In “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”, Ron and Harry play a magical game of chess, in which the pieces move according to a voice command. These stair pieces are inspired by a very original and ancient creation.
In the first part of the Harry Potter saga staged by Chris Columbus, Ron and Harry are in the Great Hall of Hogwarts, playing part of the chess magician. A magical chess game, in which the pieces move on their own according to the semantics of the voice command. When the opponent’s piece is captured, it is unceremoniously removed by the attacker; Literally smashed in fact.
A memorial sequence, to review below, in which the Queen crashes into the Red Knight…
You may not know it, but these chess pieces are honest reproductions of very famous chess pieces and above all, they are called Lewis statues. Discovered in 1831 in Uig Bay on the Isle of Lewis, it is one of the Hebrides in Scotland, these pieces date back to the twelfth century! The pieces were probably Scandinavian made, and nearly all of the pieces in the collection (93 total, including 78 chess pieces) are carved from walrus ivory, and some are made from whale teeth. The pieces in this game were separated at a discount, and the British Museum purchased 67 pieces and 14 pawns.
If the set of parts Ron and Harry used in the movie is a copy, it’s not just a copy! This is Irving Finkel’s personal game. The Assistant at the British Museum in Ancient Mesopotamian Writings and Specialist in Cuneiform in the Middle East Department, the Septuagint also studies the history of board games.
The geeky and humorous party recounts in a video the origin of these famous pieces, but also how, year after year, he bought his own pieces to make a complete game. Especially how he found himself lending a game of chess to the production of the film.
She was looking for a chess game for this line. Then head and costume designer Giudiana Makovsky went to the British Museum to get a replica of these Louis statues. She was in a familiar spot elsewhere within the museum: her father and grandfather were already the keepers of this museum!
But she was soon disappointed: there was no replica on sale in the museum’s souvenir shop. So she had the idea to contact Irving Finkel, to ask him if he would agree to lend his chess game.
Watch the video below. It is still aimed at most English speakers among you, even if English translation is available:
“Tv geek. Certified beer fanatic. Extreme zombie fan. Web aficionado. Food nerd. Coffee junkie.”