Pain is often fuel for a writer’s words and this beautiful bookstore, the Livraria Lello, is said to be where the ignition for parts of Harry Potter’s world were lit. The now famous author JK Rowling had been living in Porto, Portugal teaching English in the early 1990s. As her marriage was falling apart in 1993 on the heels of her mother passing the year prior, she added the Dementors, and many of the series’ darker themes into the later books. Much of which Rowling is said to have scribbled on notes as she drank cup after cup of coffee at the Livraria Lello’s small cafe on the second floor.
The Livraria Lello’s beauty was not lost on Rowling (or Harry Potter) though; as the child wizard is ultimately able to banish the evil Voldemort without destroying himself. Now, thousands of people visit the Livraria Lello each year, which is still (since opening in 1881) a privately owned bookshop. This popularity though has caused a bit of a problem for the owners and why photos are no longer allowed. (I was lucky to get special permission arranged by Visit Portugal and ATTTurismo.) Edinburgh may be where Harry Potter grew up in Rowling’s mind, but in some ways there will always be a part of the Livraria Lello, and Porto, in Hogwarts.