. Watch the full interview below:

Ingram’s new Netflix series stars Jaylen Barron as Zoë, a 15-year-old American girl whose stay at Bright Field Stables in the U.K. leads her to form an unexpected friendship with a mysterious horse named Raven.

The Lime Pictures drama also stars Celine Buckens and Natalie Gumede. It was created by Anna McCleery and Vicki Lutas, and is tentatively expected to premiere on Netflix in 2017.

Follow Kerry Ingram on Twitter to keep up with her latest projects. Read more Game of Thrones news right here on Hypable.

This interview was done in collaboration with the Danish entertainment site Kulturbunkeren. Thanks to Copenhagen Comic-Con for making it possible!