Dear Mummy, you were lucky enough to visit Oxford recently for a special TV screening and book signing of A Discovery of Witches. It is a brand new supernatural drama that’s due to start on Sky One this autumn (14.09.18 at 9pm) and based on a trilogy of novels called All Souls by American author Deborah Harkness.
Comparisons of the book have been made between other popular fantasy series, namely Twilight and Harry Potter and my mummy couldn’t wait to meet the author, Deborah Harkness and the lead actress, Teresa Palmer of the new TV adaptation, to find out more.
The plot of A Discovery of Witches
Without giving too much away A Discovery of Witches follows a historian and reluctant witch whose life is changed when she discovers a magical manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. The lost manuscript causes a magical reaction in herself and attracts the attention of others who have long been searching for the book, the Ashmole 782. She finds that for her own safety, and for the well-being of all magical creatures, she must re-think her avoidance of magic and embrace it.
The official synopsis from Sky One reads: “A Discovery of Witches is a contemporary love story set against the backdrop of Oxford academic life, but in a world where a handful of witches, vampires and daemons live and work unseen amongst humans, hiding in plain sight.” Yes, it is a love story based on forbidden love. Very similar to Twilight but just more grown-up, perfect for my mummy.
Filming locations of A Discovery of Witches
My mummy visited the city and can see why it was a perfect fit for the novel and the show. It certainly is a creepy place, full of history and mystery. Walking around Oxford before the book signing at Waterstones was eye-opening and the city is full of cobbled streets, large imposing wooden doors which lead to courtyards and gothic architecture.
My mummy is just starting to read A Discovery of Witches and is really enjoying it, so can’t wait for the show on Sky One this Autumn. Now that she’s more familiar with Oxford, she found this YouTube video (A walking tour of Oxford for A Discovery of Witches) really interesting now that she can place the locations. You can find more information about the book and the show on the Deborah Harkness’ website.
Rain was looming as she explored the filming locations of the show and really added to the drama of her photographs. She found Waterstones by following the large queue of avid book readers waiting with umbrellas to get their books signed.
Meeting the author of A Discovery of Witches
Meeting Deborah Harkness was a real highlight for my mummy. Harkness has studied magic and the occult, which provided much of the inspiration for the novel and as a family we have a great interest in the subject. She was warm and friendly and made everyone feel at ease in her presence. She’s clearly passionate about her book and it comes across when she talks to her fans.
The DNA LAB at Waterstones Oxford
While the book signing was on at Waterstones, fans where also queuing up to get ‘tested’, not on their knowledge of the book but to see whether they were human or not! Highly trained geneticists tested my mummy’s DNA in their special
#ADOWlab as part of promotion for the show. It was a great activity and my mummy had it confirmed (what we knew all along) that she was a VAMPIRE! She was given her results in a folder and book bag along with some information about the show from some very animated professionals in white lab coats!
Check out our video to see highlights of the event.
IGTV – A Discovery Of Witches – Sky One Screening
The cast of A Discovery of Witches
My mummy had the pleasure of meeting Australian actress Teresa Palmer who plays the main character of the show, Diana Bishop. We’ve seen her before in the supernatural movie Warm Bodies and loved that film.
Sadly we missed actor Matthew Goode who plays Matthew Clairmont, the mysterious vampire in the story but loved his performance in the first episode. Other cast members include Game of Thrones actor Owen Teale as Peter Knox and Sherlock’s Louise Brealey as Gillian Chamberlain.
Spellbound Exhibition at The Ashmolean Museum
After the book signing my mummy and a handful of VIPs headed to the Ashmolean museum to explore Spellbound, a magical exhibition which traces the history of magic, from medieval to modern times, in 180 objects. It couldn’t be a better location for the Sky One screening of A Discovery of Witches. There were props from the show laid out for visitors to look at before heading into the halls.
She studied intriguing objects by browsing cabinets of curiosities showing how our ancestors used magical thinking to cope with the unpredictable world around them. The exhibition contained a number of talismans fashioned from precious stones and coral that were spellbinding and my mummy’s eyes lit up seeing the witches bottles and unicorn horns. The show spans 1,000 years of European history, with the oldest artefact being a 12th century ivory casket.
My mummy was most intrigued by the first exhibit, a silver bottle which was donated in 1915 to the Pitt Rivers Museum by an old woman in Sussex, but it was handed over with a warning: “They do say there be a witch in this and if you’re let un out there be a peck o’ trouble.”
My mummy even saw the original book of The Discovery of Witches (1647) by Matthew Hopkins, an English witch-hunter. Who was believed to have been responsible for the deaths of 300 women accused of being witches between the years 1644 and 1646. Shocking really and sad that many artefacts showcase the trails and tribulations during the hight of witch hunting.
Special thanks to this lovely gang! – @CardiffMummy @dear_mummy @dearbearandbean @fivelittledove5 @musingstiredmum 🧙♀️🔮 #ADiscoveryOfWitches #SpellboundExhibition #APremiereOfWitches pic.twitter.com/ORYtH0G5SS
— Ashmolean Museum (@AshmoleanMuseum) September 7, 2018
A 17th-century “witch balance” a black iron chair incorporating a balance holding a 2-volume bible for weighing suspected witches against the scriptures. Those heavier were deemed innocent, lighter than the gravitas of the scriptures and a nasty fate awaited you. It really was an enchanting show. Spellbound is on until 6 January at The Ashmolean Museum, Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2PH. Tickets cost £12.25 (£11.25 concessions)
Magical screening of the first episode of A Discovery of Witches
After getting stuck in the gift shop, yes she could have bought everything there, she was led to a drinks reception and a special screening of the first episode of A Discovery of Witches. After a lovely intro into the series from Deborah Harkness and Teresa Palmer everyone remained still as the lights dimmed for the screening in the museum. Laughter and gasps with a rip-roaring applause after an hour confirmed that it was well received by the audience.
My mummy left wanting to see more. The Sky Original production A Discovery of Witches will premiere on Friday, September 14 at 9pm make sure you stay tuned for the eight episodes. I feel this is going to be our new TV crush this autumn.
Love Bella x
Disclosure: Sponsored post. My mummy was invited to the Sky One A Discovery of Witches special screening in Oxford held at Waterstones and the Ashmolean museum. All magical DNA, photos and opinions are her own.
46 thoughts on “Spellbound at A Discovery of Witches Screening!”
Will it be airing in the US? I think I will start by reading the book.
Oxford does look like the perfect location. Glad you enjoyed the even.
I’ve heard about this book quite a bit! Will have to recommend it to my sister who is into all things ‘witchy’!
I’m really looking forward to this series, right up my street! I haven’t read the book yet so I’m wondering if I can squeeze it in before it starts. That might be a bit ambitious!
I really need to read this book! #bigpinklink
Oh WOW! This is right up my street – I love the sound of the book. A Vampire? I suspect I am one too! Kaz x
This is AMAZING! Been looking for a new book to read and you delivered it to me! So exciting!
this series isn’t something i’m usually interested in. that being said, it’s actually intriguing to me!
Ive never heard of this, it sounds great. Will have to see it when it’s on tv
I saw this booking signing at ashmolean and was intrigued, sounds like a lovely day out in Oxford.
Oh I think I read this book last year! I have definitely read the original version in the Ashmolean and was lucky enough to study there during my masters. I’ll definitely be watching the programme, if not just to see all my old haunts!
What a fun day! I am not familiar with the book or with the new series, but it does sound very interesting for people who enjoyed Harry Potter and Twilight. So cool that you got the meet the author!
This sounds like a really cool book!
Amazing. How lucky to be there. I can’t what to see it as it sounds like my type of series
Oh I love witch books & tv shows! Is this book more of a Young Adult book would you say?
This is super cool! I love witch books and would love to attend an event like this.
This is really cool and I love the sound of the book, I’ll need to keep my eyes open for it x
Ooh I’ve got this on series record, I’m really looking forward to it
What a great event to attend, looks lots of fun X #bigpinklink
What a lovely event. A Discovery of Witches sounds like an interesting book.
I’m not sure if the series would really be my kinda thing – I’m not into fantasy books or films/TV shows. But it sounds like you had a blast at the event 🙂 x
I love shows like this and will look out for it when it comes on TV
I’m coming back through with #GlobalBlogging
Okay, you’ve convinced me! I just put this book on my to-buy list. I’ve heard of it and thought about getting it before but didn’t. Now after reading your post, I have to get this book! #GlobalBlogging
Ooooh this looks like it was all kinds of fun! I will be looking out for this, in both the bookshops & when it comes on TV!
This sounds like such an amazing book and series and just up my street, I’ll be tuning in for sure. And next time we meet at a festival, I’ll be a little more wary around Mummy now I know that she’s really a creature of the night! And she seemed so nice and friendly last time! Thanks for linking up to the #bigpinklink this week.
I need to read this book! I love the sound of it 🙂 Great photos also. Thank you so much for sharing 🙂
I’m looking forward to this coming on Sky 1! It sounds right up my street 🙂
It’s on again tonight at 9pm in the UK every Friday for 8 weeks! Definitely worth a watch!
this sounds like a book that could hook me in with just the first page! thanks for the great review and recommendation
Thanks for popping by!
This sounds like it’s right up my alley. What a great way to spend a day. What was your favourite part? The genetic testing sound like it would be so much fun to try!
Our favourite part was discovering Oxford and meeting the author! It was a great setting for the preview screening too!
This looks perfect for the Halloween season! Will it be coming out in the United States at the same time?
Not at the same time unfortunately as it just looks to be airing in the UK this Autumn. I’m sure it will be streamed somewhere soon though… it’s too good a show not to!
I love a good witchy book! The plots, the twists, evil vs good, everything about them makes you fight Amazon to ensure you get the next book before it’s written! I’m glad you had an amazing time there and was able to meet the lovely and talented author!
Yes, we’re pleasantly surprised at the TV adaptation too 🙂
wow, this looks really good! hopefully I can catch it soon in time for halloween!
I love when books are adapted for TV! It’s exciting for a favorite book to become a movie, but you can never squeeze as many details into the movie. Shows are perfect because they can be hours and hours long and no one will mind!
This looks right up my alley. Will it be in the US?
It’s just airing in the UK at the moment so hopefully!
This looks like so much fun! It’s fun to scout out the different locations!
Wow, how amazing is this? You get the chance to meet the actors and do a book signing as well. Looks like such a great experience for you! I can’t wait to catch the show.
It seems as though everyone had a great time at the event. Loved the signing of the book. So sweet.
This is so good book! I loved it x