#AtoZChallenge @AprilAtoZ #HarryPotter – D is for Diagon Alley


The first time I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (or Philosopher’s Stone), I read and re-read it a few times before giving it back to the library. I was so engrossed in the book that some scenes just came to life and stayed in my mind long after the read. It was nice to see those scenes in the movie version of the book, and quite a few were done justice, I feel. The way Dumbledore comes in the night to leave Harry at the Dursleys and Hagrid’s motorcycle were just two of the scenes that left an impact on me. But it’s a credit to the author that what I wanted to know as I read the book then, she brought to the table sooner rather than later.

Harry Potter goes with Hagrid in the morning, taking a boat, seeing magic, and excited about the adventure that lies ahead. But soon as that happened, I had wondered, “Where would he go to buy things for a school of magic?” Opening his list, he sees a lot of things to buy… books and robes, cauldrons and a wand. Where would he find all that? And how would that be hidden from the ‘non-magic folk’? When Hagrid tapped the brick three up and two across from the trashcan in the alley behind The Leaky Cauldron, a world I so wanted to be a part of opened up. I can still remember the words…

The brick he had touched quivered — it wriggled — in the middle, a small hole appeared — it grew wider and wider — a second later they were facing an archway large enough even for Hagrid, an archway onto a cobbled street that twisted and turned out of sight.

“Welcome,” said Hagrid, “to Diagon Alley.”

Diagon Alley. Image Source: Harry Potter Wikia

Diagon Alley, with its cobblestoned paths and mix of restaurants, shops and other places, was one that I had pictured very clearly in my mind. I walked under the archway with Harry as he entered it, imagining the same excitement. I saw the sunlight on the cauldrons in the nearest shop, imagined the apothecary and heard the hoot of the owls from Eeylops Owl Emporium. I felt the excitement of the boys who were looking at the broomsticks. And was amazed when with Harry, I entered the wizarding bank. I imagined I was standing in the room where Malfoy and Harry got fitted for robes at Madam Malkin’s.

Ollivander’s. Image Source: Dumbledore’s Army Wikia

Diagon Alley is one of the places where magic is the cynosure. It isn’t known how the world is hidden from the muggles. Perhaps my favorite shop in the alley initially was Ollivander’s. The book had the memory of Harry getting his first wand. It’s the only time we see or enter the shop in the whole series, so the memory is special. I also wanted to see what Quality Quidditch Supplies looked like, but we’re only given a fleeting view of it in the movies. Magical Menagerie, from where Hermione buys her cat Crookshanks, is another shop that I could imagine nicely; imagining the show-off mice was particularly enjoyable. In the sixth book, Diagon Alley gets a great addition too – Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes, which became my favorite shop.

Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. Image Source: Harry Potter Wikia

So many shops I loved at Diagon Alley, but there is magic everywhere, or so I feel. Sixteen years after I first read the book and visited Diagon Alley for the first time, I look back at it and wonder, “Isn’t there something in real life that comes somewhat close to that?” Granted, I cannot recreate Diagon Alley with its magic in my city, but there is an area that comes really close. It’s one that I haunt a lot, and feel the time fly by when I visit. Some of my fellow Potterheads who have been here might understand the comparison. Church Street and Brigade Road together offer me that magic I have in my life. Blossom Book Store is my Flourish and Blotts of late; there are food haunts that feel like Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor; there’s even a bank, and the street has lots of peddlers too. Diagon Alley even has a proper second hand bookshop, of which this area has many. For a bookworm and a foodie, that’s magic, don’t you think?

But reality always takes a break when I read Harry Potter. So as I re-read it now, only the magic of Diagon Alley is recreated in my mind. My city, and the world around me fades. So if you are a Potterhead and were to come with me as I step under the archway again to enter Diagon Alley, which would be the first shop you’d visit?

How fast time seems to fly by. I remember taking part in the first ever April A to Z Challenge, where for the month of April (except for Sundays) we write on themes around the 26 alphabets. This year marks the 7th Blogging from A to Z Challenge, and my 7th as well. I’ve successfully completed 4 of the 6 years before, so hoping for a fabulous 5th year of blogging success. You can go here if you want to know more about what the challenge is. My theme this year is ‘The World of Harry Potter’.

(© 5th April 2016)


Poetry & writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.

40 thoughts on “#AtoZChallenge @AprilAtoZ #HarryPotter – D is for Diagon Alley”

  1. Diagon Alley – for many it is not so huge, but for me it is the magic portal that took me (and yeah, Harry) to the world of wizards. I still like the word play with diagonally and nocturnally. JKR never fails to amaze me.

    Though now that I am reading again and again, I want to visit the world of Harry Potter sets, at least.
    And oh, yeah! Blossoms 🙂

  2. Diagon Alley! That’s the whole world of magic in an alley. My favourite shop is the book store. Though itv is only shown once in the movies during a book launch. …that’s my fav.

    Great going Leo.

    • I’ve read each book more than ten times too, Cassie, and still enjoy re-reading them. 😀 Diagon Alley is absolutely the spotlight of the books, I feel. Glad you liked reading.

  3. Diagon Alley reminded me of the small gullies of old Indian cities of course without the magical bits. I completely loved Rowling’s play of words. She’s amazingly smart with her names. My favourite shop would be Ollivanders just like you – I think the wands are the most magical of all things – that’s where it all comes from, isn’t it? And I’d like to see which one matches with my personality.
    (Beat About the Book recently posted… This is how I was kindled)My Profile

    • Yeah. The gullies do have some magic if you think of it in a deeper sense. 🙂 But not literally magic, I agree. Wands would be the most important of magical things, absolutely. I agree with you, Tulika. 😀 My wand has a Unicorn hair core. 🙂

  4. You’re awesome for taking the theme as HP <3 Loved the post and this is your 7th participation in AtoZ challenge? I didn’t even know writing 7 years back 😛

  5. Hi Vinay, you know what? I have to start reading the whole series yet again, this is so tempting me to do so! Happy memories of the first trip to Diagon Alley both in the book and the movie have resurfaced! Thanks much 🙂

    • I debated on Dumbledore at first, then decided on Diagon Alley. 🙂 Q is still a long way away, and I’ve not decided on it yet. 😀 It could be, of course. I’ll have to wait and see too. Thanks, Jayanthi.

  6. Hands down it’s Flourish and Blotts. Btw which is the second hand bookshop you have mentioned? I can’t recall one in Diagon Alley. And you are right, it is the dream destination only after Hogwarts, of course.
    (aathira recently posted… E – Esha)My Profile

    • Yeah, Aathira. Flourish and Blotts would be a favorite, absolutely. 🙂 It’s not mentioned in particular in the book, the second hand book shop. I found that in Wikia when I was going through it. 😀

  7. I would visit Eyelops Emporium, and buy myself a snowy owl! <3
    And of course, Weasley Wizards Wheezes is shop I have to visit every time I go to Diagon Alley!
    Did you know that Diagon Alley is a play on the word – diagonally? And Knockturn Alley actually was derived from nocturnally?

    My theme last year was Harry Potter and Hogwarts. I had done the D for post as the two enemies of Harry, -Draco and Dudley. I hope you enjoy it 🙂
    (Mithila Menezes @Fabulus1710 recently posted… E for Enouement #AtoZChallenge)My Profile

    • Yes. I knew. 🙂 I had read about it, and also have many Potterhead friends who discuss things like that, Mithila.

      I have read your last year’s D. 🙂 It’s fabulous too.

    • Ah. So did many. 🙂 I thought of both of those options, of course. But they are what quite a few Potterheads would write on, maybe. 🙂

      Besides, Diagon Alley is central to all characters, and features through the series. 😀

      Oh. I visited Ollivander’s, Shalzzz. :mrgreen: My wand is Sycamore, 13.5 inches long and with a Unicorn Hair core. 😛

  8. I would definitely love to go to Ollivander’s for my first magic wand..I want a magic wand !! Lolz 🙂
    As usual, beautifully put across Leo 🙂

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