Guys, we never got our Hogwarts letter but we may have just received
the next best thing. We have been invited
by Google Arts & Culture and the British Library in London. The library has curated
an incredible exhibit called Harry Potter: A History of Magic. Now, not only did we get to visit the
exhibition but we also had the chance to meet one of the masterminds
behind the project, Julian Harrison. He’ll be giving us some lessons in
Muggle magic where we’ll discover some of the connections between
Harry Potter and the history of magic. Guys, I am really pleased to see
both of you here today and I am gonna love
talking magic with you. Well, we always love talking magic. Lesson One: Dark Arts – How to Survive a Basilisk Bite. In the Harry Potter books the
largest snake is actually the Basilisk. Do snakes in real life commonly,
are they associated with darkness in the same way that
they are in the books? Well in real life snakes represent
the duality between good and evil. Between darkness and light. You know, of course,
that snakes have one incredible quality, they can actually shed their skins. So they effectively are reborn
every now and then. Now Basilisks actually have
a long historical tradition and you know of course that a
Basilisk can kill you with its stare. It could also kill you with its venom. There is a great antidote to poison
and that is also featured in the Harry Potter books,
and that of course is a bezoar stone, and I’ve actually got a real bezoar stone.
This little beauty… Wow, look at this…
…has passed through the guts of a llama, no less. So in Harry Potter
it’s typically through a goat, but I didn’t know they were real.
Does this work? The King of France’s cook was sentenced
to death and they said to him instead of being executed,
we would make you swallow some poison and then we give you a bezoar stone
to see whether that works. Guess what happened to him?
He totally survived. He died. It’s based on an actual belief
but not based on actual results. Would you want to swallow
a llama’s stone? I’m just remembering now
that this was in fact inside of a llama, so I might just give this back to you. Lesson Two: Magical Creatures – How to Spot a Real Mermaid The other thing you guys have
on the exhibit is an actual mermaid. I’m really excited by this.
It was a really cool piece! Yeah and it more closely resembles
like how they are described in the books. Yeah, they are not necessarily
these beautiful creatures, this would not be something you’d be
excited to run into in the Great Lake. When I think ‘mermaids’
this is not what I think. I hate to tell you but this is actually
an 18th century forgery. It’s made in Japan, and it’s made out of
the head and torso of a monkey and the tail of a fish. Lesson Three: Potions – The Secret of Immortality Did you know that Nicholas Flamel
is actually a real person and he’s believed to have invented
the philosopher’s stone? Um, yes Ben, I did actually know that.
Of course you did. But what I’d like to show you now
is a manuscript in the exhibition which actually tells you how to make
your own philosopher’s stone. So we actually have the recipe? It’s called the Ripley Scroll, it’s made
around the year 1600, about 400 years ago, and it measures 6 meters long. If we actually follow through
right to the end we gain the power to become immortal
so it’s worth having a go, isn’t it? Lesson Four: Herbology – Harvesting Mandrakes Of course you’ve heard of a mandrake,
haven’t you, in the Harry Potter stories? Yes, absolutely.
But did you know that the mandrake is actually a plant in real life?
I did not know that. This is from a 14th century manuscript,
made in Baghdad, it’s written in Arabic and it shows you what were believed
to be two different sexes of mandrakes. So you have the Mandrake
and the Wo-mandrake. Yeah, maybe not. We’ve actually brought one
along to show you today. This right here? We have a mandrake that has been
sitting next to me this whole time? A little bit dangerous.
It’s not a real mandrake because they are very hard to come by
so we brought you a stunt mandrake today. I feel much better about that. Well now the important part
about the mandrake is the scream. Oh sure, it was always believed that when
you pulled a mandrake out of the ground its scream would either prove fatal
to you or it would drive you mad. Oh wow, so that’s actually fairly in
keeping with what we see in the books. That’s right, yes,
so should we go ahead and pull it out? We are a hundred percent sure that
this isn’t… I think we should just wear some ear muffs just to be safe here.
Can never be too cautious. Right, yes, safety first.
Yeah, let’s just do it. All right, you guys ready? 3, 2, 1! O.W.L.: The Battle of the Brothers You guys obviously know
a lot about Harry Potter We’ve put together a quiz to test your
knowledge about the history of magic. Bring it on.
Let’s totally do it. Game on. Which item in the British Library
exhibition was allegedly found being used as a chopping board? Nicolas Flamel’s gravestone. Correct. The best bezoar stones are found in the
stomachs of which hoofed animal? A goat. I’ll accept that,
the correct answer is the bezoar goat On the board! Which is the brightest star
in the night sky? The north star? Incorrect.
The correct answer is Sirius. A mole on what part of the human anatomy,
denotes honour to a man and riches to a woman? Chin. The buttock.
My next guess. What is the name of the three-headed dog… Cerberus.
According to the ancient Greeks … Historically which animal would you use
when harvesting a Mandrake? A dog.
A weasel. Nine days.
That’s the correct answer. I can exclusively reveal that
the winner of today’s quiz is: J!
Yes, yes! Knew it! Slytherin for the win.
I will get you next time. We’ll see about that,
we’ll see about that. Julian, thank you so much for joining us
today and just like walking through all of these great items
provided in the background, it has been a pleasure having you.
It’s been my pleasure too, thank you. Yes, it has been amazing, and guys I
highly recommend that you go and check out the highlights of the exhibit online. We have been the Super Carlin Brothers and
I will see you in another life, brother.