J.K. Rowling’s Original “Harry Potter” Synopsis Now on Display
Just in case you didn’t have enough reasons to want to go to the British Library’s new Harry Potter exhibit, Harry Potter: A History of Magic, another incredible piece of magical history has been revealed! The original Harry Potter synopsis that J.K. Rowling wrote in 1995 to introduce the young wizard to prospective publishers is now on display at the British Library, alongside many other pieces of Potter history and British Library treasures.
The first page of the synopsis is completely visible and can be read easily. It describes Harry’s life at the Dursleys’, Hagrid’s revelation about Harry’s past and identity, and Harry’s life at Hogwarts and his friendship with Ron and Hermione. The exhibition display describes Rowling’s attempts to find a publisher for her series, culminating with the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at Bloomsbury – partially in thanks to this very item!
See the full text of the synopsis page below:
Harry Potter lives with his aunt, uncle and cousin because his parents died in a car-crash — or so he has been told. The Dursleys don’t like Harry asking questions; in fact, they don’t seem to like anything about him, especially the very odd things that keep happening around him (which Harry himself can’t explain).
The Dursleys’ greatest fear is that Harry will discover the truth about himself, so when letters start arriving for him near his eleventh birthday, he isn’t allowed to read them. However, the Dursleys aren’t dealing with an ordinary postman, and at midnight on Harry’s birthday the gigantic Rubeus Hagrid breaks down the door to make sure Harry gets to read his post at last. Ignoring the horrified Dursleys, Hagrid informs Harry that he is a wizard, and the letter he gives Harry explains that he is expected at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in a month’s time.
To the Dursleys’ fury, Hagrid also reveals the truth about Harry’s past. Harry did not receive the scar on his forehead in a car-crash; it is really the mark of the great dark sorcerer Voldemort, who killed Harry’s mother and father but mysteriously couldn’t kill him, even though he was a baby at the time. Harry is famous among the witches and wizards who live in secret all over the country because Harry’s miraculous survival marked Voldemort’s downfall.
So Harry, who has never had friends or family worth the name, sets off for a new life in the wizarding world. He takes a trip to London with Hagrid to buy his Hogwarts equipment (robes, wand, cauldron, beginners’ draft and potion kit) and shortly afterwards, sets off for Hogwarts from Kings Cross Station (platform nine and three quarters) to follow in his parents’ footsteps.
Harry makes friends with Ronald Weasley (sixth in his family to go to Hogwarts and tired of having to use second-hand spellbooks) and Hermione Granger (cleverest girl in the year and the only person in the class to know all the uses of dragon’s blood). Together, they have their first lessons in magic — astronomy up on the tallest tower at two in the morning, herbology out in the greenhouses where the
We’d love to read the rest of this synopsis, and it would be amazing to see it in person! Will you be heading to London to see this document and the rest of the exhibit, or waiting until it gets to New York? Be sure to check out our review if you aren’t sure. This magical exhibit keeps sounding better and better!