J.K. Rowling has shed new light on one of the many questions fans still have about the magical world she created almost 20 years ago.
On Tuesday, the author published three new short-story collections. In Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists, Rowling digs into the history and meaning of the notorious high-security prison for law-breaking witches and wizards, Azkaban. And while we already knew that the author roots many terms and aspects of her magical world in Muggle reality, we're still pretty impressed at her latest revelations.
Rowling writes that the word "Azkaban" is derived from a combination of the institution's Muggle equivalent and the Hebrew language. San Francisco Bay's Alacatraz is Azkaban's "closest Muggle equivalent, being set on an island," Rowling writes, according to Time. Rowling was also inspired by the Hebrew word "Abbadon," which means “‘place of destruction’ or ‘depths of hell,'” she writes. Pretty perfect for a prison guarded by Dementors, right? You can read the new e-books, including the other two collections — Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide, and Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies — by purchasing them over on Pottermore.