I love reading for the same reason that I love traveling: I love seeing life through a perspective that isn’t my own. When traveling I like to see the different quirks that exist in all the new towns and cities that are different from the ones I’m used to. Seeing if people diligently wait at lights for them to turn green or if, like in Edinburgh, they press the buttons that they want to cross and then completely ignore the lights to j-walk across streets when there is a good enough gap between cars. Reading gives you a chance to uniquely see perspectives through the eyes of another person, even if they are a fictional character. My experiences in Edinburgh so far have been able to combine both my love of traveling and my love of reading.
The first event that I’ve had the privilege of attending of the Fringe Festival was The Potter Trail, a walking tour of the city to show all of the Harry Potter related sights in the city, places where J.K. Rowling wrote the books as well as various things and places that inspired aspects of the books. In my independent travels that I did before the program started I had seen a couple of the sights already. I had seen The Elephant House, a cafe that describes itself as “The Birthplace of Harry Potter” and knew that there were a couple of gravestones that Ms. Rowling got names from in Greyfriars Kirk’s graveyard – I hadn’t found the names, but I knew they were there somewhere.
The tour not only connected the fictional world of Harry Potter to inspirations from the real world of Edinburgh, but gave some history of the city of Edinburgh. For example, J.K. Rowling got Professor McGonagall’s name from the Poet, William McGonagall’s gravestone. This poet was given the unofficial title of “worst poet ever” and was generally not very well liked. At one point during his life he allowed people to pay to see him recite poetry and throw rotten fruit and such at him and his face. When one of the first health and safety laws was put into place outlawing this practice, William McGonagall wrote an angry poem stating that the law was taking away his livelihood.
I have greatly enjoyed experiencing this wonderful city through the perspective of one of my favorite fictional worlds and can’t wait to see other aspects of the city through other Fringe Festival events and by exploring more independently.