You can tell a lot about a person by the things they've got sitting on their shelves. Whether it's a favorite book, an old-school family portrait, a lucky charm, or a keepsake from a treasured memory, the items we put on display for all the world to see say something about who we are, who we were, or who we want to be. Shelfies is our way of letting some of our very favorite people share a little piece of themselves with Mental Floss readers.
It’s no secret that Daniel Radcliffe is Mental Floss’s kind of guy: As he told us in a 2014 interview, he's a fan of obscure slang terms, enjoys putting together difficult trivia quizzes for his friends, and loves wandering through bookstores … which leads to him buying way more books than he can read. (Relatable!) So we obviously couldn’t wait to see what kind of delightful knick-knacks the actor—who is currently appearing in an Oregon-Trail-themed season of Simon Rich’s Miracle Workers—has on his shelves. Read on to find out which board game gets special placement, and the pandemic hobby that’s occupying a ton of Radcliffe’s shelf space.
1. A Framed Broadway Bow tie
Radcliffe has appeared onstage a number of times; this bow tie comes from his first Broadway musical, which was especially significant to the actor. “This is the bow tie from the poster shoot for How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, a musical I did in New York about 10 years ago,” Radcliffe, who played J. Pierrepont Finch in the show, says. “That show remains one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done in my career, and some of my best friends today are people I met on that show.” You can watch Radcliffe and the cast perform “Brotherhood of Man” at the Tony Awards here.
2. An Epic Dog Portrait
There are many benefits to fostering an animal, and in Radcliffe’s case, one of them was an awesome piece of art. “This is a portrait of a dog we fostered that our friends then adopted. It’s a long story; suffice to say we are now dog godparents,” he says. “There is a company that will transpose a photo of your (or a friend’s) pet into a painting in the style of a historical portrait. This is Lex in some sort of 18th century military regalia. This is very stupid and brings me a ridiculous amount of joy.”
3. A Scrabble Board
“This is a super fancy Scrabble board my parents gave me for Christmas many years ago,” Radcliffe says. “There’s not much else to say about it! It’s just cool!” No word on how good Radcliffe is at the game, but we’d imagine you’d have to be pretty excellent at it for your parents to get you an epic board like this one.
4. Nano: The Spectacular Science of the Very (Very) Small
“One of my best friends, who I’ve known since I was 14 and is an incredibly clever and wonderful human being called Dr. Jess Wade, has recently written a book about nanoscience for children!” Radcliffe says. “It’s brilliantly written and beautifully illustrated [by Melissa Castrillón] and I highly recommend it to anyone who doesn’t want to explain nanoscience to their children themselves!”
In addition to writing a book and working her day job as a physicist at Imperial College London, Wade is on a mission to diversify the profiles of scientists featured on Wikipedia—so it's fitting that the book is accompanied by a LEGO of Margaret Hamilton, a key player in NASA's Apollo project, as well as a LEGO that references astronomer Nancy G. Roman, a.k.a. the "Mother of Hubble." Nano is out September 14.
5. Yoda LEGO Figure
For some of us, it was sourdough; for others, it was knitting—but for his pandemic hobby, Radcliffe reached for those beloved plastic bricks. “I felt I had to include some LEGO here as it does occupy a lot of space on the shelves now due to an early pandemic flurry of LEGO-making activity, that has admittedly tailed off since I’ve been working again,” he says. “I particularly like LEGO Yoda because the eyes are slightly too real and give him a kind of permanently haunted/anxious look, which I was not expecting from the picture on the box, but which I very much related to in the early part of the pandemic.” Among the other LEGO sets Radcliffe built was a 3200-piece kit depicting the gates of Jurassic Park.