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SYFY WIRE Harry Potter

Harry Potter was never here! J.K. Rowling busts real-world locales boasting bogus connections

By Jacob Oller
Harry Potter apartment origin

J.K. Rowling, the author behind the pop culture behemoth Harry Potter (and the newly announced fairy tale The Ickabog), is no Luddite. She's constantly tweeting, be it to announce new projects, interact with fans, change the Wizarding World canon, or talk politics. Her latest social media endeavor is responding to fan theories, tourist traps, and other locations around the real world that are pretending to have some connection to Harry Potter's real-world origins. The world is full of Gilderoy Lockharts, and Rowling is busting them all.

"I was thinking of putting a section on my website about all the alleged inspirations and birthplaces of Potter," Rowling wrote on the first in a thread of offenders, noting that she'd "been writing Potter for several years before I ever set foot in this cafe, so it’s not the birthplace, but I *did* write in there so we’ll let them off!"

She was actually in The Elephant House, so that's at least a point in its favor. Way better than some of the others, like this Portuguese bookstore:

Or the Shambles, Gandy Street, or the Old Firehouse:

Or literally any parking meter, spot, or garage:

Basically, if fans are keen on a Harry Potter book locations tour, they might as well save their Galleons. But Rowling did post a few locations that actually DO have some relevance to the writing of the series. Places like Severus Road, which wormed its way into Rowling's subconscious:

And the true birthplace of Harry Potter, Rowling's old Clapham Junction apartment:

Perhaps not as glamorous as a quaint cafe or a gilded library, but it's a fitting origin for Harry Potter's own under-the-stairs brand of relatable magic. Rowling's work can next be read as The Ickabog is released chapter by chapter over the course of this summer.