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About Little Whinging

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1 About Little Whinging on Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:43 pm

Hex

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Little Whinging is a fictitious town to the south of London in Surrey, England. Rowling supposedly designed this place to be a very bland, stereotypical satellite town in the London commuter belt, to contrast it with the unique and spectacular Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Alison Lurie noted in the New York Review of Books that Little Whinging's name is 'a joke that American readers may not get: we would call the place Little Whining'. Number 4, Privet Drive, Little Whinging, is the Dursleys' home, in which Harry lives with his aunt Petunia, uncle Vernon, and cousin Dudley. He has lived there since the age of fifteen months, having previously lived with his parents in Godric's Hollow; however, since he began attending Hogwarts, he spends little time there, though he reluctantly returns during the summer holidays. In the novels and films, the Dursleys' home is in a respectable and boring neighbourhood where the neighbours ostracise Harry, who despises Little Whinging because of his memories of his cruel treatment there. Arabella Figg, who lives two streets away from 4 Privet Drive in the novels (but just across the road in the films) knows of Harry's magic, because she is a Squib member of the Order of the Phoenix, placed in Little Whinging by Dumbledore to keep an eye on Harry. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore reveals that the reason Harry must return there at least once a year is because of the protection Harry's mother left upon him when she gave her life to save him. That act allowed Dumbledore to use an "ancient magic" that meant Harry could never be harmed so long as he lived in the care of his mother's blood; in this case, his Aunt Petunia. This charm would not break until Harry turned 17.

According to the documentary Creating the World of Harry Potter Part I: The Magic Begins, included in the 2009 DVD/Blu-Ray "Ultimate Edition" of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the filmmakers initially attempted to film the Little Whinging/Privet Drive sequences on location in a real urban area. When this proved unfeasible, a section of Privet Drive was constructed on the backlot at Leavesden Film Studios. As of January 2010[update] this standing set, which has remained in use throughout the decade-long filming history of the Harry Potter films, remained visible in Google Maps aerial views of the studio.



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