Ever since JK Rowling first published her account of the “boy who lived”, theories about the inspirations for Harry Potter – and the magical world he inhabits – have abounded. Cafés and landmarks everywhere from Scotland to Portugal display signs claiming to have played host to the author while she wrote the novels – or, more boldly, to be the basis for the likes of Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and Hogsmeade.
Fortunately, one muggle plucked up the courage to ask Rowling about it on Twitter, and she obliged with a lengthy response. “If you define the birthplace of Harry Potter as the moment when I had the initial idea, then it was a Manchester-London train,” she wrote. “But I’m perennially amused by the idea that Hogwarts was directly inspired by beautiful places I saw or visited, because it’s so far from the truth.” She then contradicted assertions that she had used a 14th-century street known as the Shambles in York as a model for Diagon Alley, and that any of Edinburgh’s landmarks really shaped her conception of Hogwarts.
“A truthful tour of HP ‘inspirations’ would involve a stationery guide pointing a stick at a picture of my head, which would be zero fun and nobody would buy tickets,” she quipped. “If I’d genuinely been inspired by every old building, creepy alleyway, pub, graveyard and underpass that’s claimed, I’d have spent my late twenties on a non-stop road trip between locations, and I promise I didn’t. I was mostly sitting in places I could get a cheap coffee/could afford the rent and making it all up.”
As for where she wrote the first lines of The Philosopher’s Stone? “The first bricks of Hogwarts were laid in a flat in Clapham Junction,” she revealed, along with a photograph of the building where she was “renting a room” over “what was then a sports shop”. Slightly more romantically, she penned the chapter in which Harry gets his first wand from Ollivanders under a tree – even posting a photograph of it, although she neglected to reveal its exact location. “I can’t absolutely guarantee they haven’t taken away the old tree & planted a new one in the same corner of the field. I haven’t been there for nearly 30 years. But I think it’s this one.”#harrypotter #jkrowling #hpfuns #harrypottermovies Tbilisi