It has always been clear that the place where JK Rowling grew up cast a lifelong spell on the Harry Potter author.
Various landmarks of the Wye Valley have been mentioned in her books and key scenes in the film adaptations have been shot in the area, but when locals sought to exploit their association with the 45-year-old author and her characters to help draw more visitors to the area, they received abrupt refusal by her literary agents.
AdvertisementMulti-millionaire Rowling had even named a quidditch team-The Tutshill Tornadoes-after Tutshill, near Chepstow, the village where she spent many happy years as a child at Church Cottage.
"JK Rowling lived here for a long time. Why should you have to go to Orlando to see the Harry Potter theme park? Why not come here and see a continual reference point to what is, if you like, the homeland of Harry Potter on the Wye border?" the Daily Mail quoted Chepstow councillor Armand Watts, as saying.
"We wouldn't look to exploit the link in a distasteful way and both parties could benefit from a more formal association.
"I don't know how much JK Rowling has to do with this, and I'm sure the agents feel they're doing their job to the best of their ability, but they need to reconsider their position.
"It would do a lot for this area if we could use the Potter connection," he said.
Monmouthshire's principal tourism officer Nicola Smith approached Rowling's agent, asking for permission.
She wrote, "JK Rowling makes several references to this area in her Harry Potter books including the 'Knight Bus in Harry Potter' And 'The Prisoner Of Azkaban' which stops in Abergavenny and the Tutshill Tornadoes, a quidditch team mentioned in 'Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix.
"And in 'Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows', the forest pool Harry dives into to retrieve Gryffindor's sword is in the Forest of Dean.
"We would love to promote the author's association with this area."
But agent Christopher Little replied: "Please note that JK Rowling is a registered trademark and any use of JK Rowling's name is strictly controlled. We are therefore unfortunately unable to grant permission for her name to be used in association with the area.'
He added, "We do not have anything further to add to our letter to Monmouthshire County Council. With regard to "Harry Potter tours" - those rights are with Warner Bros."