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The truth about Harry Potter's neighborhood in real life

You might think you know everything about Harry Potter, but one of its most famous locations remains shrouded in mystery.

According to some British sleuths over at SurreyLive, the fictional hamlet of Little Whinging, where Harry Potter lives at 4 Privet Drive with the Dursleys, his horrible non-magical relatives, could be in any number of specific places within the very real geographic limitations of Surrey. However, with so many possibilities, the definitive "location" of Little Whinging is still up in the air. 

By trying to figure out how long it would take to get to King's Cross Station and other places in central London from the not-real "Little Whinging," SurreyLive has narrowed down some possible contenders as to where the neighborhood would be in real life. Despite being one of the least magical places in the entire Harry Potter series, it makes sense that, since it has some basis in real life, fans would want to know exactly where Little Whinging could be. Here's the truth about Harry Potter's Muggle neighborhood in real life.

Where Little Whinging might actually be remains a mystery

All in all, SurreyLive has four possible options for the real-life counterpart to Little Whinging: Ashford, Dorking, Redhill, or Reigate, all of which are small towns in the Surrey area. By using clues from the book series — like Uncle Vernon's commute or the Dursleys' trip to a nearby zoo — the intrepid Harry Potter fans over at SurreyLive may have figured out exactly where Little Whinging should be.

One of the first details readers learn about Uncle Vernon is that he works at Grunnings, a fictional drill company, so SurreyLive figured out what would be a relatively reasonable commute for an impatient man like Vernon Dursley. Later, when the Dursleys go to the zoo for their son Dudley's birthday and bring Harry along, they also drive, meaning the zoo can't be far. However, it's definitely not the London zoo, as Harry has never been to the big city, and doesn't go until he travels there to shop for school supplies with Hagrid.

London is the other big issue — the first book specifies that the Dursleys and Harry drive well over two hours to get to King's Cross, and Harry also takes a train from London to wherever Little Whinging is after his day with the Dursleys. For that reason, Dorking, Redhill, and Reigate, which are close to each other and quite similar according to SurreyLive, seem to be the best options, as Ashford isn't far enough away from London to justify such a long car ride.

Harry's horrible history at 4 Privet Drive

Frankly, most fans probably don't think twice about either Privet Drive or Little Whinging, simply due to Harry's horrible memories within the Dursleys' home. When we first meet Harry, the Dursleys force him to sleep in a cupboard under the stairs and treat him terribly, but once Harry begins his tenure at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he finally escapes the Dursleys during the school year. However, he must return every summer for reasons he doesn't fully understand, and Harry's summers alone with the Dursleys are pure torture.

As it turns out, the reason Harry must continually return to the Dursley house until he comes of age comes down to the fact that his aunt Petunia took him in after the death of his parents. In doing so, she sealed her late sister Lily's magical sacrifice, meaning that the house offers Harry protection from his nemesis, the Dark Lord Voldemort.

4 Privet Drive might be one of the least exciting locations in Harry Potter, but if you want to go visit it, you can see the original set on the Harry Potter studio tour outside of London in Leavesden, England. If you're not nearby, you can relive the magic of the entire Harry Potter film series on HBO Max today.