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Looks like the Dursleys have two fireplaces in their home.

First one in the living room:

But Dudley didn't seem able to speak. Hands still clamped over his buttocks, he waddled as fast as he could into the kitchen. Harry hurried into the living room.   

Loud bangings and scrapings were coming from behind the Dursleys' boarded-up fireplace, which had a fake coal fire plugged in front of it.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, chapter 4

And one in the kitchen:

WHOOSH. With a clattering, a whirring of wings and a soft fall of dust, a fourth owl came shooting out of the kitchen fireplace.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, chapter 2

Why do they need them? Fireplaces are pretty obsolete and costly compared to other heating methods. The one in the living room is boarded and converted to an electric heater but the other one in the kitchen looks like it is used. It is open and the owl could fly via the chimney in the house.

As a bonus question (sorry but it is a bit silly anyway). In the Bulgarian translation the word "dust" from the second quote is translated as "ash" which makes even little sense since it is an ultra-hot summer and lighting up a fire place sounds like an extremely stupid idea.

Is this simply a translation error?

  • 2
    They don't – Valorum Jan 20 '17 at 20:50
  • 5
    Having two fireplaces is very common in old houses. – CHEESE Jan 20 '17 at 20:51
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Older houses in Britain (and I'm pretty sure in most of the world, certainly Europe) would have had fireplaces in many rooms, indeed in some cases in most rooms - including bedrooms.

What is odd is that it doesn't seem that the Dursley's home is in the sort of style typical of multiple fireplaces based on other descriptions, and it's maybe peculiar that their living room is blocked and modernised and their kitchen one isn't - but having one in the kitchen of an English home is far from unusual.

Bonus: If the fire is ever used, perhaps 'ash' became stuck to the flue and the owl dislodged it.

  • But Dursleys themselves are pretty old-fashioned. – TGar Jan 20 '17 at 20:41
  • TGar - What's in the films is meant to be very much how JKR imagined their house - and I wouldn't expect that style to have a kitchen fireplace. But a kitchen fireplace worked for the scene! – ThruGog Jan 20 '17 at 20:44
  • The house doesn't have to be that old. My house was built in the 1950s (which makes it pretty modern by British standards) and has two fireplaces. – Mike Scott Jan 20 '17 at 20:59
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    Careful with the old-fashioned. My house has two fireplaces and was built in 2004. – Chenmunka Jan 20 '17 at 21:09
  • 1
    My apologies folks! Edited to be far less ageist! – ThruGog Jan 20 '17 at 21:15

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