Tucked among the magical storehouses of Diagon Alley is a shop that is always dark in order to accommodate the preferences of its nocturnal inhabitants. This is Eeylops Owl Emporium—and the setting for Harry Potter's adoption of his pet, Hedwig, who remains one of his truest companions throughout his school years. The Swiss naturalist Conrad Gessner depicted many owls in his volume dedicated to birds, including this handsome grey owl with his abundance of downy feathers and keenly intelligent eyes. Owls of all types appear throughout the series, retaining the cultural associations they've had for centuries of both wisdom and omens.
The Swiss naturalist Conrad Gessner's 4,500-page encyclopedia of animals, the Historia Animalium, makes even the prolific Gilderoy Lockhart look like a slouch. Part fantasy, part observation, Gessner's dense and exuberant animal kingdom included creatures real and imaginary, running the gamut from sea monsters and whales to diminutive tabby cats. Of the unicorn, Gessner writes that its horn marrow, cut with a little wine, could heal a man who'd eaten a poisoned cherry, and could cure a number of ailments. All the better to keep young wizards out of the Hogwarts hospital wing.