With Gloucestershire ancestors and trips to the Forest of Dean under his belt, the boy who lived is more related to local muggles than anyone might realise.
From nearby filming locations and county-inspired Quidditch teams, to the birthplace of the woman who started it all, SoGlos has conjured up eight magical links between Harry Potter and Gloucestershire.
She may be one of the world’s most famous writers, but Harry Potter creator and best-selling author, JK Rowling, began her journey right here in Gloucestershire – born in nearby Yate General Hospital, moving to Tutshill at the age of nine, and attending Wyedean Comprehensive school.
And while JK always ‘had a thirst for knowledge’, she admits on her official website that she was ‘never as clever or annoying as Hermione,’ with rumours rife that detestable teachers such as Professor Umbridge and everybody’s favourite villain, Snape, were based on her local school teachers.
The mystical corridors of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, which were brought to life on the silver screen, featured the ancient cloisters at Gloucester Cathedral in a number of pivotal scenes.
The troll who creates havoc in Hogwart’s corridors in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone; the foreboding words ‘the chamber of secrets has been opened…’, etched on the wall in the second movie; and the dramatic discussion between Snape and Malfoy in The Half Blood Price about the unbreakable vow are all scenes which took place in the cathedral – along with many others.
And Potterheads now have the chance to walk in the footsteps of their favourite wizards and witches at the hugely popular Pottering around the Cathedral tours, sampling polyjuice potion and realising their fate from the Sorting Hat.
Harry’s parents, James and Lily, might have lived in the fictional town of Godric’s Hollow, but his ancestors were originally from Gloucestershire, as revealed by JK Rowling on Pottermore – much to the delight of local superfans.
Offering a brief history of the Potter ancestry, JK Rowling wrote: ‘the wizarding family of Potters descends from the twelfth-century wizard Linfred of Stinchcombe’, which is a small civil parish between Dursley and Nibley. And speaking of Dursley…
Locking Harry under the stairs, giving him holey socks for birthday presents, and stealing his Hogwarts letters, Harry’s horrible adoptive family and last living relatives, Vernon, Petunia and Dudley Dursley, are in fact named after the Gloucestershire market town of Dursley, near where JK Rowling grew up.
Brooms, bludgers, and golden snitches may make Quidditch an entirely foreign game, but the wizards’ sport of choice features a team which, although fictitious, is still tied to Gloucestershire.
The Tutshill Tornadoes, which play in the professional British and Irish Quidditch League, were named after JK Rowling’s childhood village, Tutshill, where the author grew up.
During an expedition to find the Horcruxes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Harry, Ron and Hermione camp in the Forest of Dean, a place where Hermione visited with her muggle parents as a child. She also pays tribute to the forest’s beauty, mentioning its famous trees and rivers, and even suggesting to Harry that they remain hidden there to grow old in peace.
What’s more, the pivotal scene in which Harry and Ron retrieve the sword of Godric Gryffindor from the bottom of a frozen lake is also set within the Forest of Dean woodlands.
Gloucester Cathedral wasn’t the only local filming spot for the Harry Potter film franchise, which also featured shots of the beautiful Symonds Yat in the first instalment of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
When Harry, Ron and Hermione go on the run from Vold… He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, the local Forest of Dean landscape doubles as the countryside where they conceal themselves in safety.
While the bumbling Minister of Magic and cowardly fool, Cornelius Fudge, wasn’t the most likeable character in the Harry Potter series, his big screen counterpart and veteran British actor, Robert Hardy, was born in Cheltenham and is son to previous Headmaster of Cheltenham College, Henry Harrison Hardy.
If you know of any magical facts about Gloucestershire, comment below… or send us an owl.
By Kathryn Godfrey
Thursday 08 August 2019
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