J.K. Rowling is my favourite author. In Harry Potter she has created a wonderful world where we all would like to live. A word that resembles our own, just with a touch of magic, which is something we all wish we had. Harry Potter could never be set in places like Italy or Spain, as they lack of that queer, charming, nordic atmosphere that we can breathe in the novel. And London is the perfect city for this kind of stories.
A truly magical place
Not every city reflects our soul. We all have a city in which we recognize our own personality. It doesn’t have to be our favorite city, nor the most beautiful place in the world. Have you ever been to some place and thought, “these houses, streets, shops, are exactly my style”? A place that, were it a person, could be you – or your soulmate? Mine is London. I could make a list of cities I find more fascinating, cities I wish I could live in, yet I know why I feel so attracted to it. London is like me. Apparently cold and detached, it’s a city that needs to be discovered.
Harry Potter & London
In Harry Potter, a world of magic opens up once you enter Diagon Alley, a mysterious train appears if you get to King’s Cross Station, platform 9 3/4, and an old, queer house pops up in a quiet, ordinary London street. In Islington, a twenty minute walk from King’s Cross, there’s Grimmauld Place. The building at number 12 has been made invisible to ordinary citizens, since it has become the headquarter of the Order of the Phoenix.
Diagon Alley can be found at Leadenhall Market, a beautiful market in the City, whereas the Gringotts Wizarding Bark corresponds to the Australia House on Strand. Now take a walk in Hampstead Heath. you wouldn’t be surprised to come across a boy wearing a pointed hat or carrying a wand. And what about St Pancras? This impressive hotel looks like a castle. Finally, spend one day in the British Library and leaf though old books; you’ll start to feel like Hermione Granger.
There’s also a Hotel dedicated to Harry Potter’s world in London, the Georgian House. Their wizard chambers will attract everyone who loves the world created by JK Rowling. And you can do the Warner Bros studio tour. But one can find traces of Harry Potter all around London.
J.K. Rowling’s other books
London calls and pushes away, looks familiar yet can never be fully understood. It’s restless. It’s nervous. Sometimes it’s very peaceful, too. It’s projected into the world and rooted in the past. It’s both free and trapped. It’s utterly unique. Reading The Cuckoo’s Calling, JK Rowing’s book published under the name of Robert Galbraith, is like stepping into a fascinating picture of London.
I like British crime novels and I enjoyed the story a lot, but what struck me were the suggestive descriptions of London and its suburbs. I was there, with Cormoran Strike, following his investigations and meeting the various characters involved in the crime. Rowling knows how to create and describe a world. When I think of London, I think of her books.
JK Rowling, Harry Potter series, Bloomsbury
Jk Rowling, The Cuckoo’s Calling & The Silkworm, Little, Brown and Company
Bea’s of Bloomsbury, St Paul – a little cafè with windows where to have a cup of tea & carrot cake
British Library, King’s Cross – visit the library café for a coffee break
Le Pain Quotidien, Hampstead Heath – try their cinnamon cream with scones. It lights up any rainy day