J.K. Rowling spent over a decade crafting the world of Harry Potter. In the years since it's become a worldwide phenomenon, she's been sharing behind-the-scenes details about the series’ characters as a means of keeping the magic alive. Now, she’s dispelled several popular rumors about how Harry Potter came to be.
From Hogwarts history to detailed wizarding family trees, Harry Potter fans love the mythology of the series. We’ve also been equally entranced by the rags to riches story of its author. Over the years, numerous stories about the locations and moments that inspired her to write about the bespectacled wizard have become integral parts of how we view the series’ history, too. Except, now we’re going to have to rethink some of them, because J.K. Rowling herself has set the record straight.
It started when a fan asked the author if she could clarify where the “birthplace of Harry Potter” is on Twitter:
J.K Rowling didn’t stop there, though. In what ultimately became a lengthy Twitter thread, she responded to a slew of other rumors that have cropped up over the years. Fans have long believed that the author began her journey with Harry Potter in a coffee shop in Edinburgh, Scotland called The Elephant House. But it looks like that’s not true:
If you define the birthplace of Harry Potter as the moment when I had the initial idea, then it was a Manchester-London train. 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.
The author told fans that one of the most common misconceptions is that she based Hogwarts's iconic library on a location in Oporto, Portugal. Then she revealed that the true birthplace of Harry Potter -- a location that may be a bit less quaint, but no less humble:
I sometimes hear Hogwarts was based on one or other of Edinburgh’s schools, but that’s 100% false, too. Hogwarts was created long before I clapped eyes on any of them! I did finish Hallows in the Balmoral, though, & I can’t lie, I’d rate it a smidge higher than the Bournville.
There is one piece of Harry Potter fan lore that J.K. Rowling admitted is pretty accurate, though -- she said that she did spend a significant amount of time writing in Nicholsons' Cafe (which, she said, is now a Chinese restaurant). So we’ve had it all (or at least, mostly) wrong about how Harry Potter came into existence. That doesn’t change the amount of effort J.K. Rowling put into bringing the series to life or what an incredible impact it’s had on the world, though.
What’s your favorite piece of Harry Potter trivia? Let us know in the comments!