Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Harry Potter: A History of Magic” as Want to Read:
Harry Potter: A History of Magic
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Harry Potter: A History of Magic

(Harry Potter: A History of Magic Exhibition)

by
4.22  ·  Rating details ·  11,248 ratings  ·  606 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published October 20th 2017 by Bloomsbury
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Harry Potter, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Dawnie As the other two have already said, this is a more detail version of the exhibition, the other one is more or less a summary going over the most…moreAs the other two have already said, this is a more detail version of the exhibition, the other one is more or less a summary going over the most interesting -more Rowling and specific Potter related- informations while this book goes more into the actual history of magical elements. So if you just want Rowling's infos? read the other one. Want more info about general magical history in our world and how Rowling was inspired by some of those things, read this one. Hope that helped :)(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,248 ratings  ·  606 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Harry Potter: A History of Magic
Mohammed Arabey
Aug 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Finally, my copy is on the way to Egypt..

As huge Potterhead, I always admire how close The Harry Potter Series is to our Real World.

In Egypt we've this saying; No Smoke Without Fire...and this magnificent work of literature has many references to exotic, magical, strange and fantastic subjects, artefacts, creatures and even History..

And it doesn't seems all just a work of fantasy.. it feels like it has Roots in real life..

Elixir of Life, dragon's blood, mandrake roots, painted centaurs from old
...more
Trish
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of the very first Harry Potter book. Who would have thought that a fantasy story for kids would become such a world-wide phenomenon? Certainly not the numerous publishers who turned J.K. Rowling down. *lol*

In honour of the event, the British Library is hosting an exhibition called Harry Potter: A History of Magic and this book basically is a summary of the exhibition for all those who cannot go (or don't want to ever forget).

The exhibition
...more
Jason
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fyi-books
Must-read for any Harry Potter obsessed person, like myself.

This book is filled with a bunch of really neat information on the history of magic/witchcraft and provides insights into where JK Rowling drew inspiration for a lot of the things we see in Harry Potter.

I have been waiting for something like this for years. My only criticism: I WANT MORE! I could literally sit down with thousands of pages of JK Rowling's private documents from her early days of planning HP and never get bored.

This
...more
Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ Rabid Reads-no-more
Have you guys seen this? B/c I had not.

description

But all it took was reading the description for me preorder the shit out of it. #bookdespositoryFTW

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
...more
leynes
Nov 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Well, this didn't necessarily turn out as planned. Harry Potter: A History of Magic promises to showcase the magical traditions that lie at the heart of Harry Potter's world. I'm not really sure if this catalogue lives up to its claim.

Personally, I would've preferred it if this book had really looked into all of those myths, creatures and people that inspired J.K. Rowling. It would have been such an enrichment if the curators would have tied these traditions to what is written in Potter rather
...more
David Schaafsma
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: harry-potter
We had to wait several months to get this from the library and now aim to own it. A large and gorgeous hardback, 250 pages, full glossy color "coffee table" and collectible feast of Potter world, focused obviously on magic in the series, curated and wonderfully produced by no less than the British Library in commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the publication of the first Harry Potter volume, in conjunction with an exhibition there I will never see, boo hoo.

Read Trish and Mohammed
...more
Andrew
Feb 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a fascinating book which yes does draw on the Harry Potter name but is far far more than that.

You see the British Library has a long history of publishing supporting books for their larger exhibitions. They are far more than simply tour guides, representing further reading and expanded articles in the exhibit. In other words you can enjoy the book without having set foot inside the building. This has very much been the case in the books on science fiction and comics and graphic novels.
...more
Veronique
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, r2017
description

If you are a Potter fan, then youll have heard of this amazing exhibition that the British Library has put together to celebrate the 20 years since the first publication of book 1. It is unreal to think that before then, we didnt have this fascinating world that has charmed everyone. This is also the first time the BL have exhibited an author who is still very much alive :0)

description

Rowling did inspire herself from myths and many texts, which can be seen here, as well as a wealth of documents and items
...more
Ryan Buckby
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a highly recommend book for any harry potter fan

As i don't see myself going to the exhibition anytime soon this book was a great way to see and learn more about the harry potter world.

I just had to buy this book and have it for my collection and i just loved reading through the book to see all the different drawings, pictures etc because this series has been with me for over 10 years now and i will never get enough of it.

If you love harry potter i would highly recommend you check this
...more
K.
Trigger warnings: witch burnings?? Look, it's a nonfiction book full of medieval artworks that relate to the Hogwarts subjects. There's not really much that's triggering.

This book is absolutely STUNNING and now I'm sadder than ever that I didn't get to go to the exhibition. It not only provides an excellent background in a literal history of magic, with essays from relevant experts for each chapter (i.e. an astronaut for Astronomy, a priest for Defence Against the Dark Arts) tying that
...more
Ian D
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great companion book and wonderful insight into the magic world of J.K. Rowling, full of useful information on the science that lies beneath the wizarding world with detailed illustrations to match.
A must read for Potterheads and Muggles alike.
Tisha
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
The very first thing I have to say is if you are a Potterhead, do read this book. Its so beautiful that it would definitely leave you spellbound!

Well, I had the opportunity to take this book in my hands and stare at it for a while. But it was super expensive and I couldnt buy it and it made me utterly sad! However, I found the ebook somehow and didnt spare the chance to read it of course. The ebook itself has left me mesmerized in such a way that I am wondering what would have happened if I
...more
Kaitlin
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I absolutely loved this non-fiction book which combines our world history of magic and the history told in HP. A lot of what Rowling used for inspiration comes from our world, and this book is a great example of so many of the ideas. I found myself pulled through this easily and read it in a day, but it's a great coffee table book too and one I think that many would find really interesting. 4.5*s
ambsreads
i couldnt help myself. it was sitting on my shelf looking so sad and desperately wanting me to read it. ...more
Rikke
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was fortunate enough to visit the Harry Potter exhibition at British Library in its opening week in October. It was such a wonderful experience; I stood in awe and looked at Rowling's manuscripts, drawings and schedules; I gazed longingly at Jim Kay's detailed drawings and paintings; and I gasped when I saw the mutated body of a supposed merman (?) and a rumored witch's cauldron from the 16th century.

I cannot recommend the exhibition highly enough. If you're in the area and if you love Harry
...more
Annemieke / A Dance with Books
I'm kind of glad I didn't buy this and borrowed it from the library *ducks* I had higher expectations of the promised tie into our history/mythology from Harry Potter. Most of it was superficial.
Amanda
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Such a beautiful book with such lovely information. This makes me less sad I missed the exhibition and reminds me of the adorable hour long video that showcases the exhibition. This book might be better than the exhibition because I can enjoy the artifacts in my pajamas!
Nadine
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Required reading for every Harry Potter fan! I originally picked this up after skimming through it at the bookstore and seeing images of drafts and annotations of the original books, so I had to buy it. This book is the written equivalent of walking through the British Library's actual museum Harry Potter: A History of Magic. It focuses heavily on the historical precedents for everything found in the series by filtering it through the various school subjects Harry, Ron, and Hermione take. I ...more
Mehsi
A gorgeous book that will take you through the Harry Potter: A History of Magic Exhibition.

I have had this book in my collection since 2017 (Christmas), but didn't want to read it just yet as I was about to visit the Harry Potter: A History of Magic Exhibition in London on my birthday, or well, I hoped so, my now hubby was keeping very tight lipped about it. Just saying we were going to London for my birthday, which was already a big enough present! And then we went to the exhibition, on my
...more
Hafsa Sabira
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
A History of Magic is exactly like the title suggests. It is an encyclopedia of all the references of magical elements, remarkable names, objects in the Harry Potter series. For a true fan of the HP series, this is like a gold mine that has all the good bits of information along with tons of vibrant and colourful pictures. It also includes many manuscripts, letters and many other HP related objects that belong to the author J.K.Rowling.

While personally I found a few chapters a bit too tedius, it
...more
Lindsay Nixon
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The only way I can describe this book is to say it was like walking around a Harry Potter museum. Or maybe NatGeo meets HP.

I have never dragged a book out so long in my life. From the moment it came out, I reserved a chapter per week, sometimes re-listening to the same chapter several times. I'll cherish this book over, and over, and over again. The audio is the way to go!
Esmeralda
Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Don't take my rating too serious, I don't think this is the kind of book to rate. It's a fun read, nice add for all the potterheads. Great art, fun little facts. I'm glad I have this book in my HP collection.
Aimee
Jan 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of Harry Potter: A History of Magic from Bloomsbury Australia to review.

I read a copy of Harry Potter: A Journey Through a History of Magic last year and even though I liked it, I felt like the target audience was families and children. If you want to check out my review of that edition you can here. But this edition definitely has a lot more information and is targeted toward older readers.

I havent been to the exhibition, even though Id love to, so I cant say if all of what
...more
Sara
Aug 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-non-fiction
BOOKTUBEATHON 2018 - Challenge #6 Read a book with a beautiful spine.

What is there to say?! I absolutely loved it and wished I could have gone to the exhibition....
Savanna (savbeebooks)
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I found this book accidentally when I was looking for Harry Potter audiobooks. And I'm so glad I did! It was an interesting audiobook that explored more about real life magic. It was really interesting to hear where certain aspects of magic came from and more into where J.K Rowling got her inspiration.

The audiobook was broken up into different "classes", same as if you were actually attending Hogwarts: Care of Magical Creatures, Defense Against The Dark Arts, Potions and Alchemy, Divination,
...more
Catherine Ryan
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A excellent companion-book to the wonderful Harry Potter series, full of information about how J K Rowling got the inspiration to create the magical world of Harry Potter. The closest I'll get to the British Museum in London, by reading all about it! :-)
Hâf
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I listened to the audiobook of this book and it was brilliant! The insights of various historians entwined with the personal experience of people who worked on the novels and audio books was incredibly insightful and educational. The research that has gone into this exhibition and then poured into the book is unending. I appreciate every minute it took the team who collaborated with various museums and organisations to pull this off. Harry Potter will always be a part of my life and learning a ...more
Sam (she_who_reads_)
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was so much fun! A great deep dive into the history of magic, both in the real world, and in the fictional world of Harry Potter. It did make me super sad I couldnt see all this incredible stuff for myself, but seeing it in print and being able to read about it was the next best thing I guess! My favourite part was the glimpses at early drafts of the books and seeing how the story had evolved, especially with how book one was originally done! Highly recommend for Harry Potter fans- a great ...more
John
Jan 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2020
Enjoyable but a little dry. I appreciated some of the additional insights to the HP world.
Lauren Paletta
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Please add details 3 17 Oct 15, 2018 05:46AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - Makers, Mysteries and Magic
  • Harry Potter: the Character Vault
  • Harry Potter: A Journey Through Charms and Defence Against the Dark Arts (Harry Potter: A Journey Through, #1)
  • The Harry Potter Collection 1-4 (Harry Potter, #1-4)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Hogwarts Library)
  • The Case of Beasts: Explore the Film Wizardry of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • Quidditch Through the Ages (Hogwarts Library)
  • Inside the Magic: The Making of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  • 636 Harry Potter Spells, Facts And Trivia - The Ultimate Wizard Training Guide For Magic (Unofficial Guide Book 4)
  • Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists (Pottermore Presents, #2)
  • Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide (Pottermore Presents, #3)
  • Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies (Pottermore Presents, #1)
  • The Harry Potter trilogy (Harry Potter, #1-3)
  • Harry Potter: The Wand Collection
  • Harry Potter: A Journey Through Potions and Herbology (Harry Potter: A Journey Through, #2)
  • Harry Potter: A Journey Through Divination and Astronomy (Harry Potter: A Journey Through, #3)
  • Fantastic Beasts - The Crimes of Grindelwald: The Original Screenplay
  • Harry Potter: A Journey Through Care of Magical Creatures (Harry Potter: A Journey Through, #4)
See similar books…
59 followers
The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and a major research library. It is the world's largest library in terms of total number of items, holding over 150 million of them from many countries, in many languages and in many formats. The Library's collections include around 14 million books (second only to the United States' Library of Congress), along with substantial ...more

Other books in the series

Harry Potter: A History of Magic Exhibition (2 books)
  • Harry Potter: A Journey Through A History of Magic

Related Articles

"Stay calm and read on" might be our collective slogan for the coming months. Since we all might need some help with that, we asked Goodreads m...
141 likes · 142 comments