Edinburgh, Scotland, has spent decades as a hub of “Harry Potter”-obsessed tourism, with fans flocking to the city to see where J.K. Rowling crafted the best-selling book series of all time.
It turns out, however, that those trips may have been at least partially in vain.
That’s because Rowling, in a series of recent tweets, revealed that she actually wasn’t living in Edinburgh when she first created the series. Instead, “Harry Potter” was born in south London, in a tiny apartment above a sporting goods store.
“This is the true birthplace of Harry Potter, if you define ‘birthplace’ as the spot where I put pen to paper for the first time,” Rowling tweeted on May 21. “I was renting a room in a flat over what was then a sports shop. The first bricks of Hogwarts were laid in a flat in Clapham Junction.”
The reveal came after a fan tagged Rowling in a photo of the Elephant House, an Edinburgh café famous for its role as one of the author’s early writing spots. Today the café advertises itself as a workplace and “inspiration” for the writer’s work.
Rowling did not refute the fact that she did do plenty of writing at the Elephant House, but she clarified that she first began writing “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” while living in London.
She went on to debunk several other myths about the series’ origins, including the fact that she based Hogwarts after George Heriot’s School in central Edinburgh.
“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!” Rowling wrote.
There was some comforting news for fans, though, as Rowling confirmed that a pair of gold handprints on Edinburgh’ sidewalk — also considered a key “Harry Potter” landmark — were hers.
“These (in Edinburgh) are definitely my handprints!” Rowling tweeted.
If you liked this story, check out In The Know’s article on how to hear Daniel Radcliffe and other celebs reading “Harry Potter” aloud.
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