It’s happened, folks. I’ve become a wizard, which means I’ve officially peaked.
While my mom was visiting me in Oxford for a week during my spring break we decided to spend two days scurrying around London, trying to fit in as much as possible. When she asked me what I wanted to do during those two days, I immediately had one request: go to the Platform 9 3/4 sign at King’s Cross Station. I’ve wanted to visit this iconic location ever since learning years ago that such a sign actually exists making it the perfect first stop on our London adventure.
Interestingly enough, J.K. Rowling was apparently thinking of Euston Station instead of King’s Cross when she wrote her famous series. The platform sign is actually located between platforms eight and nine due to the fact that platform ten is in a different building and there would be no convenient brick wall on which to build this magical scene. There are attendants organizing the photo-taking process and even a photographer taking photos of each wannabe-wizard, although it is absolutely free to take your own photos. A cute Harry Potter gift shop is next to the sign with everything from small souvenirs to an impressive selection of fancy wands. We waited a little over half an hour to take a photo, so keep waiting times in mind if you’re planning a visit.
When it’s your turn to take a photo, the attendant asks you which Hogwarts House you’re in to determine which scarf you’ll where. You can imagine my dilemma as a self-declared Ravenpuff/Huffleclaw when I realized this was how it worked. I had to pick just one House?! The injustice! The indecision! As you can see from my photo, I ultimately went with Gryffindor on a whim. (I’m studying abroad for a year–that counts as courage and determination, right?) Who knows? Maybe this is the beginning of my Gryffindor identity?!?!
Waiting in line to take a photo in front of a random sign marking a platform that doesn’t even exist may sound ridiculous, and perhaps it is. But it is worth it. Everyone in that line was ecstatic to be there, grinning from ear to ear as the attendant wrapped a scarf around their necks and handed them a wand to take a photo. I couldn’t help but marvel at all of the people who traveled great distances just to celebrate a fictional world that they love. If this doesn’t speak to the power and importance of books–especially ones that so many of us associate with our childhoods–then I don’t know what does!
All in all, I’m so glad I was able to visit the Platform 9 3/4 sign like my eleven-year-old self always dreamt of doing. If you’re ever near King’s Cross Station and have some time to spare, I highly recommend checking out this incredible place!
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Have you ever been to the Platform 9 3/4 sign? Which Hogwarts House do you most identify with? Let me know in the comments section below!