Thursday, 26 November 2015

Review - Harry Potter: The Character Vault by Jody Revenson

Harry Potter: The Character Vault by Jody Revenson
Publisher: Titan Books
Released: September 25th 2015
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Unlock new information about your favourite characters from the Harry Potter movies with this definitive coffeetable book profiling the good, the bad, and everything in between within the Harry Potter universe. Dive into the personal journeys of beloved Harry Potter heroes, and an insightful look at the motivations and actions of the films’ most notorious and complicated villains.

Concept art, behind-the-scenes imagery, and film stills track everyone from Harry, Hermione, and Ron to Dobby, Mad-Eye Moody, and Dolores Umbridge, telling their complete stories as they evolve throughout the film series. A comprehensive collection of the movies’ beloved characters, this beautifully designed book is the ultimate Harry Potter character overview. (from Goodreads)

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, then there is no doubt that you will find Harry Potter: The Character Vault fascinating. Seeing all the ideas behind the character designs and traits seriously just made me want to rewatch all the films with my newfound knowledge!

I loved the images included in this book, especially the sketches and illustrations showing the original character/costume designs. I also really liked learning about the creation of the all the costumes; just making one could take several months and often the end results could be quite different to what was originally proposed. Sometimes certain actors had input into their designs; I loved that Helena Bonham Carter was the one who wanted Bellatrix to have rotten teeth and gross, gnarly nails! Jason Isaacs too had some influence and I thought he turned out to be a perfect Lucius Malfoy, so I’m glad the designers listened to his ideas!

It was interesting to see the reasoning behind certain designs and ideas too. Harry’s clothes were usually neutral or muted colours like light blues, greys, whites and browns, but he’d often wear the Gryffindor scarlet at times when he was in battle or facing Voldemort. I’d never really thought about that before or about how colours of clothing can affect the viewing experience, but when I consider it now, it makes so much sense! There was some interesting stuff about Voldemort’s design too, and a really funny line about Hagrid being “as groomed as Hagrid could be”. And some of the detail that went into these designs - the Death Eaters’ masks were so intricate and amazing! I really enjoyed exploring all the costumes and stories behind them, and it was nice learning a bit more about the actors too. Some of their stories were quite funny - James and Oliver Phelps, who played Fred and George Weasley, were happy to audition for their parts but mostly were glad they got a day off from school! And apparently, Alan Rickman, who played Snape, was told by JK Rowling herself about Snape’s secret love for Lily, and he played his role with that in mind for years! He was the only one on set who knew the truth (until Deathly Hallows was released). I never knew that before.

Another thing I enjoyed was seeing how the party clothes, such as the ones for the Yule Ball, were designed (the bit about Ron’s hideous dress robes was hilarious). There was still no real explanation for why Hermione’s periwinkle blue dress was made pink though! The designers said they wanted a look that was romantic and princess-like - blue can be romantic and princess-like! Look at Cinderella! Ahh I’ll never get over that, I’m afraid.

The book itself was very beautiful, with lovely pages (that smelled really good - and don’t tell me you never sniff the pages of a book, because all book-lovers do it) and the layout was pretty and really easy to read. There were some gorgeous double spreads too (my favourite illustration below - sorry about the terrible lighting) and there were even some mini posters included at the back in a nice gold envelope, which I thought was a cool idea.

Fred and George setting off their fireworks (I think?)

Overall, Harry Potter: The Character Vault was a great behind-the-scenes look at character designs, and you can really see how they all came to life, and the great amount of time and effort that was put into everything. Recommended, and I think this would be a fantastic Christmas present for any Harry Potter fan!


  1. Oh, I totally smell books, so I know what you mean! This sounds fantastic though. I love behind the scenes information. :)


  2. Oh, I'm a book sniffer. These kinds of books smell so good. It looks like a great book for Harry Potter fans!


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