In “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”, Ron and Harry play a game of magic chess, where pieces move according to voice order. These tray making pieces are inspired by an authentic and very old creation.
In the first installment of the Harry Potter saga by Chris Columbus, Ron and Harry are in the Great Hall of Hogwarts, attending magician chess, A magical game of chess in which the pieces move automatically as prompted by a voice command. When an opponent’s piece is captured, it is unintentionally cleared by its attacker; Really really broke.
Souvenir sequence, to review below, where the Queen, in red, stuns the knight…
You may not know it, but these chess pieces are a faithful reproduction of the very famous and all authentic chess pieces, called Lewis figurines. Discovered in 1831 at Uig Bay on the Isle of Lewis, one of the Hebrides in ScotlandThese pieces are from the 12th century! Possibly Scandinavian made, nearly all of the pieces in the collection (including 93,78 chess pieces in total) are carved from walrus ivory, and some are made from whale teeth. The pieces of the game fell apart at a sale, and the British Museum purchased 67 pieces and 14 pawns.
If the set of Ron and Harry parts used in the movie is a copy, it’s just not a copy! This is the personal game of Irving Finkel. Assistant at the British Museum in the Writings of Ancient Mesopotamia, a specialist in cuneiform in the Department of the Middle East, also studies the history of the septuagenarian board game.
The interested party is full of fun and humor in a video about the origins of these famous pieces, but also how he, year after year, bought his own pieces to make a complete game. And especially how he found himself lending his game of chess to the making of the film.
She was looking for a game of chess for this streak. The head and costume designer, Judiana Makowski, then went to the British Museum to obtain a replica of these Lewis sculptures. She was in a familiar place somewhere else within the museum: her father and grandfather were actually custodians of this museum!
But he quickly became disillusioned: there were no replicas for sale in the museum’s souvenir shop. So he got the idea to approach Irving Finkel, to ask if he would agree to lend him his personal chess game.
Watch the video below. It’s still aimed at the most English-speaking people among you, even though English subtitles are available:
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