After an acclaimed stop in London, the "Harry Potter: A History of Magic" exhibit has made it to New York.
It's now open in Manhattan's New York Historical Society. And it's an essential visit for any "Harry Potter" fan. It's also being released in conjunction with a book that features parts of the exhibit.
"A History of Magic" isn't just a collection of J.K. Rowling trivia and movie props. It situates "Harry Potter" in the tradition of global fantasy and magical literature. Curated by the British Library, it features centuries-old books, artwork, and artifacts from different countries about different magical traditions.
Here's what it's like inside.
In 2005, before the release of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," Scholastic allowed 9,000 libraries to get the first author-signed copy of the book in the US. It placed the book in this massive padlocked steamer trunk and sent it on a week-long voyage to New York, where it ultimately went to a library in North Carolina. The exhibit curators brought it back to New York for the display at the exhibit entrance.
You might miss them at first, but there are books suspended from the ceiling.
You can see the work of Jim Kay, Mary GrandPré, Kazu Kibuishi, and Brian Selznick, as well as interviews with them.
Nicolas Flamel was a French scholar and bookseller who lived in the 14th and 15th centuries making a fortune as a landlord. After his death in 1418, he acquired the reputation of an alchemist who managed to figure out how to make the Philosopher's Stone, granting him immortality. He plays an important role in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and will appear in "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald."
The real Flamel was buried in the Church of Saint Jacques-de-la-Boucherie in Paris. The "History of Magic" exhibit has his actual tombstone. His body, though, is long gone - maybe he's still alive?
For years, fake versions of Flamel's alleged books with recipes for gold and immortality circulated throughout Europe.
It has illustrations of mandrakes from antique texts, and drawings of plants that appear in the "Harry Potter" series, like Devil's Tongue, which may have inspired Devil's Snare.
It's projected onto a table, but you can interact with it just by tapping on the projection. According to the cards, I'll have a lot going for me in the future. Cool!
Quidditch, of course, is essential to any "Harry Potter" exhibit.
You can see the hanger right through it.
Here, for example, is an unpublished pastel by Mary GrandPré of the Sorting Hat process.
You can see it in its full glory, unadorned by typography.
Rowling's notes and drafts are probably what fans would appreciate the most.
The exhibit also includes a discarded few pages from "The Sorcerer's Stone" where a Dursley family member, then known as Didsbury, meets Cornelius Fudge, who's the muggle prime minister. Elsewhere, there's a version of a scene in "Hary Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" where Harry and Ron crash into the lake and are rescued by Merpeople instead of flying into the Whomping Willow.
There's also a handwritten draft of the "escape from Gringotts" scene from "Deathly Hallows" that illustrates Rowling's rush to get all the action on page, and organise the dialogue and details later. In another part of the exhibit, there's an enormous seven-page table plotting out every major event of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." She's impeccably organised.
For example, here's an illustration of a kappa, a sort of Japanese river demon, from a book published in 1855.
It's based on an original one, now in the British Museum, from around the year 100. Sphinxes had a role in the Triwizard Tournament in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."
It features the costumes designed for "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," which is also now in New York.
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