Saturday, 26 July 2008

Diagon Alley

A friend asked me via email about my decision to take a break from a forum I used to participate in. He wrote:

I see that you are having a rest from it - I told them you must have caught the Knight bus to Diagon Alley - you are a wizard .. aren't you? (or is that witch?)

As I wasn't sure what my friend meant by "Diagon Alley" and "Knight bus" I Googled them. I found the following on Wikipedia:

The Knight Bus is a heavily enchanted, violently purple, triple-decker bus that transports wizards and witches. It makes its first appearance in Prisoner of Azkaban where Harry unintentionally hails it by holding his wand arm out. Harry has a final ride on the Knight Bus with a number of his friends in Order of the Phoenix. The Knight Bus is faster than travelling by broomstick, but not as fast as near instantaneous Floo powder and Apparating. The bus charges for the service; Harry Potter is charged 11 Sickles to travel from the town of Little Whinging to The Leaky Cauldron[HP3].

The bus functions as public transportation for the wizard or witch who cannot or will not choose another means of transportation. The riders are seemingly picked up by the bus from all over in-universe Great Britain, bringing passengers to the destinations of their choice with seemingly no set route. It bolts through the streets, entirely invisible to muggles and causes other objects to dodge it (rather than dodging the objects) for travelling short distances. For longer distances, the Knight Bus makes 160 km (hundred-mile) leaps accompanied by a great bang and jolt. The interior of the bus changes depending on the time of day, having seats by day and beds by night. The only mentioned limitation in travelling is that it cannot enter water.


Diagon Alley (most likely a word play on "diagonally") is a fictional High street in London within Rowling's Harry Potter series. It is accessible to the wizarding world, to which it is something of an economic hub, but hidden from Muggles (non magic people - people who cannot perform magic). However, Muggles are allowed access to it if they need to accompany their Muggle-born magical children. If a wizard or witch needs something, chances are that it can be found in Diagon Alley.

One entrance to Diagon Alley can be reached on foot by passing through The Leaky Cauldron. The inn, invisible to Muggles, lies somewhere along the London thoroughfare Charing Cross Road. To reach Diagon Alley, one must walk up to a wall behind The Leaky Cauldron, and tap a brick, found by counting three up and two across, three times. Given the busy nature of the area, travelling to and from Diagon Alley is likely typically done by more magical means such as Apparition or by using the Floo Network.

Aha, I see they are from Harry Potter. I've only seen the first Harry Potter movie which I thoroughly enjoyed but haven't got round to watching the others. I haven't read any of the books either.

In answer to your speculation, friend, you're quite right: I did catch the purple "Knight bus" to "Diagon Alley" and I feel so much at home there, I'm not coming back.

And just for the record, I'm not just a wizard/witch, I am the magic.

People who are into magic know where to find me. Muggles need not bother as they won't see me for dust.


Related articles: Milking It For All It's Worth - Part 2; It's Good to Be Home; The Power of Beliefs; Living the Magic; More about the Magic Number; More About Thoughts are Things; Being the Magic