Last week I was invited to a special event down in Oxford, A Discovery of Witches, to a special screening of the first episode of the new series, and I couldn’t wait to find out more!
The event was held at Waterstones Book Shop and, after a mad dash from the station, I made it to the event in time to see queues of people lining the street waiting to meet novelist Deborah Harkness and Teresa Palmer, the actress who plays the leading role of Diana.
I’ll be honest with you, I was completely unaware of A Discovery of Witches and yet after meeting some of the fans I soon realised that this was a big deal!! It was lovely to meet Teresa Palmer, an Australian actress who plays the main role of Diana Bishop. She was so friendly and down to earth, not to mention incredibly beautiful.
Next it was time to be tested in the “Lab” where, after a mouth swab and a series of short questions, we discovered if we were human, a witch, a vampire or a demon. It turns out that I am a witch!!
Whilst Deborah Harkness met her adoring fans and signed copies of A Discovery of Witches, the first of her All Souls trilogy, we walked over to the Ashmolean Museum to visit the new Spellbound Exhibition, open to the public until 6th January.
I am fascinated by witchcraft, particularly when it comes to our ancestors and their use of magical thinking to cope with the unpredictable world around them. The exhibition was incredible, with both fantastical and macabre items to view, as well as the original copy of The Discovery of Witches by Matthew Hopkins from 1647.
Unfortunately photography wasn’t allowed in the majority of the exhibition but I definitely recommend a visit. One of the exhibits we were allowed to take photographs of was this chair where suspected witches would sit and, if they weighed more than two Bibles, they would be deemed a witch and executed.
I could have wandered around the exhibition all night looking at the weird and wonderful things on display, but we were soon ushered into a private room ready to watch the first episode of A Discovery of Witches.
As we all sat down and tucked into our popcorn, Deborah Harkness introduced the show and it was lovely to see how much it meant to her to see her work in motion. The room went completely silent as the show started and, as the music kicked in, I felt myself getting goosebumps!
Unlike shows such as Twilight, I instantly related to A Discovery of Witches, set in a city that I know and love, with landmarks we could all recognise. There is something so magical about Oxford and the architecture and history, that it really is the most perfect setting for a story such as this.
I won’t give away too much of the plot but A Discovery of Witches is very much a love story where two characters are torn between their love for each other and what is expected of them by others. Teresa is the perfect choice for the role of Diana playing opposite her love interest, Matthew Goode, and the way in which the series is shot is just breathtakingly beautiful in parts.
As the first episode ended the entire room broke into applause and I found myself wanting to carry on watching to find out what happens next! Thankfully the first episode airs this Friday 14th September, at 9pm, on SKYONE and I can’t wait. Gaz is a huge fan of this genre of tv and film so I just know that he is going to love it, and Lewis too. I can see A Discovery of Witches becoming a huge part of our Friday nights!
Afterwards we all got to speak with Deborah Harkness again to congratulate her on the show, and she gave each of us a signed copy of the book which I can’t wait to read.
It was such a great event and I am so looking forward to Friday when I get to see it all over again. Will you be watching?
** I was invited to this event by SKYONE and compensated for my time **