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We Watched The First Episode Of "A Discovery Of Witches" And It's Magical AF

All those beauty shots of Oxford.

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A Discovery Of Witches is a modern tale of ancient mythology, daemons, vampires, witches, and forbidden love, set in beautiful Oxford. James and I were lucky to get a sneak peak at the first episode, and here’s a roundup of our favourite and most ~magical~ moments.

Ayesha: Like many people, I’m obsessed with all things fantasy and magic. I mean, who doesn’t love consuming themselves in worlds where spells and magical beasts exist? So when I heard that a TV adaptation of A Discovery Of Witches by Deborah Harkness was coming to Sky One, I was pretty damn excited to check it out.

James: I’m mostly here for the vampires and lore. I wouldn’t describe myself as a fantasy fan, but I do love it when a story weaves the fantastic into history. My layman’s premise for A Discovery Of Witches is: a witch and a vampire, who are Oxford scholars, discover a dangerous ancient tome that threatens the world. WHICH IS DOPE. To me, imagining vampires or witches played a hidden but integral role in the Crusades or the Black Plague or WWII is just cool as hell. I guess history, and especially ancient history, is somewhat mysterious to us in the modern age, and so it feels somehow reasonable to imagine that daemons or vampires did play a part in those events. Prove to me it’s not real. I’ll wait.

1. Diana opens a manuscript and accidentally makes a bunch of weird things happen.

Ayesha: I mainly love this moment because we get to see the inner workings of the Bodleian Library right before it. The librarians communicate on literal scrolls and send them to each other via chutes. But I also love it because Diana, by complete accident, made every magical beast in the world go loco and didn’t even realise. #relatable

James: I was just waiting for sh*t to hit the fan, and this moment is it.

2. A vampire tries to sire his friend – and fails.

James: This moment was surprising and riveting. I did not see the vampire thing coming, but then I also didn’t understand why he didn’t successfully save him – until later in the episode!

Ayesha: I feel very smug about how I knew this guy was a vampire literally as soon as he appeared on screen: He just has that look.

3. Diana uses magic to keep all her work from flying away.

Ayesha: Big, powerful spells always hog the limelight, but what’s even cooler to me are the random, everyday annoyances you could banish if you could perform magic. Diana was able to prevent her essay flying away just like that. Pretty handy.

4. Matthew experiences intense bloodlust but doesn't act on it.

Ayesha: I loved this scene because we finally start to peer behind the curtain of Matthew’s mysterious character – and we know he’s mysterious because he’s always lurking behind corners and stuff. He’s clearly a complicated guy, and here we see his desire to do the right thing battle with his primal urge to kill. I’m a sucker for angst, and Matthew’s full of it.

James: I’m going to be honest: Immediately I suspected these two were going to hook up. This bloodlust thing is basically like him wanting to feed on her, which is vampire horniness (right?).

5. A witch conjures a huge ring of fire to kill her would-be attacker.

James: Ayesha liked the book thing, but tbh that magic was not cool enough for my taste. I don’t want to see a wizard repair eye glasses; I want to see some lvl 80 doomsday black magic. This was my style.

Ayesha: Bad. Ass.

6. Diana and Matthew's intense standoff.


Ayesha: The sexual tension in this moment was so heavy I basically felt it through the screen. Forbidden romance? SIGN ME UP.

So, the first episode of A Discovery Of Witches was a ride. Magic, scares, sexual tension – this episode had it all. But the show also left us with a bunch of questions that we’re dying to know the answer to.

1. When is Diana going to embrace her powers?

James: We saw the witch in the woods send some yokel to hell. Diana is apparently an all-powerful and special witch, so I know she’s got major skills. I want her to break time and shoot lightning out of her eyes. Let’s goooo!!!

Ayesha: I’m very ready for Diana to let go of her good-girl schtick and be the incredibly powerful witch it’s obvious that she is. She has the ability to seriously mess things up, and I’m so here for it.

2. Speaking of, who is the good and the bad in this story? Should we root for the vampires or the witches?

James: I love it when the story doesn’t give us a clean hero and villain. It’s totally unclear to me who I should be rooting for, so right now I’m rooting for chaos.

Ayesha: I’m so used to vampires being the bad guys, and it’s really refreshing that things aren’t so black-and-white in this series. I kind of want everyone to just all get along, but something tells me that’s not going to happen.

3. Diana and Matthew are clearly destined for romance. Will they both rebel against their own species?

James: 100% they will, but I need to see it happen now.

Ayesha: Forbidden love never gets old. Watching Matthew and Diana piss off the entire magical world will be a lot of fun.

4. Where did vampires come from? And why are their powers failing?

James: This is basically the main plot point of the show right now, but still I’m hooked.

Ayesha: Just give me all the mythology, basically.

5. Why does the lost manuscript respond only to Diana?

James: Again, one of the big questions, but I suspect the answer is going to be complex.

Ayesha: In the episode, we found out that Diana is descended from the first witch hanged in Salem all those years ago. I have a feeling Diana’s manuscript-whisperer ability is related to that.

6. So, when's the fight?

James: I’m envisioning a standoff between dozens of vampires and witches that wrecks London. I hope it happens. Also what about daemons? I thought they were in here too. I bet that’s going to be a whole different thing.

Ayesha: I’m holding out for a dramatic, doing-anything-for-the-one-you-love-type battle. I don’t think I’ll be disappointed.

Delve into the magical world of A Discovery Of Witches exclusively on Sky One. Catch up on Episode 1 now, with new episodes every Friday at 9pm.