Yes. Another Harry Potter based post. I know you’re excited.
So there is this walking tour in Edinburgh of all the HP history here, as this is where J.K. started writing and also where she still lives.
Today I finally went on that tour. It was one of the first things my sister and I did when she got here. YES! I was pretty stoked.
The first stop:
The grave that inspired the name of Professor McGonagall. William McGonagall was a poet, deemed the worst poet in the world, but joined the circus to read his poetry while people threw rotting fruit at his face. Yes, he did that on purpose. Somewhat considered to be the first stand-up comedian. Apparently they were so eager to bury him, that by the time they had the plaque made they’d forgotten exactly where he was…
The second stop:
George Heriot’s school, the inspiration for Hogwarts. There are four houses in the school whose colors are red, green, blue, and yellow. It started out as a school/hospital for orphaned children. It is now a blazing expensive private school (where J.K.’s daughter attends) but they have a scholarship program for children from single-parent homes.
Tom Riddle’s grave, which I previously visited on Friday the 13th of this month. In the same graveyard as McGonagall (we saw the school through the gates of the graveyard). The Riddells were merchants and have an alley named after them on the Royal Mile.
This cafe, where the Philosopher’s Stone was actually written, although another cafe claims to be the birthplace. It is no longer the cafe it was when J.K. wrote there, but there is a plaque on the wall to commemorate where the books started. I’ve been curious about this cafe, and now I must go there!
The cafe which claims the birthplace of Harry Potter, where much of the second, third, and fourth books were written. Honestly, I’ve heard the tea and coffee are mediocre. But will probably still eat here in the near future. And maybe get a spot at J.K.’s favorite table.
This street (Victoria Street) was inspiration for Diagon Alley. On it there is a brewery, a school supply store, and a joke shop. Plus, as you can see, the buildings are colorful with mismatched facades. Pretty great.
Another honorable mention that we didn’t actually go to was the Balmoral Hotel. In room 552 of this hotel, J.K. finished the last chapter (not the epilogue) of the Deathly Hallows. She then signed a marble statue that was on the mantle in the room saying “in this room, J.K. Rowling finished the Harry Potter series”. The statue is now in a class case, there is a sign over the door of the room saying “J.K. Rowling Suite” and they change the doorknob to an owl. You can stay there for £950/night. No problem.
We did also go to the campus of the University of Edinburgh which I didn’t take a picture of, where J.K. got a teaching certification thinking she’d need a real job to pay the bills. She ended up donating £10 million to them to build a research facility for neural diseases such as Parkinson’s and MS.
Now that I know all the HP history where I live, I can walk around with so much more joy in my heart!