Published on Sep 22nd 2020

7. Gilderoy Lockhart’s book party (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)

Gilderoy Lockhart came slowly into view, seated at a table surrounded by large pictures of his own face, all winking and flashing dazzlingly white teeth at the crowd.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

The introduction of Harry’s second Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher was just as chaotic as you might expect – after all, he didn’t have much luck with his first one. Lockhart’s book party (to launch his new autobiography, Magical Me) took place in Flourish and Blotts, giving us several memorable moments – such as Lockhart’s general tomfoolery, a confrontation between Lucius Malfoy and the Weasleys, and a general insight into the world of a wizarding world celebrity – one that actually enjoyed the limelight.

6. Meeting Draco Malfoy (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone)

‘Hullo,’ said the boy, ‘Hogwarts too?’ ‘Yes,’ said Harry.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

A pivotal moment from Harry’s first visit to Diagon Alley saw him meet his first fellow Hogwarts student. Upon bumping into this blond, pale drawling boy (who he would later learn to be called Draco Malfoy) in Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, Harry was greeted with the opportunity to make his first friend. But after Malfoy insulted Hagrid and generally came across as quite narrow-minded, it wasn’t until their second meeting on the Hogwarts Express that Harry knew not to shake his hand. How different things could’ve been if he had taken it, though...

In fact, we speculated about that right here.

5. Diagon Alley abandoned (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince)

Diagon Alley had changed. The colourful, glittering window displays of spellbooks, potion ingredients and cauldrons were lost to view, hidden behind the large Ministry of Magic posters that had been pasted over them.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

We’re used to seeing Diagon Alley as a jolly old place – full of the hustle and bustle of Hogwarts students and their families getting ready for a new school year, full of promise curiosity and excitement. However, upon revisiting the shopping district in the final book, Harry, Hermione, Hagrid and the Weasleys were crestfallen to discover that the uprise of Voldemort and the Death Eaters meant that the once-vibrant location had become a shadow of its former self. Shops boarded up, noted absences of Diagon Alley regulars, and an anxious energy seemed to permeate their surroundings. The place that Harry had once known as a busy hub of childhood wonder was suddenly tainted with fear.

4. Harry’s Knight Bus escape (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)

He could even go wherever he liked, as long as it was in Diagon Alley, and as this long cobbled street was packed with the most fascinating wizarding shops in the world, Harry felt no desire to break his word to Fudge and stray back into the Muggle world.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

After an argument with Uncle Vernon’s sister Aunt Marge got a little overheated (or should that be overinflated) Harry went on the run, boarding the outrageous Knight Bus quite accidentally, then finding himself taking refuge in the only safe place he could think of: Diagon Alley. Thankfully, he chose very wisely, and was set up at the Leaky Cauldron pub at the behest of the Minister for Magic himself. After an awful time with Aunt Marge continuously belittling him and his late parents, a summer away from the Dursleys was much needed. In Diagon Alley, Harry was free to be himself, befriend the regulars and feel safe in his accepting wizarding community.

3. Weasley Wizard Wheezes (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix)

‘Whoa,’ said Ron, stopping in his tracks. Set against the dull, poster-muffled shop fronts around them, Fred and George’s windows hit the eye like a firework display.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

With a little help from Harry’s sack of Triwizard Tournament winnings, Fred and George Weasley finally got the funds they needed to achieve their dreams: opening a joke shop, naturally. After a year of product ‘experiments’ (including poor Neville turning into a canary) Fred and George revealed their talents with Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, a colourful paradise for Hogwarts students looking to infuse some magical fun into their days. From Pygmy Puffs to U-No-Poo, the mischief-making stock on sale actually showcased the twins’ knack for advanced magic – and a number of their products came in use for beyond the classroom.

2. The introduction of Crookshanks (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban)

‘What was that?’ ‘It was either a very big cat or quite a small tiger,’ said Harry.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Adopted by Hermione after many years without a home at the Magical Menagerie, the fluffy, ginger squashy-faced cat would soon become a staple of the Harry Potter series, and reveal himself to be a very intelligent mystery-solver. Without Crookshanks and his suspicion of Scabbers and befriending of Sirius Black, who knows how the events of Prisoner of Azkaban may have ended...

1. Harry’s first trip (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone)

Harry wished he had about eight more eyes. He turned his head in every direction as they walked up the street, trying to look at everything at once: the shops, the things outside them, the people doing their shopping.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Of course, the most magical and profound moment Diagon Alley gave us was seeing it through Harry’s eyes for the first time. Whisked away from the Dursleys with Hagrid, this really was Harry’s first taste of wizarding life – and it was a thrill to see him pulled away from his lonely Privet Drive life inside a happy London microcosm, brimming with magic and magical people. This would be the place of many firsts for Harry – where he would meet his first, fellow Hogwarts student, where he would first meet Hagrid, get his first wand... the first time, maybe, that Harry truly realised what his life was actually supposed to be like.

Special mention to...

The poor Flourish and Blotts bookshop manager, who had to deal with a rather animated book order in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

A loud ripping noise rent the air; two of the Monster Books had seized a third and were pulling it apart. ‘Stop it! Stop it!’ cried the manager, poking the walking stick through the bars and knocking the books apart. ‘I’m never stocking them again, never! It’s been bedlam! I thought we’d seen the worst when we bought two hundred copies of The Invisible Book of Invisibility – cost a fortune, and we never found them ... Well, is there anything else I can help you with?’
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

A hero among us all.

What’s your favourite Diagon Alley moment?


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