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Harry Potter’s World, right on our doorstep

harry potter's world posterAs you may have surmised if you keep up with the Horn Book, there are quite a few Harry Potter fans among us. So when we saw that our host campus, Simmons College, had a Harry Potter exhibit in its Beatley Library, we knew we had to stop by.

This traveling National Library of Medicine exhibit, entitled “Harry Potter’s World,” focuses on some of the influences on J. K. Rowling’s world-building, from alchemy to unicorn lore. We learned a bit about the real Nicolas Flamel, about the plants used in Herbology (mandrakes are real, but they don’t scream), and about historical views on the occult. Intern Jess and I, both die-hard Princess Bride fans, were excited to learn that wizard trading card figure Agrippa was a real-life sixteenth-century occultist — he was, after all, also the inventor of one of Inigo Montoya’s fencing moves.

harry potter's world alchemy

harry potter's world herbology

The exhibit also featured a Golden Snitch, and, perhaps most impressively, a “Reading Harry Potter” miniature display by professor Karen Teeley.

harry potter's world snitch

harry potter's world miniature

The exhibit is accompanied by presentations by students and faculty: “He Lives! Children’s Literature before & after Harry Potter” which took place on March 2nd, featuring several of our reviewers and former interns; and “Recovery without Magic: Muggle Strategies for Coping with Traumatic Events” happening at 4 pm this afternoon, March 15th. The associated “Dobby’s Sock Drive” clothing drive benefits women’s shelter Rosie’s Place.

My biggest takeaway from the exhibit? We moved to the the right campus.

Shoshana Flax About Shoshana Flax

Shoshana Flax, assistant editor for The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons College. She is a member of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee.

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