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December 11, 2012
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Harry Potter question (about owls)

:iconpinballwitch:
Question: Did J.K. Rowling come up with the idea of owl post or is there folklore/other precedent for that?

Been crawling through a few of the usual suspects when it comes to obtaining Harry Potter-related knowledge, but so far, the internet hasn't answered my query. Can you?

Thanks!
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:iconedarlin:
I don't know of any other uses in literature, but owls are considered ill omens in quite a few mythologies and cultures. Owls are often seen as the messengers or companions of gods of death, or are associated with sorcery or evil, especially in African and American (north and south) cultures.
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:iconghostinthepines:
GhostInThePines Dec 11, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
You may want to look at Mercedes Lackey's Hawkbrothers culture in her Valdemar series. They use birds-of-prey, including owls, as a sort of familiar. I can't remember her ever having them carry physical letters ever, but they could be used to transfer messages between scouts...

Perhaps it will give you some ideas of how to make your owls less Rowling-esque and more unique to your own story.
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:iconghostinthepines:
GhostInThePines Dec 12, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
You're welcome!
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:iconpakaku:
Owl post = carrier pigeons
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:iconpinballwitch:
I know but in terms of direct magic-related influence? (Like association with witches, etc.)?

Just thinking because I'm working on transforming a fanfiction (except not really, it was a NaNoWriMo piece set in the HP universe on a different continent with no Rowling characters, just for consistency and to save time at the last minute). I'm trying to decide if I should get rid of all my owls (there aren't that many).

Thanks for responding though :)
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:iconbagasuit091:
bagasuit091 Dec 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Well, I'm not sure if owls have ever been directly associated with witches and wizards, but owls themselves symbolize wisdom and clairvoyance. I'm sure long ago people believed they could view the future. The only other thing I can think of is 'familiars.' A familiar is basically an animal (usually a cat, but could be an owl) that acts like the witch's partner.

But the idea of owl messages is what Pakaku said. It was just a means of communication for the magical world.
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:iconpinballwitch:
But the Rowling magical world only? That's what I'm clarifying.

:nod: Thank you for your response!
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:iconbagasuit091:
bagasuit091 Dec 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes, I think so. Never heard of owl mail until I read them. It is a pretty neat idea.

And no problem! =)
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