JKR at Beedle Release: Locations in Harry Potter Book Not Based on Real Places


Dec 05, 2008

Posted by SueTLC

We have a couple more details (thanks to an email from an attendee) on topics discussed by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling yesterday at the release party for The Tales of Beedle the Bard. In response to a question at the event yesterday in Edinburgh, Scotland, Jo said that none of her invented Harry Potter locations were based on actual places in the real world. Other topics covered involved the books she liked as a child, that English was her favorite subject at school, and as reported yesterday and carried by the global press, she is afraid of spiders.

Footage of J.K. Rowling reading from The Tales of Beedle the Bard is due to be release shortly, and we will update as soon as that becomes available, stay tuned!

27 Responses to JKR at Beedle Release: Locations in Harry Potter Book Not Based on Real Places

Avatar Image says: I feel somehow that maybe that question may have been triggered by the recent publication of SVA's new book in UK which explores the possible locations in England that "may" have been mirrored fictionally in Jo's books. Its a great question to ask Rowling. I hope we can see a video of Rowling's Q&A soon!Avatar Image says: Ooops, too many "mays" in my last post...think I'll read more Rowling over again to improve my grammar :)Avatar Image says: Reading the tales yesterday, I realized just how much I have missed her voice ... which doesn't mean that I haven't read the HP books over and over again! It was just fantastic to read new stuff, and I absolutely adore the "Hairy Heart," was laughing my head off at Beatrix Bloxam's "sensitive" version of the Hopping Pot, and admired JKR's scathing humour in the footnote "Make of it what you will." Such a special treasure to have her among us ...Avatar Image says: Yes, how could it NOT have been triggered by the new book by SVA, "In Search of Harry Potter"? Hmm. I admire JKR but I wonder if she volunteered that or just responded to a question? If the former it strikes me as a little petty; it may very well be, however, that she was merely responding honestly to a question from someone who wanted something controversial. Avatar Image says: Oh neat...... so no old camping locations made it into the books? King Cross???Avatar Image says: The Forest of Dean is real enough and there is a camping site, my husband has camped on it!Avatar Image says: @linden swallow: No, I don't think it is "petty". Obviously there are many places in the Potterverse which have strikingly similar parallels in our world (e.g.: a city named "London" (Potterverse King's Cross station however is a mashup and not a copy of the station in our world). I guess the main words here are "basis" and "invented": if I understand JKR's statement correctly it just says that in cases like Hogwarts she did not proceed so that she did take some castle A in our world and invent a few additional turrets etc. to make Hogwarts out of it. There are caves in our world, but no single cave in our world is at the basis of the cave in HBP (though knowing about caves in our world is), etc.. This is little surprising. Had JKR striven for more than such general similarity: she would have probably have provided enough detail to make clear identification possible. And still: a book about such, well, let's call "general similarity" can be rather interesting reading for somebody who does not know England and Scotland very well. Avatar Image says: It says "none of her invented Harry Potter locations were based on actual places in the real world." Not none of the locations were based on acutal places in the real world. So the forest of Dean and Kings Cross are real places while Godric's Hollow and Hogsmeade are invented.Avatar Image says: @Jennifer: yes. IMO: There is no problem with the content of JKR's statement. It's just that the headline of the article we are commenting on ("Locations in Harry Potter Book Not Based on Real Places") may be a little, well, "too general" and a tiny bit misleading, perhaps, for people who don't read the article ... . Avatar Image says: @hck: I meant "petty" because if JKR volunteered the comment on her own, it seems like a swipe at a man who is down but has finally had some success, i.e., SVA. But I suspect that in fact she was not petty and merely answered a question as it was put to her. I haven't seen any transcript of the whole interview, unfortunately - that would help.Avatar Image says: I will be slightly critical here on the Sues News team for once! Yes just the once because without them, Leaky is nothing (for me), it is unbiased, informative and how they come up with several HP related news items a day is beyond me! But this is not one of their best posts simply because there is no source link to expand on Jo's remarks in context. But in their defence, there probably isnt one and the news is too good not to publish. Having said all that, the key word is "invented places". For example, Kings cross is in the book but she doesn't claim to invent that. From what I can interpret, she is stating that the ones she created such as the burrow etc are not based on any real location. I love Jo but I might pick a friendly argument with her on that (should I ever have such a "dream on" opportunity ;) Surely some places would be an influence at least!Avatar Image says: It's like Jennifer says, "none of her invented Harry Potter locations were based on actual places in the real world." INVENTED. Meaning places like Hogsmeade, Godric's Hollow, etc...Avatar Image says: What next? Is she going to say that Nicholas Flamel wasn't a real person because she doesn't believe in him anymore? Ya know - some of her places are in London - is that real for her? The Scottish Tourism Industry might wonder why you are trying to run them out of business.Avatar Image says: Quote: "In response to a question at the event yesterday in Edinburgh, Scotland, Jo said that none of her invented Harry Potter locations were based on actual places in the real world" So, she answered a question that I suppose have been inspired by the recent SVA book. Avatar Image says: SVA: Petty, petty, petty, petty, petty, etc.....Thank you, emmy, for stating the obvious, to those who might "jump to conclusions. The word "INVENTED" is in Ms Rowlings statements.....@Cynic: get a grip, dear. Not everything has to do with "money" and "tourism"...if that was all that was bringing folks to Scotland [and I doubt THAT highly] then their "tourism" was already in sad shape! Avatar Image says: What does Scotland have to do with any of this? None of the REAL places mentioned in the book are in Scotland (or at least if there are its a minority). Most of the places are in England: King's Cross, the road they end up on in Deathly Hallows, Forest of Dean (England I believe). All Jo wanted to say is that none of the places SHE MADE UP are based on real places, she did not elaborate and say that SVA's new book is utter nonsense because he doesn't know what he's talking about. All she did was state a FACT that none of these places, again, SHE MADE UP are based on truth. Believe me if Jo wanted to ruin someones book career she could do it quite easily by telling all her fans not to buy a certain person's book. She did not do this here.Avatar Image says: yes but there are placenames that are similar and in appropriate parts of the country, eg Ron's quidditch team; a similar placename is across a river estuary on the coast of Devon from a placename with similar name to where the Weasleys live, also in Devon! So you could make up a camping trip still, and the Forest of Dean does exist! what i love about JKRs placenames is that they sound right for the area of country; different areas of the UK have different sounding placenames from other areas, and her place and building descriptions are right for the region in which they are set, also surnames (eg Longbottom, Yorkshire so I reckon they come from Flagley). So for a UK reader they are all plausible, and it's that link with reality that makes me love the books, speaking as a non fan of fantasy novels in general. Avatar Image says: It’s just that the headline of the article we are commenting on ("Locations in Harry Potter Book Not Based on Real Places") may be a little, well, "too general" and a tiny bit misleading, perhaps, for people who don’t read the article … . Posted by hck on December 05, 2008, 09:29 AM Yes, don't blame Jo Rowling folks. It's the headline in this news article that is misleading. Please change it, Sue. We would have thought better of you.Avatar Image says: There is nothing wrong with the title of the article. Anyone with common sense would know that what Sue is referring to is the "magical" places and not the WIDELY KNOWN POPULAR ONES such as King's Cross. Anyone who comes across this article does not jump to the conclusion that Jo thinks KC does not exist. However if they do, they should probably read the article before forming their ignorant opinion. And don't be so rude to Sue, there was no need to say "we would have thought better of you" because she did her job. It's people like you who form opinions before reading the article that are getting their facts mixed up. Sue, you are fantastic don't change the article at all.Avatar Image says: You know, there are times when Jo Rowling is just plain mean. Can't hide it folks. I guess if she wasn't she wouldn't know how to write it.Avatar Image says: Good god! I can't believe we're still on this subject of the trial that shall not be named. How is Jo answering a question, her being mean? The impression I got was she was referring to her made up locations. Sure they might be inspired by real places, but they aren't carbon copies. Avatar Image says: Exactly. It said INVENTED places, not actual places, ergo, JKR knows London is a real place, King's Cross is a real place, the Forest of Dean is a real place, etc. However, Hogsmeade, Godric's Hollow, and Privet Drive are NOT real places - they were invented by JKR, and therefore can't be "visited" because they weren't based on real places. What's mean about that? Avatar Image says: I pity the poor farmer at The Burrow Hill farm near Stoatshead who was coaxed by Lexicon Steve into having pictures of his cottage put into that travel memoir. Little does that farmer know that he'll have busloads of nutters tramping through his kitchen garden next summer. Worse than an infestation of gnomes!Avatar Image says: Why do some of you have your knickers in a twist when all JKR was doing was explaining about a letter that she once received from a headmaster of a school who was quite insistent that she must have based Hogwarts on his school. When she replied to assure him that she hadn't, she then received another letter insisting that she had! She was just trying to explain that doesn't matter what she said, people would always make their own mind when it involved anything Harry Potter.Avatar Image says: But it has nothing to do with a difference between real and invented places in the HP books. The point is that SVA went to look for real UK places that may have inspired JKR's invented places. By saying that none of the invented places are based on real places, she is seeming to imply that SVR's attempt with his new book ISOHP to find such places is off-base and destined to failure. Please, does Sue or anyone have a copy of the entire interview, so we could read this in context? Perhaps in context it would not come across as so rude.Avatar Image says: i saw a film not so much about than with jkr - a very long interview. bbc? don't know anymore - jkr took the interviewers to the house in edinburgh where she once lived when on welfare etc. i think it was in this long interview that a private catholic boarding school could be seen which inspired hogwarts (though this was more about the structures than the place). anyway. authoresses have to do inventing all of the time, that's their profession. the line between inventing and lying... who can tell? i am wishing everybody a wonderful christmas, chanukka and new year - being so glad that legal war is over. Avatar Image says: Let's please remember that the news team at Leaky are tireless and have huge amounts of integrity when compared to other news outlets, Sue being chief amongst them. To be honest I think most of you are being fair and not reaching anything one would describe as mean, but if only pre-emptively I'd like to point out how high the journalistic standards here are in general. Also, I think it's fair to say we all love Sue and even if we'd like the headline changed we wouldn't want her to be at all upset by this. (And anyone who doesn't love Sue has serious issues.) Anyway, I just had to say that. I'll step out now. Carry on.

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