Hagrid points his finger towards Gringotts Bank when Harry questions him about money:

The front of Gringotts showing the wonky pillars

Why aren't the pillars of Gringotts Bank straight?

  • 25
    Going by the movies, every structure in Diagon Alley (and The Leaky Cauldron too for that matter) is old, has odd angles and is slightly askew. It seems that similar could be said of many structures in the wizarding world. – Anthony X Jun 13 at 14:29
  • 31
    Because whimsy... – Valorum Jun 13 at 15:08
  • 25
    It's obvious but probably worth stating here that Diagon Alley is likely a play on "diagonally". – Jeremy Friesner Jun 14 at 0:18
  • 7
    Because it's filled with crooked bankers. – Valorum Jun 14 at 7:29
  • 2
    @DarrelHoffman - I must confess to having made the comment more than once, along with "Because he's a schmuck" and "Is the answer midi-chlorians?". Some jokes just keep being funny, imho. – Valorum Jun 14 at 19:05

This was an intentional device used by the makers of the film/s to create an other-worldy look and feel to the street, while still respecting that it's based in London.

“Diagon Alley was one of the first sets we created for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” recalls Stuart Craig. “We started with the notion of a Dickensian-type street.” During his research of the time period, Craig noted that buildings had an interesting structural inclination. “Very, very early Victorian architecture had this gravity-defying lean. So we began to explore the idea of architecture that was leaning so much it would appear to be falling over."

He also added elements of Tudor, Georgian, and Queen Anne styles for a unique architectural mash-up. Director Chris Columbus and Stuart Craig then scouted the London streets, searching for a practical location to film Diagon Alley. “We hoped there were still places that actually looked like that Dickensian world existing somewhere in London," explains Columbus, “but there are very few. And if a place did look like that, there would also be something modern there—a phone booth or a grocery store. We could have tried to work around those, but in order to really have the complete idea, we realized we’d have to build it.”

Craig felt that the wizarding world wouldn’t be overly concerned with imperfections, and so no one would mind buildings that seemed to be holding one another up: “We wanted crumbling, ancient dereliction. Nothing too smart or done up. It’s as full of character as we could possibly make it." Chris Columbus wanted the street to feel not only as if it had been there for hundreds of years but “as if it goes on forever."

Harry Potter: Magical Places from the Films: Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, and Beyond


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