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A follow on from my previous question, I'm wondering, has JK Rowling ever commented on why she chose to name the school Hogwarts in particular?

  • I know it was from the hogwort plant which she had seen at Kew Gardens. Give me a bit and I should be able to find the interview she mentions this. – Firebat Aug 26 '15 at 6:39
  • @S.Fruggiero looks like you've been beaten to it! – Often Right Aug 26 '15 at 6:40
  • Most thouroughly too. – Firebat Aug 26 '15 at 6:50
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    Sidenote - When I first saw the name in her book I was instantly reminded of The Labyrinth. Sarah: "Thanks for nothing, Hogwart." Hoggle: [growls] "It's HOGGLE, and don't say I didn't warn you!" – Firebat Aug 26 '15 at 7:20
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From the name of a lily in Kew Gardens.

JK Rowling was once asked about names in an interview. She speculated that it might be the name of a flower that she’d once seen, although seemed to have forgotten herself:

How do you come up with names?

Some I make up. Some mean something. Dumbledore is olde English for bumblebee. I thought I made up Hogwarts, but recently a friend said, “Remember we saw lilies in Kew gardens (a garden in London.)” Apparently there are lilies there called Hogwarts. I'd forgotten!

Harry Potter author works her magic (1999)

She repeated this story in a later interview, apparently with a little more conviction:

Do you put images from your dreams into your books?

Ideas come from all sorts of places and sometimes I don't realise where I got them from. A friend from London recently asked me if I remembered when we first saw Hogwarts. I had no idea what she was talking about until she recalled the day we went to Kew Gardens and saw those lilies that were called Hogwarts. I'd seen them seven years before and they'd bubbled around in my memory. When Hogwarts occurred to me as a name for the school, I had no idea where it came from.

The story behind the Potter legend, Sydney Morning Herald (October 2001)

Presumably the name got stuck in her subconscious, and just floated up when she was writing the books. I’m not sure there’s more meaning behind it than that.


If Wikipedia’s speculation is correct, the plant she was thinking of was actually the “hogwort”. Here’s a picture of it from the Wikipedia entry:

enter image description here

It’s possible that there’s another plant called a “hogwart”, but if there is, I’ve been unable to find it. Unsurprisingly, “hogwart lily” does not Google very well if you’re only looking for plants.

  • Insanely fast and excellent answer; +1 – Often Right Aug 26 '15 at 6:39
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    Another +1 for "Unsurprisingly, “hogwart lily” does not Google very well if you’re only looking for plants." – Often Right Aug 26 '15 at 6:46

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