The world's largest copyright library, a shrine for bibliophiles and home to academic and ancient tomes galore, will play homage to The Boy Who Lived. Twenty years after Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was first published, Jk Rowling's magical world is explored in a new exhibition at the British Library.
In the two decades since we first met Harry – back when he was an overlooked 11-year-old cooped up under the stairs of number four Privet Drive – Pottermania has galvanised the imagination, spanning generations, making the magical ideas of Quidditch and Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans part of the cultural mainstream. Seven record-breaking books later and we're still hungry for more magic – as 2016's blockbuster Harry Potter play shows.
The Sorting Hat Song by J.K. Rowling. An extract of an original draft ©J.K. Rowling
Combining original material from Rowling, snippets from Bloomsbury publishers and a wealth of ancient wizarding artefacts from the British Library archives, the new exhibition will bring more than a little bit more magic to central London. Exhibits will include Rowling's hand-written draft of the Sorting Hat Song (complete with crossings out), original illustrations by Jim Kay and an incredibly rare print of a witch's cauldron, dating back to 1480.
Those of us who came of age with Harry, and are still waiting for that Hogwarts letter, can get to grips with the mythology that inspired Rowling – from the origins of the Philosopher's Stone to medieval images of creatures so magical even Hagrid would be mystified.
So, those few snooty muggles who whinge that a Harry Potter story is 'just a kids' book' or not 'great literature' can bow down before mighty BL, while the rest of us make like Hermione Granger and head to the library for some swotting of the magical variety.
A phoenix rising from the ashes in a 13th-century bestiary - from The British Library
|What||Harry Potter exhibition: The History of Magic, British Library London 2017|
96 Euston Road, London, NW1 2DB | MAP
|Nearest tube||King's Cross St. Pancras (underground)|
20 Oct 17 – 28 Feb 18, Exhibition opening times tbc
|Price||£5 - £16|
|Website||Click here to book via Culture Whisper and See Tickets|