Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Harry Potter girls

Today my colleague and I were idly talking about Harry Potter and whether JK Rowling actually meant Kings Cross when referring to it in the books. I have a vague hunch she was talking about Euston, but couldn't remember where I'd picked that up from, or indeed whether I'd just made it up. Then out of coincidence I noticed something that confirmed my hunch.

Throughout my association with Euston [Euston station being the main portal to the North-West of Britain] I have always noticed the schoolgirls who mill about in quite an old fashioned blue uniform. Mainly because, ever since Velvet Goldmine, I have had a desire to be a London schoolgirl (in the same slightly pointless way I wish I were a Victorian gay man, but that's another post) as I hold the belief that my mid-teenage years would have been much more exciting had I been allowed to spend them in Camden. For a start, I think I would have appreciated Camden far more as a young teenager when such things as crowds and late nights bothered me less than they did when I eventually made it there as a student. Recently, I have revised this view slightly, imagining that having London at your feet as a youngster might make you a bit blase about it, deprived as you would be of the yearning for excitement that comes from growing up in a provincial place.

If I had thought about it at all, I had assumed that these girls came to Euston in order to take a train somewhere a bit further out such as Watford. But today I was there at lunchtime and many of the girls were there, in their little gangs trying to look as cool as they could in calf-length checked skirts. It dawned on me that they couldn't be going as far as Watford if they still had the chance to be at Euston for a lunchtime cornish pasty. Unless, that is, there was something magical about their route to school. They always seem to be heading for some dark recess of Euston. What if one of the platforms really is thirteen and a half and these girls are, in fact, going through some sort of warp to get to their school of Magic? It would explain the uniforms. It wouldn't be entirely far fetched: I discoverd an AMT coffee next to Platform 15 recently, a whole coffee bar full of smoke and mirrors which had probably been there for years without me spotting. Euston is full of secrets and these magic youngsters could be one of them. To us, just normal teenagers but there they are, wielding their spells and learning to manipulate feathers in some vortex behind platform thirteen and a half.

So spill the beans, JK Rowling. Did you follow these girls and make your billions writing about them? Did you merely introduce boys to bring a little frisson to the plot? If you are reading this, perhaps you could enlighten me.

5 comments:

Jess said...

You could be thinking that the films use Euston as the location for King's Cross because it 'looks more like King's Cross' or something. My friend who used to work right next to Euston station has bitched about this many times, and now she works in Cambridge and bitches that film-makers often use Oxford as a stand-in becase it 'looks more Cambridgey'.

I think you're right about people being blasé after having grown up in a cool place. I never minded looking slightly over-eager, because it meant I was having more fun!

Kitty Eve said...

those mystery girls are actually coming out from the Catholic girl school in Drummond Street. (sorry to break the secret)

JimmyMac said...

'Ello Jess. Am a bit bamboozled by the whole Harry Potter thing, as I've never read the books and I'm only watching the films as they get released on terrestrial telly [same with Lord of the Rings - the books bored me so much as a schoolkid that I never got past half-way] but in the film, they definately use Kings Cross. Last time I was there, they still had the Hogwarts Express banners draping in the suburban side of the station - although in reality you're more likely to catch a Cambridge Cruiser than James the red engine, which looks like it is an old LMS [ie Euston-based] engine in any case...

Mark said...

There are loads of school nearby that wear blue uniform....

PS - it is not always fun growing up in london - was always a nightmare to get home in the evenings !!

Jess said...

I checked with my friend, and she said that it was in the book that JK was describing Euston and calling it King's Cross. My mistake!