If you’re also a Harry Potter fan, you must have heard about the Harry Potter exhibition organized by the British Library in London. And you must have also heard about the corresponding book that was published to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the publication of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone“. Yes, in this post we are talking about “Harry Potter: A History of Magic” ❤

readers high tea harry potter history of magic
Looks so well next to the Christmas tree 🙂

The book is a very beautiful hardback album, structured into chapters that correspond to subjects taught at Hogwarts (for example: PotionsCharmsAstronomyDivination). Each chapter starts with an introductory essay about that specific topic and then continues with information related to the Harry Potter world complemented by information related to the history of magic in the real world.

When it comes to the Harry Potter world, you will discover gorgeous portraits of characters by Jim Kay, accompanied by quotes from the books. There are also original drafts of pages handwritten by J.K. Rowling, including annotations and proposed changes. What I found very interesting were sketches made by J.K.Rowling herself of some characters or elements of Harry Potter world. It surprised me how detailed they are, and how well they resemble what we saw in the Harry Potter movies.

jkrowling sketch harry potter readers high tea (2)
Charms – Drawing of the opening to Diagon Alley by J.K. Rowling (1990)

The parts about the history of magic in the real world are full of curious bits and pieces of information which inspired magical aspects of the book. For example, did you know that Fluffy, Hagrid’s dog, was inspired by Cerberus – a three-headed dog from the Greek mythology that was guarding the gates to the Underworld? Or that the term Abracadabra was first documented in the 13th century as a cure for malaria?

harry potter history of magic readers high tea
Divination – The Old Egyptian Fortune-teller’s Last Legacy (London, 1775)

Needless to say, I recommend this gorgeous book to all Harry Potter fans! Being rich in images and explanations, it provides a great alternative to visiting the exposition on London. I personally discovered a lot of interesting information that satisfied my inner geekish-Potterhead soul … not to mention all the illustrations that made me nostalgic about the times I was discovering Harry Potter for the first time.

Have you read the book? What do you think about it? I’d love to hear your thoughts about it! 

‘Till next time … happy reading and happy holidays!


Cover image: Culturised.co.uk. The other pictures are taken by me.

3 thoughts on “Studying for Hogwarts: Harry Potter – A History of Magic (book review)

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