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July 21, 2014

The Places That Inspired JK Rowling

Posted by Shara
Edinburgh, Scotland is famous for its towering castle, annual international arts festival, delightful scones...and being the city where JK Rowling wrote HARRY POTTER!  John Maher, the Advertising/Promotions Assistant and Graphic Novel Coordinator at The Book Report Network, was lucky enough to study there for a semester. Here, he shares some photos of the places that inspired Rowling, and wiggled their way into the beloved series!

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Edinburgh's Victoria Street --- a winding cobbled road packed with quaint shops and old pubs with colorful painted exteriors --- was the inspiration for the wizarding world's famous Diagon Alley.

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A relative newcomer to Edinburgh's ancient streets, The Elephant House was founded in 1995, and became famous as J.K. Rowling's haunt while she was writing HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE.
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While writing the first Potter book in the back room of the Elephant House, Rowling sat by a window overlooking George Heriot's School, a former hospital built in a Scottish Renaissance style in 1628. It served as her visual inspiration for the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
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While working on her books, Rowling would often take walks along the wynds and alleys of Edinburgh's Old Town. She had a bit of a morbid streak, and would often meander through Greyfriars Kirkyard, a cemetery dating back to the late 16th Century. The names of many of Scotland's finest thinkers, writers, soldiers and noblemen adorn gravestones here. Some of those buried here --- including the grave of Thomas Riddell, below, and the legendary unmarked tomb of William McGonagall --- provided Rowling with names for some of her most beloved (and despised) characters.

John Maher is the dvertising/Promotions Assistant and Graphic Novel Coordinator at The Book Report Network.