In late 2017, the British Library started an exhibition around the creation of Harry Potter. In order to promote it, a series of lectures revolving around subjects on the Hogwarts Curriculum were set up. I decided to go to a few as I’m interested in these subjects and to see how these subjects correspond to our world. And of course, I had to visit the exhibition!
13th January 2018-A History of Magic with Irving Finkel
This was the first lecture I attended and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I’ve always been interested in magic in our world and especially in now-lost civilisations, so to find out the lecture was about magical practices in ancient Mesopotamia was really exciting for me. However, I was disappointed. While I was interested in the subject matter, the information presented was good but I could not quite follow the speaker. He was obviously very intelligent and he was funny, but he was almost not coherent at times. I left quite disappointed and not excited about my next talk.
22nd January 2018-Defence Against the Dark Arts with Christopher Frayling
After being somewhat disappointed with the earlier talk I had gone to, I wasn’t holding out a lot of hope for this talk. However, I was completely wrong. The speaker, Christopher Frayling was not only coherent and linear in his talk, but he was also funny and made the talk personal. I felt like I could follow the talk a lot easier, and enjoyed learning the information provided from another point of view. I was actually quite inspired by this talk, and was very happy I had come.
15th February 2018-Divination with Marc Salem
The last talk I went to was the actual last scheduled talk, and it turned out better than I expected. Hosted by mentalist Marc Salem, it focused on non-verbal communication and ‘mind-reading’. Salem was a very personable speaker and was very funny, which sort of put me at ease although I was terrified he was going to pick on me! The talk was very entertaining and I learnt a lot, but unfortunately as it overran I had to leave.
Harry Potter: A History of Magic
I actually went to see this before my Defence Against the Dark Arts talk and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I had watched the programme affiliated with the exhibition a month before going, and while I enjoyed the programme, I didn’t see how a simple exhibition could match up with it.
I was wrong. The exhibition was incredible. Every section was themed around a Hogwarts lecture and the level of detail that had gone into the theming and decoration was incredible. The exhibits were well placed and it was very informative. I was very impressed!
While I didn’t think that all of the talks were great, I really enjoyed this programme of events, and thought it was a really great way to increase visits to the British Library, a suspicion that was confirmed when I found out it was their bestselling exhibition ever! The exhibition itself was magical, and I’m so glad I got the chance to go.
Did you get the chance to visit the Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition?