First things first, the wizarding exhibition is being held to mark the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Now that we’re all feeling sufficiently old, you’re probably wondering what the library has in store for you. The exhibition is actually set to be a fairly grown up affair; alongside original material and objects given by J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter publishers, Bloomsbury, the British Library are delving into the depths of their archives to discover wizarding-related treasures.
Medieval books and manuscripts teeming with descriptions of creatures straight out of Harry’s world, from dragons to griffins, as well as legends such as that of the philosopher’s stone, will be on display to illustrate the ancient origins of everybody’s favourite teen wizard and ‘take readers on a journey to the heart of the Harry Potter stories’ in the library’s first ever exhibition on a single series by a living author.
J.K. Rowling’s beloved books are renowned for their reworking of traditional English folklore and medieval legends; with over 150 million items, including books, journals, manuscripts and maps from every age of written civilisation, the British Library is the perfect place to piece together the map of Harry Potter’s influences. What’s more, the library is just behind King’s Cross station, the home of platform nine and three-quarters and the gateway to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Of course, we all know just how central a role the Hogwarts Library plays throughout the series— ‘When in doubt, go to the library’, as is Hermione’s philosophy in life.
Jamie Andrews, Head of Culture and Learning at the British Library, said: ‘We at the British Library are thrilled to be working with J.K. Rowling and with Bloomsbury to mark the twentieth anniversary of Harry Potter, and to inspire fans with the magic of our own British Library collections.’
The exhibition opens on 20th October 2017 and runs until 28th February 2018, with more information and tickets to be released early next year.