Belfast Telegraph

Harry Potter exhibition to feature broomsticks and crystal balls

JK Rowling said the exhibition was a reminder of “20 amazing years”.

Broomsticks, wands, crystal balls and a tombstone are going on show at the British Library in its highly-anticipated Harry Potter exhibition.

Harry Potter: A History Of Magic has sold more than 30,000 tickets, breaking records for advance sales at the British Library.

Items from author JK Rowling’s own archives, which she picked out personally – including handwritten drafts of chapters from her famous stories, will be on display for the first time.

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A visitor looks at a crystal ball at the British Library (Victoria Jones/PA)

Highlights include an annotated sketch of Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft And Wizardry by Rowling, complete with the giant squid that lives in the lake.

The exhibition also features an eight-year-old’s written response to the first few chapters of Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, when Rowling had been rejected by eight publishers.

The eight-year-old, the daughter of Bloomsbury’s chief executive, wrote: “The excitement in this book made me feel warm inside. I think it is possibly one of the best books an eight/nine year-old could read.”

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The book was officially accepted by Bloomsbury the following day, becoming the most successful venture in children’s publishing history.

Other objects include pages from a draft of Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince, annotated by Rowling and her editor, complete with the words “could cut”.

The oldest items in the British Library’s collection, the Chinese Oracle bones, engraved for a divination ritual over 3,000 years ago, will be on display.

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JK Rowling

Potter fans will be able to see Rowling’s handwritten list of teachers and subjects at Hogwarts and paintings and sketches of Harry Potter, the Hogwarts Express, Dumbledore and Hagrid by Jim Kay.

The exhibition explores the tradition of folklore and mythology which Rowling drew on, but admits she “took liberties with to suit my plot”, from across the globe.

Rowling praised the Library, saying it had 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 20 amazing years since Harry was first published,” she said.

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Chinese Oracle bones in the exhibition (Tim Ireland/AP)

Objects on show include the tombstone of Nicolas Flamel, a real historical figure who features in Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, a cauldron, thought to be almost 3,000 years old, and a broomstick owned by a 20th Century witch.

An 18th Century object purported to be a mermaid, a witch’s “black moon crystal ball”, an early written record of “abracadabra” – used as a charm to cure malaria, and a 400-year-old celestial globe, will also be on show.

Curators said the Harry Potter books were a “springboard to explore the history of magic” in the exhibition.

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Julian Harrison said: “We’ve loved discovering the magical traditions that lie behind the Harry Potter books, and we’ve encountered so many amazing artefacts along the way.

“The exhibition takes visitors on a fascinating journey through the history of magic – from mermaids to crystal balls, from broomsticks to garden gnomes. It’s been enormous fun choosing the exhibits.”

The exhibition celebrates the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, the first of the books in the boy wizard series, and runs from October 20, 2017 until February 28, 2018.

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