Harry Potter: 10 Facts About The Knight Bus Only Die-Hard Fans Know

The Knight Bus was actually inspired by London’s night bus service, which continues to operate after the underground rail network has closed for the night. People don’t have to worry about being blocked and it’s a very convenient service for UK residents.

JK Rowling must have realized the creative opportunity she had with the wizarding world, and so the “Knight” bus was born from its Muggle counterpart.

9 Differences between books and movies

Harry Potter fans who read The Prisoner of Azkaban before watching the film adaptation, I quickly recognized a few major discrepancies between the book’s Knight Bus and the one onscreen. In the book, Harry observed how things jumped out of the way (trash cans, trees, etc.), but in the movie, Ernie the driver simply dodged all the obstacles.

Ernie used different buttons and levers to magically modify the bus, and it was a much more physical process than described in the book. The filmmakers must have wanted a more tangible form of magic, and while it’s a shame to alter the original written material, the bizarre machinery of the Knight Bus movie version was a great visual.

8 workshop set

In addition to an actual three-story vehicle, the filmmakers had to create a separate studio to film all interior scenes of the Knight Bus. And given that the actual bus was to have a small interior capacity, it makes sense that there would be two separate filming locations.

The studio set was built on a moveable gimbal, which meant the floor and walls could move in the same volatile way as the book’s Knight Bus. The pull-out beds and swinging chandelier were also incorporated into the set, and the authenticity of these real props contributed to the movie magic that made the scenes so vivid.

7 Passenger limit

The Knight Bus’ seating capacity limit was shown for a brief moment over Harry’s shoulder as Stan ushered him to his seat. It’s a brief moment, but it clearly states that the total capacity of the buses is nine, with three passengers allowed per deck. And this limit is actually quite small, considering the size of the naked-eye bus.

However, the small seating capacity adds to the eccentricity of the bus, especially since much of the humor in the scene comes from the rather dangerous and unpredictable nature of the driver and the movements of the vehicle. Harry bangs his face against the glass twice every time Ernie brakes hard, so clearly the Knight Bus is a mess all around – it’s even been labeled as one of the most dangerous forms of transport in Harry Potter.

6 Story

JK Rowling gave the Knight Bus some history on the Wizarding World website, which is the reference Harry Potter page for any fan. According to her, the service was created after calls for safer and more reliable means of transport for underage wizards and others who couldn’t or didn’t feel safe while Apparating.

Calls for sidecars on broomsticks and transport baskets for the Thestrals were turned down by the Ministry of Magic, and eventually they settled on a more modern form of transport inspired by Muggle bus service. And while some argue Muggles should have noticed the noisy vehicle, its ability to be invisible comes in quite handy.

5 Ernie and Stan

Bus driver Ernie and bandleader Stan were among the most memorable characters introduced in Harry Potter: The Prisoner of Azkaban. Stan Shunpike was a much bigger character in the books, even appearing in The Deathly Hallows at one point as a bewitched Death Eater, but even a single scene in the movies thrust him into the limelight. And there is an interesting story behind their names.

In her Knight Bus note on the Wizarding World website, JK Rowling says she actually named them after her two grandfathers, Ernest and Stanley. And while these characters might be a little strange to think of in a sentimental sense, it was still a lovely way to commemorate the family.

4 Shrunken Head Genie

One of the greatest additions to prisoner of azkaban the film was the iconic shrunken head. And many fans may wonder why exactly that was such a big part of the scene, especially since the heads never existed in the canon of the Harry Potter series of books.

JK Rowling explained that the filmmakers came up with the idea of ​​the dangling shrunken head and she loved the idea. There’s even a quote from her in the book The magic of the Harry Potter movie, saying “I wish I had thought of that.” Well, that’s just another reason to watch and read the series.

3 Bus “Knight”

The “Knight” bus is clearly a play on the actual night bus service in London, but it has an even deeper meaning than just a bus going through the night. According to JK Rowling, she meant that the name was both a homonym of “night” and signified all the traits of a true “knight”.

Like the traditional knight in shining armor, the Knight Bus is meant to signify rescue and protection. It’s the option of last resort for witches and wizards, but it’s still who the community turns to in times of need. So, it’s definitely an appropriate title.

2 Two of them!

For the Knight Bus seen in the movie, the props department actually had to create two of them in order to pull off the massive scenes in the movie. One was used exclusively for external shooting, and the other received a more powerful engine in order to drive with such a heavy load.

Since it was such a big bus, the surrounding cars were actually traveling at a very slow speed in order to simulate the rapid movement of the triple decker. It’s definitely the magic of cinema!

1 There really is still

Of course, one of the coolest parts of the Harry Potter Knight Bus is that it actually exists and looks as real as the one used in the movie. An old Routemaster was rebuilt in order to create the concept for the book, and the special effects department had to cut the top of the bus in order to place the third level.

Routemasters were the red double-decker buses used in London for many years, so it makes perfect sense that this vehicle was the basis for the fictional version. The Purple Knight Bus is available to visit at Universal Studios, Florida, and it’s a perfect spot for die-hard fans.


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More information about Harry Potter: 10 Facts About The Knight Bus Only Die-Hard Fans Know

The Knight Bus was actually inspired by the real-life nightly bus service in London, which continues to run after the Underground rail network closes for the night. People don’t have to worry about being stranded, and it’s a very convenient service for British residents.
J.K. Rowling must have realized the creative opportunity she had with the wizarding world, and thus the “Knight” bus was born from its Muggle counterpart.
9 Book And Film Differences

Harry Potter fans who read The Prisoner of Azkaban before watching the film adaptation quickly recognized some major discrepancies between the Knight Bus from the book and the one on screen. In the book, Harry observed the way objects would leap out of the way (trash cans, trees, etc.), but in the film, Ernie the driver simply avoided all obstacles.
Ernie used different knobs and levers to magically alter the bus, and it was a much more physical process than what was described in the book. The filmmakers must have wanted a more tangible form of magic, and though it’s a shame to alter the original written material, the bizarre machinery of the Knight Bus movie version was a great visual.
8 Studio Set

In addition to a real triple-decker vehicle, the filmmakers had to create a separate studio to film all the inside scenes in the Knight Bus. And given that the actual bus must have had a tiny inner capacity, it makes sense that there were two separate filming locations.
The studio set was built on a moving gimbal, which meant that the ground and walls could move in the same volatile fashion as the Knight Bus from the book. The sliding beds and swaying chandelier were also put into the set, and the authenticity of these real props contributed to the movie magic that made the scenes feel so alive.
7 Passenger Limit

The limit of the Knight Bus seating capacity was shown for a brief moment over Harry’s shoulder when Stan leads him to his seat. It’s a brief moment, but it clearly says that the total bus capacity is nine, with three passengers allowed per deck. And this limit is actually pretty small, considering how large the bus appears to the naked eye.
However, the small seating capacity does add to the eccentricity of the bus, especially given that a lot of the humor from the scene comes from the rather dangerous and unpredictable nature of the driver and the vehicle’s movements. Harry smacks his face twice against the glass whenever Ernie does a hard brake, so clearly, the Knight Bus is a mess all around—it’s even been labeled as one of the most dangerous forms of transportation in Harry Potter.
6 History

J.K. Rowling gave the Knight Bus a little history on the Wizarding World website, which is the go-to Harry Potter page for any fan. According to her, the service was created after calls for safer and more reliable forms of transportation for underage wizards and others who couldn’t or didn’t feel safe apparating.
Calls for sidecars on broomsticks and carrying baskets for Thestrals were denied by the Ministry of Magic, and eventually, they settled on a more modern form of transportation inspired by the Muggle bus service. And while some argue that Muggles should have noticed the noisy vehicle, its ability to be invisible turns out to be quite convenient.
5 Ernie And Stan

Bus driver Ernie and conductor Stan were some of the most memorable characters introduced in Harry Potter: The Prisoner of Azkaban. Stan Shunpike was a much bigger character in the books, even appearing in The Deathly Hallows at one point as a jinxed Death Eater, but even just the one scene in the movies propelled him into the spotlight. And there’s an interesting history behind their names.
In her Knight Bus note on the Wizarding World website, J.K. Rowling says that she actually named them after her two grandfathers, Ernest and Stanley. And while these characters are perhaps a bit odd to think of in a sentimental sense, it was still a nice way to memorialize family.
4 Shrunken Head Genius

One of the biggest additions to the Prisoner of Azkaban movie was the iconic shrunken head. And many fans may wonder why exactly it was such a huge part of the scene, especially given how the heads never existed in the canon of the Harry Potter book series.
J.K. Rowling explained that the filmmakers came up with the idea of the swinging shrunken head and she absolutely loved the idea. There’s even a quote from her in the book Harry Potter Film Wizardry, saying “I wish I’d thought of that.” Oh well—it’s just another reason to both watch and read the series.
3 “Knight” Bus

“Knight” bus is clearly a play on the real-life night bus service in London, but it has an even deeper meaning than just a bus that runs through the night. According to J.K. Rowling, she meant the name to be both a homonym for “night” and to signify all the traits of an actual “knight.”
Like the traditional knight in shining armor, the Knight Bus is supposed to signify rescue and protection. It’s the last resort option for witches and wizards, but it is still who the community turns to in times of need. So, it’s definitely a fitting title.
2 Two Of Them!

For the Knight Bus seen in the movie, the props department actually had to create two of them in order to pull off the massive scenes from the film. One was used exclusively for external shots, and the other was given a more powerful engine in order to drive with such a heavy load.
Given that it was such a large bus, the surrounding cars were actually going at a very slow speed in order to simulate the fast movement of the triple-decker. It’s definitely movie magic!
1 It Still Actually Exists

Of course, one of the coolest parts of the Harry Potter Knight Bus is that it actually exists and looks just as real as the one used in the movie. An old Routemaster was rebuilt in order to create the concept from the book, and the special effects department had to cut the top of the bus off in order to place the third level.
Routemasters were the red double-decker buses used in London for many years, so it makes perfect sense that this vehicle was the basis for the fictional version. The purple Knight Bus is available to visit at Universal Studios, Florida, and it’s a perfect picture spot for the die-hard fans out there.
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