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A History of Magic | Bloomsbury, J.K. Rowling and the British Library | Review

Harry Potter: A History of Magic is the official book of the exhibition, a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration between Bloomsbury, J.K. Rowling and the brilliant curators of the British Library. It promises to take readers on a fascinating journey through the subjects studied at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – from Alchemy and Potions classes through to Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures.
I can say with assurance that it does just that; it really is a fascinating journey.

What I loved about this book (created by Bloomsbury, J.K. Rowling and the British Library for the 20th anniversary in 2017) is that it combines everything Harry Potter and the world we all know and love, with the very real world we actually live in.

Chapters are dedicated to various subjects - Defence Against the Dark Arts, Divination, Charms etc - and they tell of real artifacts from the British museum that have been used for similar reasons. In the Divination chapter, for example, there are real charts of tea leaves and how to read them, as created and read by real people, not just Professor Trelawney.

There is information about mandrakes, dragon's blood, centaurs, broomsticks and cauldrons. The images are a mixture of photographs from the artifacts in the museum, illustrations from both Jim Kay and Olivia Lomenech Gill and their illustrated copies of Philosopher's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. There's also manuscripts from Rowling's drafts of the stories, and images she sketched out herself.

I learnt a lot when I read this book, about the incredible pieces in the museum, and how people actually used things like star charts and the study of plants in their actual lives. It's a fantastic combination of fiction and reality.

Have you had a look at A History of Magic? What did you think? 

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