Harry Potter in Asheville

All loyal readers of the Harry Potter books know that when the young wizard boards the train at platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross Railway Station, he is whisked away to . . . western North Carolina?

In Thomas Wolfe’s book The Hills Beyond, first published in 1941, there is a short story entitled “The Plumed Knight” about a young man named Theodore Joyner who operated a school a couple a miles from Libya Hill, a fictional version of Wolfe’s hometown of Asheville. Wolfe writes,

The eminence on which the new school stood had always been known as Hogwart Heights. Theodore did not like the inelegant sound of that, so he rechristened it Joyner Heights, and the school, as befitted its new grandeur, was now named “The Joyner Heights Academy.” The people in the town, however, just went on calling the hill Hogwart as they had always done, and to Theodore’s intense chagrin they even dubbed the academy Hogwart, too.

I found the reference to this coincidental naming in a recent review of the collection Thomas Wolfe’s Civil War (University of Alabama Press, 2004).