Dad recreates Diagon Alley in his back garden
Do you want a unicorn, a thestral, or a centaur as a surprise gift? How about a chunk of Diagon Alley in your backyard? For fans of the Harry Potter series, there are a choice few locations that you would think are more hallowed than churches. There's the Great Hall, where the sorting hat selects each house's students. Though building the Great Hall would cost, like, millions of dollars. There's Hogsmeade, but it's not quite as iconic as the streets and alleyways where Harry Potter first gets his wand and buys his books for Hogwarts School of witchcraft and wizardry. He meets Ron Weasley and Draco Malfoy there, and the setting has come to represent the series like no other.
It's Diagon Alley. “I’ve always wanted to do something massive for Halloween or Christmas,” said Jon Chambers, who has had around 2,600 visitors to his backyard replica of the mythical setting. It took him about two weeks and a few thousand dollars: “I was born the day before Halloween, and October is like my power month. So I decided to quit my job and focus on this crazy thing.”
The entrance, of course, is the shifting brick wall of the Leaky Cauldron pub. Jon is a major fan of the series, and he has two daughters, one aged 7 and the other 11. Now, JK Rowling herself has liked a tweet featuring his replica, and the 2,600 visitors prove that he did a damn good job. He had vivid images 3-D printed and pasted upon the walls, following the films as faithfully as a muggle hand could muster.
There are lanterns, perches and perhaps even in the future, a walk-in wand store. Ollivander's is currently in construction, and once it's finished, you'll be able to see exactly where Harry Potter got his first wand. Quality Quidditch Supplies, of course, will also have all you need to snatch a Snitch.
Gringotts Bank, and all its goblins, will also be coming soon, and Chambers intends to build a giant paper-mache dragon on its roof. "Now I just gotta figure out how to ship a 10-foot dragon from LA," he said.
When it's all finished, Chambers plans to say goodbye. He wants to ship the entire thing to Camp Korey, for the usage of children with major medical conditions.
"We've been blessed financially," he said. "I've always wanted to do social activism, and so this is what I'm doing."
The installation is in Seattle, so if you live on the West Coast, you don't need to fly out to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios in Florida just to see some real-life wizardry. So what do you think of this? Will you too pick up the chisel and build a real-life children's book world into your backyard?
Perhaps you could build your own Chamber of Secrets, and house pythons in it. Or, if you have woods in your backyard, genetically engineer a bunch of centaurs and some giant spiders to live there. Also, hire a pale vampire to walk around and kill unicorns. Some billionaire out there is surely working on a real-life Hogwarts, that's for sure.