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  • Writer's pictureLisa Blair Fratzke

The girl who lived

Updated: May 3, 2020


I recently found a journal I kept when traveling through Edinburgh, Scotland with my friend Erin. I wrote this particular entry at The Elephant House, a coffee shop where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. I was so inspired by being where Harry Potter was written... that I wanted to share that inspiration with you. (Written on November 8, 2015)


For the past couple of days, Erin and I have been exploring the city of Edinburgh in Scotland, the town where J.K. Rowling began and ended Harry Potter. So many pieces of this place find their home in the book and it’s got me wondering about how deeply our external reality shapes our internal one. That most stories just don’t come from the air, but have their roots in our experiences.

It’s encouraging, but also overwhelming because it means that with the right amount of time, patience, perseverance and experience, a story like Harry Potter could be possible for anyone to create.

I think Harry Potter was successful because it was so true to J.K. Rowling’s heart. And when someone has the courage to share their heart with the world, how can it not be moved?

No story is unoriginal if it begins with a seed of truth within us. Places that seem magical and as frightfully wonderful as the world of Harry Potter exist. But, it’s up to us to shape them into words… to let people know. Magic and good and love is out there.

I have seen it.

I’m sitting at the place where J.K. Rowling wrote some of the books. It's called The Elephant House. Outside the window, a graveyard looms below with moss covered tombstones and a leaf-littered ground. The trees look barren and scraggly and a path runs through it all.

Rooftops peak through in the distance with beige-bricked walls, white-framed windows and wood-tiled roofs. In the distance, on the top of the hill, a castle stands.

It’s been there for centuries. A fortress. A home. An oasis. A prison. Every place has the potential to be something to anyone. It just depends who is looking at it, experiencing it and thinking of it.

(This is the view from the Elephant House)

From these pebbles, J.K. created the mountain that is Harry Potter’s story. The boy who lived. The boy without a family. The boy who sought love and fought for something more. The boy in the cupboard under the stairs.

I think we are all waiting for some letter to show up on our doorstep that says we have been chosen. What if it’s up to us to do the choosing? Who do we want to be? And how will we shape the pebbles of our lives to build that mountain?

What landscapes will we walk across and what blue skies will we cloud? What castles will we stake a claim in as our own?

The stories are within us – but it is up to us to set them free. It is up to us to become the boy or girl who lived.


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