The myths behind Harry Potter and Oporto

J.K. Rowling only spent two years in Oporto as a teacher, but the myths surrounding this magnificent city and Harry Potter started to grow and are present still today. Unfortunately, Mythbusters didn’t do a show about J.K Rowling, but I will do their job today.

  •  Salazar Slytherin = António de Oliveira Salazar, the Portuguese dictator?


Since the books were launched that the speculation started. Salazar was an evil character in the Harry Potter books, and António Salazar was a dictator in Portugal. Are there some similarities or is this a coincidence?

Slytherin was one of the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry along with Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff and Rowena Ravenclaw.

According to ancient legend, as told by History of Magic Professor Cuthbert Binns, Salazar Slytherin was responsible for the construction of the Chamber of Secrets beneath Hogwarts dungeons. It was specifically created for the purpose of purging the school of all Muggle-born students.

The fans of Harry Potter will have no problem with finding similarities to our Portuguese Salazar. António Salazar was a dictator who oppressed our country for 44 years, isolating us from the rest of the world. He was also responsible for numerous torture acts and putting in prison everyone who opposed him.

Luckily, J.K. Rowling confirmed that she felt somehow inspired by our dictator, as you can see on Twitter.

  • Lello Bookshop was an Inspiration for the Flourish and Blotts Bookshop


Rowling was an assiduous client of this bookshop. Fans might find similarities between this Bookshop and Flourish and Blotts Bookshop on Harry Potter.

Unfortunately, the Bookshop in the saga didn’t have the stairs in the picture. The only have the same entrance and shelves. This myth wasn’t confirmed by the writer, so we can’t confirm this myth yet. But why not go there and see the similarities for yourself? It’s considered one of the coolest Bookshops in the world by The Guardian and Time!

You can visit Lello Bookshop every day, but you will need to pay 5€ to enter. This 5€ can be used as a voucher if you buy a book.

UPDATE: J.K. Rowling confirmed she wasn’t inspired by this bookstore in a tweet:

  • J.K. Rowling wrote her first piece of the book in Café Majestic


This Cafe in Oporto is one of the most expensive coffee shops in the city. The prices are 4 times higher there than in a normal coffee shop, but you are served by employees in a shirt and a tie. The myth states that J.K. Rowling wrote a piece of the book in a napkin, but the napkins in this coffee shop are not made of paper…

Yes, this myth is not true! The writer states on her personal website that she conceived the idea of Harry Potter sitting in a delayed train from Manchester to London.

  • The Belomonte Brush Store was an inspiration for the flying brooms in Harry Potter


This Brush Store was founded in 1927. Every brush that is sold here is homemade, finished and assembled by hand. They only use the best materials. For example, they only use woods that come from sustainable activity. The same counts for the hair of the brushes. They refuse to buy hair from dead animals because it’s cruel to slaughter living beings just to make a brush.

The combination of handcrafting, the use of noble materials and the love and dedication for the product results in a brush of superior quality. And maybe it’s because they stick to their heritage that they still can be proud to be the oldest brush manufacturer in Portugal.

J.K. Rowling didn’t confirm that she was inspired by this Brush Store in Oporto, but some fans claim that the looks of the store fit perfectly the Diagon Alley.

  • Hogwarts uniforms were inspired by the Portuguese “Traje Académico”


I can tell you that this myth is more than confirmed by the writer herself. The similarities fit almost perfectly. The Portuguese “Traje Académico” is in every superior institution in Portugal!

The “Traje Académico” is an outfit that the students wear when they are in the University or Polytechnic. Every student can buy this outfit without needing to be “Praxado“, at least in Leiria. I will talk more about this on another post because this subject is also very controversial in Portugal (not the outfit but what is associated with it).

It’s very common to see people using this outfit in the first two weeks of school and also on special days of the week. Students feel proud of themselves when they use this outfit. The price of this outfit ranges from 150€ to 200€ depending on the design you choose, if you are wondering.

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