Harry Potter fans will never forget where they were when they read Albus Dumbledore’s heartbreaking death scene – but Draco Malfoy actor Tom Felton almost missed out on the experience entirely.
The star, who captured hearts as the mean-spirited (or simply misunderstood) Slytherin, admitted he ‘painstakingly’ read the books – to the point that his friends finished them before him.
For those not in the know, the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth book and film in the series, sees the shock death of Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore (played by Michael Gambon in the films) at the hands of Severus Snape (played by Alan Rickman).
Speaking to Metro.co.uk to celebrate the opening of the Warner Bros Studio Tour’s Mandrakes and Magical Creatures expansion, Tom recalled: ‘I tried to do myself a service by painstakingly reading chapter by chapter.
‘[But] I remember Half Blood Prince when that came out, me taking my time with it and then the phone constantly ringing, with friends trying to tell me, “Do you have any idea what happens to Dumbledore?!”
‘[I said] “No, please don’t give it to me!” So I waited for as long as I could really, and obviously ultimately waited for the scripts to come out because there was obviously so much from the books that wasn’t able to be finished in there.
‘I was thrilled to hear that we were able to put the last chapter into two parts – it sort of gave us more time to be able to enjoy each character’s final chapter.’
Spending more than a decade on set together brought the cast together in an incredible way, and Tom still feels that stars like Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) are like family to him.
‘We all still hate each other,’ the 34-year-old joked.
‘We had the 20 year anniversary here at Leavesden a year or so ago, and it was lovely to see everyone. We’re exactly the same as when we left!
‘It sounds cheesy to say but we’re a family that don’t get to see each other as much as we’d like but as soon as you put us back in a room, it’s just like old times.’
And, years on from the final movie hitting cinema screens, Tom is still one of the franchise’s biggest fans, often sharing the love for Potter online and keeping the magic very much alive for fans.
‘I’m incredibly proud of all of us in front and behind the camera that put so much love into the actual films, but [it’s] mostly just the reactions…the passion for it is not going anywhere any time soon. It’s a wonderful thing’.
Having grown up on the Harry Potter set, the Warner Bros Studio Tour in Leavesden, which has just opened its Mandrakes and Magical Creatures expansion, complete with Professor Sprout’s greenhouse, is now like a second home to Tom.
‘Every time I come back it seems to get bigger and better!’ he explained. ‘Right now, welcome to Professor Sprout’s greenhouse. I think I stood here 20 years ago so it’s very cool to walk back here and see it so well preserved.’
‘It’s literally a blast from the past, it’s like walking back into your school dormitories – a lot of memories had! This is exactly where we filmed it as well, it’s not like it’s 100 miles away.
‘If you told us then that it would still be here 20 years from now, that would have been pretty amazing.’
Tickets for the Warner Bros studio tour, including the new Mandrakes and Magical Creatures expansion, are available now.