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Traditionally, the hearth has always been at the heart of any home when fireplaces were the focus of family life. In each issue of Woodlore, we’re going to take a peek at some of the world’s most famous fireplaces – both real and imaginary. In this first issue, we’ve decided to find out more about the Floo Network in Harry Potter, which relies heavily on fireplaces for the swift transport of the wizarding community.

The Floo Network is equivalent to the muggles Network Rail only a lot quicker and cheaper. You can travel to any fireplace in the world, as long as it has been registered with the network. To use the Floo Network, you simply throw a handful of Floo Powder into the fire, which will then begin to sparkle and turn green. Walk into the fire (it’s magic so it won’t burn) whilst announcing your chosen destination.

Floo Powder is made by a company called Floo-Pow – the only licensed producer in Britain whose headquarters are in Diagon Alley and who are renowned for never answering their front door. It’s aglittery, silver powder which was invented in the 13th century by Ignatia Wildsmith.

To register a fireplace with the network, you must first give it a name and erect a sign directly over your fire. Then all you have to do is cast the Floo Network registration spell, which can be found in “Achievements in Charming” and “Practical Magic”. Once the spell is cast, you can remove the sign but you can check the address of any registered fireplace by casting the information spell at the location of the fire block.

Transportation by the Floo Network is much quicker than by broomstick, but slower than the Apparition spell. However, unlike Apparition, you don’t need a license to use Floo Powder. All in all, quite handy really.