Fantastic Posts


by Heidi Tandy

Where is Hogwarts?

A number of facts from the books point to Scotland, a bit north of Edinburgh, and possibly closer to Aberdeen. The primary routes to Scotland from London depart from King’s Cross. You cannot go more than five hours from London on a steam train in a consistent direction, and stay on dry land, without going into Scotland. At Nearly Headless Nick's Deathday Party, JKR described some of the rotten food as haggis, which is a traditional Scottish dish. A member looked up latitude, longitude and sunset times on Sept 1st and on June 6th, 1993, the days of major events in PoA, and this information suggests Scotland for the likely locale as well.

Gloucester Cathedral will portray Hogwarts in the film. Find out more about the history and geography of Scotland at or Gateway to Scotland

Yahoo Club Messages: 5086, 5080, 5081, 5222, 6252.

Where is Durmstrang?

Many people have suggested locations as diverse as Norway, Russia (especially Siberia), the Alps, Germany and Latvia for Durmstrang. Some members believe that Durmstrang was the primary wizarding school of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire.

The following are arguments for and against each location:

The Alps –
PRO:  Krum describes the school as having extensive grounds where he flies a lot over the lakes and mountains.
CON: Nowhere in Switzerland is far north enough for the shortness of days described at Durmstrang.

Norway –
PRO: Someone who grew up in southern Norway would think the night lengths in winter she was used to were perfectly normal, but someone who grew up in Bulgaria would think that even southern Norway's winter nights were depressingly long and that it was very cold.
PRO and CON: The middle part of Norway is too warm, according to a member who grew up there. The very north, however, would be cold and deserted enough.

Russia/Siberia –
PRO: It's cold enough to justify fur capes as part of the uniform. Siberia is big enough and remote enough to hide all sorts of interesting things. In American and British pop culture, cold and cynical bad guys almost always come from Russia. The presence of a Bulgarian student (Krum) and one other student with a slavic name reinforces the eastern block image. A member pondered whether the Tunguska explosion of 1918 wasn't an asteroid or a piece of anti-matter after all, but something perpetrated by Gilderoy Lockhart's great-uncle. Murmansk, in Northern Russia, is just west of the northern tips of Norway and Finland, in the vicinity of Lappland, near the White Sea.  There are a number of lakes there, and Victor Krum described Durmstrang as being located in a region with many lakes.

CON: While Russia is traditionally considered part of Europe, and Siberia has traditionally been part of Russia, geographically, Siberia is located in Asia.

Germany –

PRO: There is similarity between Durmstrang and the German words Sturm and Drang (Storm and Stress), the German literary movement.

CON: Nowhere in Germany is far enough north for the coldness and shortness of days described at Durmstrang.

Latvia –

PRO: Latvia is part of Europe and was in the former USSR. There were, for many centuries, a large number of Germans living in Latvia. If students from Slavic countries were taught in German, they wouldn't be any worse off than all medieval students whose schools taught in Latin!

CON: None so far; if you have arguments for this category, please bring them up on the list.

See Yahoo Club Messages: 4419, 4455, 4456, 4459.
See also Yahoo Group Messages: 819, 824, 831, 832, 833, 848, 852, 872, 886, 913.

Where is Beauxbatons?

Many believe that the school is located in Andorra, because that is where the Bas Pyrenees are located. The Bas Pyrenees are a mountain range in southern France and northern Spain.  The tiny, autonomous principality of Andorra lies among its peaks.  Historically, they've been called The Magic Mountains. You can find out more about Andorra at

In general, members feel that Beauxbatons is located in what used to be the Bourbon Empire.  Mme. Maxime telling Dumbledore that her giant flying horses only drink single-malt whisky is likely a pun on Bourbon whisky.

See Yahoo Club Messages: 4459, 4547, 4608, 4611, 4612.

See also Yahoo Group Messages: 872.

Where is the Leaky Cauldron (the entrance to Diagon Alley)

Some believe that Diagon Alley is actually in an alternate world/dimension, with the entrance in Muggle London. The brick wall behind the Leaky Cauldron would therefore be the gate/interface between Muggle and Magic worlds. Others have researched the subject on the ground in London, so to speak, and concluded the following:

Charing Cross Road runs from Trafalgar Square at the bottom end to the junction between Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road at the top. Leicester Square and Soho are to the left of it and Covent Garden is to the right of it. This is one of the busiest areas of London and one of the major focal points for shopping and entertainment.  Therefore, even though it seems right for Diagon Alley to be hidden 'behind' Charing Cross Road, it would be difficult to be inconspicuous in that locale, particularly if you were as massive as Hagrid or wearing a pointed witch's hat and emerald green cloak.

A few members have examined the area and suspect that the Leaky Cauldron is just south of Oxford Street. You can get there by traveling to the Tottenham Court Rd Underground station.  From there, head down Charing Cross Road towards Trafalgar Square. There are several book stores and record shops in the area, including one bookstore next to a record store, with a nondescript building between them.

See Yahoo Club Messages: 6810, 6757, 7585.
Photographs of the search are here.

Where is Little Whinging?

Little Whinging is in Surrey. There is, to the best of our knowledge, no town or village in Surrey called Little Whinging.  Please let us know if you find a street there called Privet Drive. Surrey is a county to the south of London. Heaths, commons and woodlands abound in the area and much of the county is devoted to agriculture. The gentle slopes of the North Downs are rich in wild flowers and bluebell woods, while the ridge of the Greensand Way is full lakes and ponds and overhead canopies of trees in the Leith Hill area.  The attractive market towns and villages of the area are nestled among the lakes and forests. The Gatwick Zoo was in Surrey, but they didn't have a reptile house. They closed their doors in October of 2002 after 32 years of business.

Lewis Carroll was once a resident of Surrey. You can find out more about Surrey at the Yahoo! Regional Directory: Surrey or Surrey Online.

See Yahoo Club Messages: 5311, 5314.

Where is Godric’s Hollow?

It is likely in Wales, based on the assumption that Hagrid rode Sirius’ motorcycle in a straight line from Godric's Hollow to the Dursley's house in Little Whinging, Surrey. Hagrid tells Dumbledore that Harry fell asleep over Bristol.  Taking a straight line from southern Surrey, through Bristol, skims South Wales, passing through Glamorgan and Dyfed, and then goes across the sea to Ireland.  If "Godric" comes from Godric Gryffindor, then Gryffin would also indicate a Welsh origin.

See Yahoo Club Messages: 4993, 7092.

Where is The Burrow?

Near Stoatshead Hill and the village of Ottery St Catchpole. There is some confusion as to where the Weasley family lives. Various UK-based members placed them in Devon as there is a village called Ottery Saint Mary, located not far to the east from Exeter.  The village of Chudleigh (similar to Chudley, home of the Chudley Cannons Quidditch Team) is a similar distance to the west of Exeter. However, in GoF, they used Muggle taxis to get to King’s Cross Station in London. This suggests that the Burrow must be reasonably close to London as it would otherwise have cost a fortune to transport the group to the Hogwarts Express.

See Goblet of Fire, Chapter 5
See Yahoo Club Messages: 6826, 6853, 6857.

Where is King’s Cross?

It is located in the northern portion of Central London. Fast, electrified routes run from London King's Cross station to Edinburgh Waverley Station and between London Euston Station and Glasgow Central Station. Thus, it is one of the most convenient ways to get from London to Scotland.

King's Cross Station was designed as the Great Northern Railway's London terminus by the architect Lewis Cubitt, and the structure was built in 1851-2. It was erected on the site of a former smallpox and fever hospital. The train shed is faced with a yellowish brick screen which fronts onto Euston Road and features a central 120ft high clock tower in Italianate style, with 9ft diameter clock dials. On either side, there are large arched windows over the fronts of the two big arched train sheds (71 ft high, 800ft long).

Find out more about King’s Cross, or see a map, see the entry at Describe Online.

Are Wizard Places in Muggle Reality?

Are the Leaky Cauldron, Diagon Alley, Hogwarts & Hogsmeade, Platform 9-3/4, and Azkaban, just to name a few, physically in the Muggle spacetime continuum, generally concealed from Muggle eyes by long-existing cover and concealment spells, or are they gates into a slightly different alternate dimension where much of wizarding society exists, with only the wizardly talented able to perceive them?

Gringotts bank vaults, as stated in PS, are miles below the surface of London, so they would definitely seem to be in the same physical universe. By corollary, if the vaults are physically in London, then Gringotts (and thence the rest of Diagon Alley) must be as well.  However, it just isn't realistic to be able to hide geographic areas the size of Diagon Alley in London. Some members believe that there is a physical connection to London that, to the observer, appears to be the size of a building.  But like so many other things in the wizarding world (the car trunks, the cars themselves, their tents. . .), it is bigger on the inside than the outside. Various members have concluded that there is no scientific explanation for where the necessary space comes from. It isn't another dimension or anything.  It's just magic.

Yahoo Club Messages: 7039.

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