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Diagon Alley

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Diagon Alley
Location information
Location

London, England

Permanent residents
"Harry wished he had eight more eyes... There were shops selling robes, shops selling telescopes and strange silver instruments Harry had never seen before, windows stacked with barrels of bat spleens and eels' eyes, tottering piles of spell books, quills, and rolls of parchment, potion bottles, globes of the moon...."
—Description of Diagon Alley.[src]

Diagon Alley is a cobbled wizarding alley and shopping area located in London, England behind a pub called the Leaky Cauldron.[1] Inside the alley is an assortment of restaurants, shops, and other sights. All items on the Hogwarts supply list can be bought at Diagon Alley. The alley is completely hidden from the Muggle world which is right outside of its boundaries. It is very large in area and essentially the centre of wizarding London.

Creation

It is a popular historical theory that the oldest building in Diagon Alley is Gringotts Wizarding Bank and that the other shops grew up around it.[2] However, there is a possibility that Ollivanders Wand Shop is the oldest building, records dating back to the late fourth century B.C.[1]

Harry Potter's 1991 visit

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Diagon Alley in the films

Harry Potter's first visit to Diagon Alley with Rubeus Hagrid marked his re-introduction to the wizarding world. Harry's first stop was Gringotts Wizarding Bank, where he encountered Goblins for the first time. After obtaining money from the bank Hagrid helped Harry shop for his school supplies and purchased Harry's eleventh birthday present, the snowy owl Hedwig, from Eeylops Owl Emporium. Harry also purchased his wand from Ollivanders Wand Shop. When visiting Diagon Alley Harry remarked that he wished he had more than one set of eyes to be able to take in all the sights the alley has to offer.

Return of the Dark Lord

"The colourful, glittering window displays of spellbooks, potion ingredients, and cauldrons were lost to view, hidden behind the large Ministry of Magic posters that had been pasted over them. Most of these somber purple posters carried blown-up versions of the security advice on the Ministry pamphlets that had been sent out over the summer, but others bore moving black-and-white photographs of Death Eaters known to be on the loose. […] A few windows were boarded up, including those of Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour. On the other hand, a number of shabby-looking stalls had sprung up along the street."
—Description.[src]
Hp6-chemin-traverses02

Death Eaters maniacally attack shops and kidnapping Ollivander along Diagon Alley in 1996

In 1996, the return of Voldemort affected the appearance of Diagon Alley dramatically. Wizards and witches no longer felt safe wandering out in public. The once-crowded streets stood virtually empty, the few shoppers staying together in groups; "Wanted" posters with the faces of Death Eaters plastered the fronts of once-bright shops and street stalls popped up, hawking "protective" amulets and charms.[3]

Ollivanders Wand Shop and Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour were closed following the Death Eater attack, in which Garrick Ollivander was kidnapped and Florean Fortescue was kidnapped and later murdered. Several other shops, like Scribbulus Writing Instruments, appeared to have been boarded up as well.[3]

Snatchers in diagon alley1

Snatchers in Diagon Alley.

In comparison, the shopfront of Fred and George Weasley's joke shop, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, "hit the eye like a firework display". The windows were full of colourful assortments of goods that "revolved, popped, flashed, bounced, and shrieked." Passers-by seemed to be stunned and transfixed by this.[3]

When the Death Eaters took over the Ministry, the Alley was patrolled by Snatchers.

Location

Diagon Alley is accessible from Muggle London through the Leaky Cauldron, which is on Charing Cross Road, set between a bookshop and a record shop. The Muggles who pass by the inn seem to be "quite unconscious" of its existence. Knockturn Alley, a dark artifacts area, is an off shoot of Diagon Alley.[1]

Access

"Welcome, Harry, to Diagon Alley."
Rubeus Hagrid to Harry Potter in 1991[src]
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The entrance to Diagon Alley behind the Leaky Cauldron

The entrance is behind the Leaky Cauldron in a small, walled courtyard with a dustbin. Diagon Alley can be accessed by tapping the correct brick in the wall behind the Leaky Cauldron (from the trash can, three up and two across). The wall goes in a small hole first but forms a large archway.[1] It can also be accessed by Floo powder[4] and Apparition. There may be other entrances as well.

Diagon Alley connects to a second, less reputable shopping district, Knockturn Alley.[4]

Community

"Best thing about the shopkeepers here is that they're all honest."
—A female patron expresses her opinion of Diagon Alley.[src]
Diagon Alley South Side1

Diagon Alley South Side

Inside the Alley is an assortment of restaurants, shops, and other sights; some even have tables out front with coloured umbrellas.[5] Particularly during the days or weeks before school starts at Hogwarts, the location is packed with witches and wizards, though shops are open year-round as witches and wizards travel to the location for various goods. While the shops include many school-supply locations, there are also many locations important to the wizarding world, such as Gringotts Wizarding Bank and Ollivanders Wand Shop. Diagon Alley is also the location of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, established by Fred and George Weasley shortly after leaving Hogwarts.[3]

Known Locations

"There's only one place we're going to get all this. Diagon Alley."
Molly Weasley on buying her children's school supplies.[src]
  • Amanuensis Quills - A shop in Diagon Alley that sells quills. It is next to Madam Malkin's Robes For All Occasions shop.[8]
  • Gringotts Wizarding Bank - Gringotts is the only known bank of the wizarding world. It was created by the goblin Gringott. It is located in Diagon Alley and is owned and run by Goblins. In addition to storing money and valuables for wizards, one can go there to exchange Muggle money for wizarding money.[1][4][5][12]
  • Junk shop - A shop that sells secondhand items such as broken wands, lopsided scales, etc.[4][12][13]
  • Ollivanders Wand Shop - Ollivander's Wand Shop is the sole wand shop of Diagon Alley. Peeling gold letters over the door of the shop read: Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 B.C.. The shop's display consists of a solitary wand laying on a faded purple cushion in the dusty window. The shop is tiny, empty except for a single, spindly chair in the corner. Thousands of narrow boxes containing wands are piled right up to the ceiling of the tiny shop, and the whole place has a thin layer of dust about it.[1][3][12][17]
  • TerrorTours - Located at 59 Diagon Alley, TerrorTours is presumably a travel agency for wizards and witches.
  • Twilfitt and Tatting's - Twilfitt and Tatting's is a wizarding clothing shop located in Diagon Alley. Given that it is favoured by elitist pure-blood witch Narcissa Malfoy, it is probably an upmarket shop.[3]
  • Various Stalls and Peddlers - There are a variety of street peddlers who take up space in between shops out on the main thoroughfare of Diagon Alley. Included are a flower vendor, a vendor who is selling roasted chestnuts, and a jewellery vendor.

Etymology

The words "Diagon" and "Alley" when pronounced together, produce the word "diagonally" which is most probably the origin of the name "Diagon Alley". When Harry mispronounced the name due to inhaling a mouthful of ash, he landed in a fireplace in nearby Knockturn Alley.

Behind the scenes

Lego Ally

The LEGO version of Diagon Alley.

  • In the United States, there is a shop which is a remake of Diagon Alley in Los Angeles, California called Whimsic Alley (which is a play on the word "whimsically"). The store features false store fronts inside the shop which mimic those of the "real" Diagon Alley, where many Harry Potter and wizard themed items can be purchased.[22]
  • In the film Eat, Pray, Love there is a set that looks very much like the set used for Diagon Alley.
  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Hagrid taps a series of bricks to enter Diagon Alley instead of one brick (three up two across).
  • The 2-disc DVD edition of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets includes an interactive tour of Diagon Alley, including non-interactive interior views of several shops, and an interactive exploration of Flourish and Blotts.
Diagon alley entrance

Leaky Cauldron backyard leading to Diagon Alley.

  • As depicted in the films, Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley are strictly pedestrian precincts, as the streets are too narrow to accommodate either vehicular or carriage traffic. Presumably magical means are exercised for stocking the shops, eliminating the need for standard transportation corridors.
  • As depicted in the films, Diagon Alley was inspired by the look of London in the early 1800s, but with fantastical touches, such as buildlings leaning at such sharp angles that they would surely fall if not supported by magic.[23]
  • There is a LEGO version which was released on 1 January, 2011. It has three main buildings. It includes mini-figures which have appeared in several of the Harry Potter films.
  • Though Muggles are unable to view the Leaky Cauldron and thus reach the entrance to Diagon Alley, Hermione Granger's parents accompanied her on her trip in her second year. It is possible alternative arrangements are available for such cases, such as a temporary connection to the Floo Network.
  • Universal Studios in Orlando is making a Diagon Alley in their park. It is coming in 2014.
    The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley RenderingLR

    A drawing of Diagon Alley in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

    Diagon-alley

Appearances

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Notes and references

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - Chapter 5 (Diagon Alley)
  2. Third W.O.M.B.A.T. at J.K. Rowling's Official Site
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 6 (Draco's Detour)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Chapter 4 (At Flourish and Blotts)
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Chapter 4 (The Leaky Cauldron)
  6. 6.0 6.1 LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
  7. 7.0 7.1 LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
  8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
  9. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 12.6 12.7 Pottermore
  13. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 12 (Silver and Opals)
  14. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Chapter 32 (Out of the Fire)
  15. Daily Prophet Newsletters
  16. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (real)
  17. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Chapter 18 (The Weighing of the Wands)
  18. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
  19. 19.0 19.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
  20. Quidditch Through the Ages (real)
  21. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game)
  22. www.whimsicalley.com
  23. Harry Potter: A Pop-Up Book, Diagon Alley


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