The British Library’s newest exhibition commemorates the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosophers’ Stone (those U.S. fans know it as the Sorcerer’s Stone). The exhibit, which opened today and will close on February 28 of 2018, displays private texts by J.K. Rowling, historical artifacts, and manuscripts to exemplify the story and folklore incorporated in Rowling’s series.
The exhibit contains J.K. Rowling’s private notes and a handwritten first draft of the book’s chapter 17. You know…the chapter when Harry discovers that Professor Quirrel, not Professor Snape, has been terrifying Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Viewers are able to see the original synopsis Rowling sent to the 12 publishers who rejected her book in addition to deleted portions.
The exhibit also features Rowling’s sketches and timetables as a way for her to originally visualize Hogwarts. Fans will surely view these illustrations as her own prototype of the Marauder’s Map!
The artifacts include an actual bezoar stone (an antidote to any poison), instructions on how to properly pick up those mandrakes, and advice on how to defeat a basilisk. A 6-meter-long Ripley scroll from the 1500s details how to make the philosopher’s stone and contains a hidden Harry Potter Easter Egg. The instructions include combining a black, white, and red stone. Just a side note – in Latin, Albus is white, Rubeus is red. The black stone? Well, there’s Sirius Black.
Rowling tweeted a tombstone of the real-life Nicholas Flamel, the wizard in the book who created the philosopher’s stone:
Guess what this is? I've just seen it and was mesmerised… pic.twitter.com/ZSWjpUGH8E
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) October 17, 2017
A reality celestial globe allows you to explore the heavens and therefore uncover which of the Harry Potter characters are named after specific constellations. In the Charms Room, you can spot a golden snitch moving swiftly. In the Care of Magical Creatures sections, you can find magical beasts.
In a press release, Rowling stated her approval of the exhibit:
The British Library has done an incredible job. Encountering objects for real that have in some shape or form figured in my books has been quite wonderful and to have several of my own items in the exhibition is a reminder of twenty amazing years since Harry was first published.
Alongside the exhibit, The British Library will be conducting special events such as a “Hogwarts curriculum.”
U.S. fans need not worry! In October of 2018, a “Harry Potter: a History of Magic” will arrive to the New York Historical Society.