Throughout my entire study abroad experience, there was been one topic that has continuously found its way to the center of conversation, and rightfully so. Given the U.K’s role in it all, it’s easy to slip into the enchantment of the wizarding world of all things Harry Potter. Whether it was touring the Warner Brother’s studio or passing by places where J.K. Rowling wrote some of her books, Harry Potter is a culture that embodies the atmosphere of the United Kingdom and I’m lucky enough to say that I had the ability to surround myself with it.
Our final destination of our five week program was a little hole-in-the-wall café called Spoon. Our class was instructed to meet there and be ready to go with the answers to various Harry Potter related questions. It turns out that Spoon was a part of the building where J.K wrote some chapters to her novels. Though I’ve passed places with plaques labeled “J.K Rowling sat here and wrote Harry Potter etc.,” it was still awesome to be able to sit where she once did and talk about the very thing that she brought life to.
Every student was assigned one question to answer and the questions ranged from things having to do with the books themselves as well as things about J.K’s personal life. My assigned question was “Where did J.K find inspiration for her character’s names?” When I first saw what I had been assigned, I was incredibly excited. Though I’ve been a fan of Harry Potter since I was young, I had no idea as to where she could’ve possibly come up with such unique and memorable characters. It turns out that the inspiration for names came from a variety of sources. She drew ideas from things such as ancient mythology, astrology, old Latin, and flowers. Sirius Black is inspired by a constellation called “Sirius” which is pretty straight forward, but still cool. The characters Lily and Petunia are clearly named after flowers, and Dumbledore comes from a Latin word that translates into “bumblebee.” If I hadn’t been assigned this question, I would have gained this interesting insight into J.K’s creative inspiration.
Not only was I surprised by my answer, but the rest of the group had answers to questions that I also never would have known. It was so amazing learning all these cool facts about J.K’s personal life as well as how Harry Potter came about. Apart from touring Warner Brother’s and seeing the sets for the movies, this collaborative class discussion in a seemingly-insignificant café was my favorite Harry Potter experience.