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What's New?

"Ladies and gentlemen, what an extraordinary moment this is! The perfect moment for me to make a little announcement I've been sitting on for some time!"
     -- Gilderoy Lockhart (CS4)

The Harry Potter Lexicon web site is constantly being revised, expanded, and edited. New information is added on a daily basis. It would be impossible to list every change here on this page. However, you will find listed here any new pages that have been added as well as major revisions.

You'll also find any news about the Lexicon. Our goal is to make this web site the most complete and thorough resource about the Harry Potter universe available anywhere, in any format. You can help us reach that goal by filling out a feedback form. Let us know how we're doing and give us your suggestions for improvement.

Thanks for visiting the Harry Potter Lexicon!

July 25, 2012

Posted by: Steve

I did an interview today with a Brazilian newspaper and one of the questions was “What was your favorite experience as a Harry Potter fan?” I thought about all the incredible things that I’ve been privileged to do, from visiting the film sets to exploring Britain to write a book about Potter places, but the best experience? That was working on the Lexicon website with Lisa and John and Bel and the others. That camaraderie and shared excitement and passion was the best by far. And I miss it.

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How to organize the spell pages
July 13, 2012

Posted by: Steve

I’ve been trying to work out the best way to organize the Spell Encyclopedia. There are basically four types of entries: spell names (Full Body-Bind), incantations (Petrificus Totalus), unnamed magic (“fire whip”), and categories (fire magic).

Trouble is, every spell doesn’t have both an incantation and a spell name. Some have neither, some have both. So how do I organize the lists? What do I alphabetize by, and when I have an entry for both the incantation and the spell name, do I duplicate information or link one to the other, so list spells by spell name and list the incantation with a link back to that spell name? But if I do that, how do I list the spells that have no incantation given? And how do I make it clear which spell names are actually given in canon and which ones I’ve had to invent in order to list the spell? I’ve started putting quotation marks around the non-canon spell names, which helps, but still …

Nowadays, this sort of problem seems, well, quaint and archaic. But remember, this is the Lexicon, which was created in the late 1990s before Wikipedia or databased websites or content management systems. Each page is a separately created HTML document and is basically a static page. No sorting on the fly, no clicking on categories, nothing. Yes, yes, it would be great if the Lexicon were recreated in the modern style, but that would take way too much time and money. It is what it is.

So I’m left with the problem: how do I organize the spell lists?

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Bestiary and Herbology
July 13, 2012

Posted by: Steve

When I start reading the Lexicon, I find myself following link after link, rediscovering the rich world of Harry Potter. I might end up reading some old essay or finding a page about nicknames or a map of Quidditch teams of the world … and before you know it, an hour’s gone by and I can’t even remember where I started. I’m not alone in this. I’ve received plenty of emails from people who tell me that they “just spent the last three hours here at my desk, reading things on the Lexicon when I should have been working.”

Well, the same thing happens when I start editing. Over the past few days, I’ve been updating sections of the site. I’ve been reformatting pages to the new style (and cleaning up the navigation in the process). I’ve also been adding canon information all over the place, and not just from book seven. I’ve also been adding notes from the WOMBAT tests, Tales of Beedle the Bard, and Pottermore.

By the way, I’m not including nearly all the information from Pottermore. I’ve been adding some basic information (such as Mr. Ollivander’s first name) and then linking back into Pottermore itself so fans can read all the details on Rowling’s own site. Take a look at the new Herbology page to see what I mean. On Pottermore, Rowling writes extensively about wand woods. All those types of woods are listed on the page and as part of the description, I’ve included a small quote from Ollivander along with a link back to Pottermore’s wand wood page. I like this approach because it doesn’t in any way replace the experience of reading the original source while it does make the connections to the rest of canon which fans appreciate about the Lexicon.

The sections I’ve been working on include:

Herbology – I’ve added missing plants, sources, and canon references to make this the central resource for plant information; I’ve also updated the formatting to put list boxes on the right-hand side and “On this page” navigation at the top.

Potions – I’ve removed duplicate information and added links back to the Herbology page

Bestiary – I’ve updated the information with more canon and sources; I’ve also updated the formatting to the new page style

other creature pages – this is ongoing; I’m updating all the individual Bestiary pages, the ones for dragons, dementors, and so on, changing them to the new style and adding canon and source information

Besides those, there have been edits and updates all over the site because, as I mentioned, I keep wandering off and discovering things which need attention. Sometimes these edits are small. Other times, they get pretty extensive (and I end up with a page half-edited when I run out of time for the night). That’s what happened to several of the spell pages, for example, as I tried to integrate some of the new information from Pottermore.

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What’s New? Plenty!
July 9, 2012

Posted by: Steve

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted here, mostly because I’ve been putting most of my updates and comments on the HP Lexicon’s Facebook page and Google+ page. Here’s what’s been going on with the Lexicon lately:

A new series of books is available called The Harry Potter Lexicon Reader’s Guides. The first and second volumes have been published on Kindle and Nook, and the third should be available by the end of August, 2012. The Lexicon book is included in this series and is available now!

The HP Lexicon podcast was just updated with episode 13.

I’ve been doing a LOT of editing all over the Lexicon website. Many of the edits have been small, but some larger revisions have been going on, such as a new page listing offensive and defensive spells and an update and redesign of the pages for the WOMBAT tests which appeared on Rowling’s website back in 2006 and 2007.

There are lot more changes, updates, and discussions going on, and I plan to start posting here again to keep you all up to date.


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Comments on SOPA
January 18, 2012

Posted by: Steve

Today I was asked about my position on the pending legistation in the US congress known as SOPA and PIPA. As the webmaster of a relatively popular website, as a published author, and as a dedicated fan of the Harry Potter series, I firmly oppose this legislation. These bills are intended to fight piracy and copyright infringement, but they are written in a way which is overly broad and which threatens legitimate websites. For example, many websites, including the Lexicon, could find themselves shut down if they link to some external site which includes possibly infringing content. Few site owners would have the resources to fight against such an unfair attack. As someone who has been the victim of piracy and copyright infringement, I support the goal of defending copyright owners and trying to stop illegal pirating of intellectual property. However, I am definitely against anyone who feels that the way to stop such things is to censor and damage the free and open way in which the internet operates. For more detailed information on SOPA, please visit this Wikipedia page.

Steve Vander Ark

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Updates and new stuff
September 7, 2011

Posted by: Steve

I’ve been wandering around Pottermore lately. Everywhere I look, I find interesting canon information (along with the odd chocolate frog card or galleon). As I’ve mentioned before in the podcast, I won’t be posting all of that new canon information on the Lexicon. There’s no way I want the Lexicon to spoil anyone’s joy of finding for themselves things like the story of McGonagall’s lost love or the purposes of other hidden King’s Cross platforms. However, I have added to the Lexicon little tidbits here and there — Ollivander’s first name, for example. If you’re already on Pottermore you know how wonderful all of Rowling’s essays are and that there’s no substitute for reading these marvelous tales directly from her. If you’re not on Pottermore yet … well, let’s just say that you’re in for a treat when you finally get your owl, get your wand, and get Sorted. Me? I’m a Ravenclaw and my wand is hornbeam and unicorn hair.

There are a few other new things to mention. The latest episode of the HP Lexicon podcast went live over the weekend. You can find out more about it by clicking on the Podcast link on Lexicon pages (or just by clicking here). In this episode I talk about wandering down Charing Cross Road looking for the Leaky Cauldron, the purpose of book two and its connections to book six, and other odds and ends of Potter lore. You can download it from here on the Lexicon or get it on iTunes.

Also, I’ve released the first eBook in the Harry Potter Lexicon Reader’s Guide Series. This book, entitled The Reader’s Guide to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, consists of completely updated notes, trivia, connections, plot questions, and background details about the first Harry Potter book, presented chapter by chapter and even line by line. I’m working on the second book, not surprisingly covering Chamber of Secrets, and I expect that I’ll be releasing a new volume every six months or so.

The book doesn’t simply reproduce the readers’s guides from the Lexicon website. In fact, I intentionally avoided referring back to those notes since they were written many years ago without the benefit of the viewpoint of the entire series. Instead I went at the project with “fresh eyes,” bringing to the text of the book over a decade’s worth of research into the world of Harry Potter.

So far, the book is available on the Kindle and the Nook (whose online store seems to have problems with apostrophes in their book titles, for some reason). I’m looking into releasing it in other formats as well.

Thanks for all the emails and comments. It’s great to know that there’s still such a vibrant, creative, and exciting community of fans out there enjoying Harry Potter as much as I do.

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What’s new around the Lexicon
July 26, 2011

Posted by: Steve

Here’s the answer to the most common question I get in email: Yes, the Lexicon is still being updated and edited. The changes are kind of hard to notice, for the most part, since they consist mostly of reformatting pages and making small edits and corrections to the content, but they’re happening. I work on it almost every day.

There are also changes happening behind the scenes, thanks to Nick Moline who has taken on the role of tech guru. The search is fixed, for example. Registration works, too, which means we can finally mess around with the Portkey again (which I’ve really missed … I love the Portkey!). Nick’s been working on a lot of other things, too, getting the Lexicon running the way it’s supposed to.

Probably the biggest addition to the site lately has been the podcast. I’ve put four episodes online so far and I’m recording a new one in the next day or two. Check it out if you want to spend a little time chatting about the Harry Potter canon.

I will try to post here a little more often and let you know what’s happening with the Lexicon. You can also follow me on Twitter (Lexicon_Steve), add me to a circle on Google+, and visit the Facebook page.


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Plugging away …
November 20, 2009

Posted by: Steve

This morning I was working through the emails I’ve received noting various Lexicon errors or edits. One email asked why the Minister for Magic page didn’t list Pius Thicknesse. I knew the answer to that one. The reason Thicknesse isn’t listed it that the Minister for Magic page hadn’t been updated for book seven yet. So I went in and edited it.

While I was at it, I changed the page over to the new layout. Then, as long as I was in that section of the site, I started converting the rest of the Ministry of Magic pages to the new page layout. Of course, as soon as I started doing that I realised that I also had to update ALL those pages for book seven. No problem. I had coffee. It was raining.

Seven hours later, I’m still not done with the Ministry of Magic pages. Amazing how long some of this updating and editing takes, especially when it involves editing code and struggling against rogue CSS stylesheets that crop up out of nowhere to change formatting on something when I least expect it. Now it’s evening and I’m going to set it aside. I’m tired of editing.

Still, it’s not a bad way to spend a the better part of a day … immersed in the wonderful, magical world of Harry Potter. I don’t get to do that very often.

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Update to Rowling’s website
September 10, 2009

Posted by: Steve

I just received this email from Rose:

“Just thought you should know that Jo has updated her site. Where her diary used to be is now a notebook with multiple pages. It’s called “Everything You Might Want to Know”, and it has info on herself, her books, different awards and honors she’s received, her charity work, and the films.”

Thanks for the heads up!

I looked it over and quite honestly, it makes me sad. It’s a collection of information clearly written by a publicist somewhere, certainly not by Rowling herself. I can’t get over the strong feeling that Jo has abandoned the site and her personal contact with fans. I think it’s time to give up hoping that there will be new tidbits of information, answers to questions, rumours in the trash can, or even new Wizards of the Month.


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Welcome to another year at Hogwarts
September 1, 2009

Posted by: Steve

It’s September the first, and young witches and wizards have converged on King’s Cross Station in London for the journey north to Hogwarts. Me, I’m just working through all the emails I’ve received with suggestions for edits, updates, corrections, and additions to the Lexicon. Unfortunately, there’s no Welcoming Feast awaiting me at the end of the day. On the other hand, I won’t have to travel the whole day on a train with nothing to eat but sweets from the trolley. I mean, seriously, I love Bertie Botts but for a day-long train trip I’d rather have a sandwich or two. Even corned beef. And maybe a nice ripe tomato. Okay, now I’m hungry. (If you enjoy the descriptions of food in Harry Potter like I do, you’ll appreciate the blog “Harry Potter Recipes“).

So another Hogwarts year begins. Let’s see, the defeat of Voldemort was in 1998, which is eleven years ago. The children starting school today will have been born, then, during that final terrifying year of danger and suspicion and war. Harry’s year was similar, having been born in 1980, at the height of Voldemort’s first rise to power. I wonder if the number of students this year is fairly small, just as the number of kids in Harry’s year seems to have been quite small. Ah, the fun of speculating and discussing Harry Potter!

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A wondrous website
August 7, 2009

Posted by: Steve

This recommendation is way overdue, and I apologise for taking so long to post it. John Kearns, formerly an editor here at the Lexicon, is putting together a fantastic reader’s guide to the Harry Potter series called The Harry Potter Companion. The Companion offers commentary on each chapter of the books (currently covering the first three books and part of the fourth) and showcases fan artwork which illustrates each of those chapters. Take a look for yourself, don’t just take it from me. The site will win you over the moment you click on that first link.

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The Half-Blood Prince
July 15, 2009

Posted by: Steve

I made it home at 3:30 this morning, my head buzzing. Did I like the “Half-Blood Prince” film? Absolutely! I loved it! I think this film captures more detail of the original book than any other of the films have managed to do. It’s what the film of “Prisoner of Azkaban” could have been if they’d included the parts of the book which actually mattered instead of replacing them with a frog-toting choir and talking shrunken heads.

Specifics … let me see. It’s always hard to come up with a definitive and detailed list after seeing a film of this complexity and scope just once and in the middle of the night.

I loved the humour (and romantic entanglements) which permeate the story. The Quidditch is spectacular and brutal and exciting — and played in the snow, which is totally cool. Thanks to a few well-placed moments between Harry and Ginny, I could almost believe that he was actually interested in the her when she’s been almost completely erased from the other films. I’m afraid Bonnie still looks like an eleven-year-old girl, and I just don’t think she captures any of the brash, daring, flirtatious Ginny of the books. But Yates and Kloves managed to give Harry and Ginny opportunities to connect as the film went along. Do I believe it? Well, almost.

The kids’ acting has really taken off. Remember when they could barely utter a line? Compare Emma’s wooden attempt at tears in Hagrid’s hut in the second film or Dan’s painful-to-watch crying scene in the third to the wonderful scene in this film with the two of them sitting on the stairs with her heart broken and his all twisted up and confused. Dan’s portrayal of Harry’s budding confidence works extremely well, particularly in counterpoint with his confusion over Ginny. He’s hilarious as he wanders the castle grounds giddy from Luck Potion. Rupert’s Ron is wonderful as well, from showing off at Quidditch to stumbling around under the influence of love potion. The kids have come a long way indeed.

Jim Broadbent is a perfect Slughorn, in my opinion — and that man can arch his eyebrows and look befuddled better than anyone I’ve ever seen. Maggie Smith is in great form. Other characters are almost non-existent, however, which I guess shouldn’t be a surprise when you consider the vast scope of the story being told. They just can’t include everything. But someone please tell me why, then, they added a whole scene of the Death Eaters attacking the Burrow? And for that we lost the entire Battle of the Tower. Luna was great with her weird glasses and lion hat, Lupin’s heated conversation with Harry gave us brief but important insight into that complicated and troubled character, and Lavender Brown was hilarious. Poor Neville, however, only gets one tiny line. At least Dean gets a kiss.

So okay, was it perfect? Clearly not. After we got past the surprisingly dull battle between Harry and Snape, the requisite Very Serious Talk at the end was almost as lame as the ending of the second film. I was about ready to push them all off the astronomy tower by the end of it. And please tell me why Ron was just looking pensive and sitting fifteen feet away from his best friends while they discussed the most important decisions of their lives, to go after Horcruxes. I was also annoyed by the lighting of the film … or rather, the lack of lighting. I know it’s a “dark film” and that it takes place in a dark and draughty old castle, but still. This is the magical world! It should be colourful and animated and alive, not black and white and dark blue.

All quibbling aside, I did love the film. It was exciting and funny, easily one of the best of the series. It did a remarkable job of capturing not only the major plot points of the book but also the nuances and delightful subplots. I can’t wait to see it again. I might have to wait until after Azkatraz, though! I fly out Friday morning!


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August 8, 2006
Belinda here. Once again the Wizard of the Month on Jo's site, Erica Stainwright, is a new canon character. This has been the case for the past four months, providing us here at the Lexicon with fresh new canon to incorporate! (We always get excited over new canon.) Also this week she added a book in the 'Links' bookcase: CHLG: The Children's Voice, with information and links to the website of the charity that she helped found through the Children's High Level group.

July 31 , 2006
Lisa and Bel here. We thought you'd enjoy reading the full list of questions that Lexicon staff came up with for the Lumos Trivia Challenge pitting The Leaky Cauldron against Mugglenet.

July 27, 2006
Lisa here. I have begun a blog where I intend to post Potter and Lexicon-related news and photographs: Madam Pince's Potter Pages.

July 26, 2006
Paula here. I've posted a new essay: Arthur Weasley's Relationship to Sirius Black: First Forays into the Black Family Tree, by new Lexicon contributor Sylvie Augustus. Of particular interest to the true Pottergeeks out there, I think!

June 30th, 2006
Belinda here. The Wizard of the Month on Jo's site for June (Daisy Hookum) and July (Tarquin McTavish) were both new characters. Most of the WotM have been from the Famous Wizard Cards, but occasionally she has given us these charming additions to the canon.

June 28th, 2006
Happy birthday, Dobby!

June 25, 2006
Paula here. Two new essays have been posted. One is on the ever-popular subject of Horcruxes, by new Lexicon contributor Megan Bostelmann, arguing that Harry is not a Horcrux. And Professor Koniphorous Swamp, who in her own words "appears to have too much free time on her hands," has written a new essay sharing with Lexicon readers "More than You Ever Wanted to Know about Frog-spawn."

June 4, 2006
Paula here. Have a look at our new essay, in which Owen de Lyon wonders "What Came Before the Hogwarts Express?"

May 17, 2006
Paula here. I recently posted a humorous and imaginative essay in which new Lexicon contributor pepoluan wonders of the wizarding world How do they make all those books? Have fun!

May 10, 2006
Paula again, with another fabulous scholarly essay.  Alan Jacobs, Professor of English at Wheaton College and a scholar of Christian theology and literature, among other things, has allowed us to publish on the Lexicon his essay “Opportunity Costs — What does it profit a man to defeat the Dark Lord but lose his soul?” The essay, a thoughtful exploration of the moral dilemmas depicted by Rowling in her books, but especially in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, originally appeared at WEB LINKBooks & Culture, November/December 2005, Vol. 11, No. 6, Page 22 on ChristianityToday.com. Enjoy!

April 30, 2006
Paula here — three new essays have been posted! Douglas Moran has Some Thoughts on House Elves, and Professor Koniphorus Swamp, who “has devoted her career to the investigation of the biology of magic,” has provided Another View of Magic, Genes, and Pure Blood in response to an earlier essay on wizarding genetics by glamourousgeek, and explains Genes and Appearance in Animagi in another essay.

April 25, 2006
Some of you have already discovered that we've added a new feature to some of the Lexicon pages. It's called the Pensieve, and it's designed to allow you to add information to the page. Yes, it's a comment tool, but we'd like to encourage you to use it carefully. We'd like to accumulate some informative, insightful comments in each Pensieve which we will leave attached to the page to enhance what's already there. We won't be putting a Pensieve on every page. At the moment, there's a Pensieve only on these pages:

If you encounter one of these, read what's there and by all means chip in with your carefully considered comments. Do yourself (and us) a favor, though, and read the Terms of Service before you post.

April 16, 2006
Paula here. From the moment it was physically possible for the first fan to have finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the Harry Potter fandom has been speculating on what is going to happen in Book Seven — and what needs to happen, given the puzzles, mysteries and loose ends scattered throughout the first six books. A new Lexicon essay, aptly named The List, is a list compiled by Anita (akh), Jo Mears (Serenadust) and Pippin, with contributions from Lyn J. Mangiameli and Siriusly Snapey Susan, of all the things the authors speculate — or hope! — will be addressed in Book Seven. For more information on Book Seven, you might also want to check out pages dedicated to the subject on The Lexicon, and Lexicon Floo Network partner WEB LINKMadam Scoop's.

April 8, 2006
Paula here. I've just posted a terrific scholarly essay on the depiction of virtue in the Harry Potter books that should be a real treat to read for anyone who appreciates just how important the Harry Potter books are. It's called Harry Potter and the Good Life, and it was written by WEB LINKSteven S. Tigner, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Toledo and a scholar at the Center for the Advancement of Ethics and Character at the Boston University School of Education. Enjoy!

April 6, 2006
We have been asked to remove the archive of the test from the Lexicon, and we have done so. Sorry about that, I know that many of you never had a chance to see the test in action, but Jo has asked us not to provide the archive and we of course will comply.

April 4, 2006
Belinda here. I am very excited to announce that we now have functioning archive files of the latest Door opening onWEB LINKJKRowling.com. This is only a copy, but you will be able to work the puzzle to open the door and read the full W.O.M.B.A.T. test. You will not however, receive a Student Identification Code at the end, nor will this copy of the test be scored. We at the Lexicon wish only to preserve the experience for fans to revisit. You will also find files of all previous Door openings, and Instructions for working the puzzles, should you want them. We hope you enjoy replaying them, especially for those folks who missed them during their short time on Jo's site.

April 3, 2006
Paula again. Two more essays have been posted: Love and Death in Harry Potter, by Paul Spilsbury, and The Importance of Neville Longbottom, by Douglas Moran.

We've been busy little beavers at the Lexicon this weekend!

April 2, 2006
Hey y'all, this is Steve. We've just uploaded a commentary and guide to the W.O.M.B.A.T. test which Jo put on her website. This guide doesn't give "correct" answers since in many cases we just don't know for sure. It does pull together canon resources which will be helpful and also gives some thoughts and comments from me and Belinda. We're still going through things and we might be adding more commentary as the day goes on, so refresh your page every so often.

Just a side note, I'm on vacation on Jekyll Island where the weather is spectacular. I figured you would all be wanted some information about the test, though, so in spite of vacations and beautiful sunshine, I worked on this page last night and this morning over IM with Belinda. The sacrifices we make for Potter...

April 1, 2006
Paula here. I've neglected to mention the addition to the Lexicon of two essays published in February. The first, The Complications with Memory by Suzanne Foster, is a comprehensive survey of the myriad ways memory is integral to the progression of the Harry Potter series. The second, Where is Spinner's End? by Claire M. Jordan, is a detailed and fact-filled speculation about where the heck in the Muggle world Snape's home, Spinner's End, could possibly be. My apologizes to the authors of these fine essays!

March 31, 2006
Belinda here. I have updated the Guide to Jo's website with information about the fifth opening of the Secret Door including instructions on how to work the puzzle to get behind the door (for those who have yet to figure it out for themselves, or perhaps having troubles).

March 21, 2006
Lisa again. Steve let me fiddle with his page on the night Harry's parents were killed. I have clarified the timeline, added key quotes, and updated the information so that it takes into account recent statements Jo has made as well as the information from Book 6. I started a topic over on theWEB LINKLeaky Lounge if you want to discuss this page!

March 20, 2006
Lisa here. I have been adding new artwork to the following pages: Harry, Quotes about Harry, Quotes about Ron, Quotes about Voldemort, Luna, Snape, Tom Riddle, Lucius Malfoy and the Malfoy family. Many thanks to Sebastien Theilig, Makani, Tea with Voldy, and Jenny Dolfen. Hope you like them!

March 18, 2006
Paula here. I've posted two great new essays. The first, "Is Harry a Horcrux,"by Stephen Haas, makes a well-thought-out argument for the idea that, you know, Harry is a Horcrux! The second, "Dumbledore vivens Snapeque bonamicus", by Denis Howarth, is a spectacular essay theorizing, as many fans have, that Dumbledore is not dead (but making a very fine pitch for the theory), and also discussing the evolution of the relationship between Harry and Snape. Enjoy!

March 12, 2006
Lisa here. I think I have finally added all the new character names (canon and non-canon) and information from the new documents at JKR's site. Here is a summary:

  • New names (non-canon): Mylor Sylvanus, Oakden Hobday and Bathsheba Babbling
  • New names (canon): Tilden Toots and Georgina Smythe
  • New first-names (non-canon): Aurora Sinistra, Cuthbert Binns and Septima Vector
  • Rowling also considered the names 'Pi Vector' and 'Digit Vector' (non-canon)
  • Alternative first-names (non-canon): Elvira Umbridge
  • Alternative last names (non-canon): Draco Spungen
  • Mopsus was to have been the Divination professor (non-canon)
  • Peter Pettigrew was to have been the one that impersonated Moody, not Barty Crouch, Jr. Is this the infamous Book4 plot hole? (non-canon)
  • In an early draft of OP, the Death Eater Macnair was the person visiting Bode at St. Mungo's on Christmas Eve.
  • Jo chose the name 'Rosmerta' for a village woman because she equated it with "good purveyor"
  • The Muggle Studies professor is female (non-canon)
"Canon" in this case means that we're 100% sure these characters exist in Jo's current Wizarding World. The planning charts and early drafts cannot be considered canon because they were heavily revised by the time the book was published.

March 9, 2006
Belinda here. I've updated the Guide to Jo's website with most of the changes today. You can find detailed instructions for collecting the new scrapbook extras in the Tips and Tricks section as well as many images of how the site looked before the update for comparison.

March 3, 2006
Clint here. Some of you may have already noticed, but there's a new way to explore the Lexicon! Check out our new Knight Bus Tours of the Lexicon. Each tour will take you on a journey to some places you know and some places you may have never been before. There are currently two tours running: a tour of the classical influences in Harry Potter and a tour of the new Gazetteer section. Please note that you must have JavaScript enabled to take the tours.

March 3, 2006
Lisa (again). Well, I finally came up with a design for the main Wizards page that I like! See what you think.

February 23, 2006
Lisa here. I have been adding possible name derivations for the Black family. Here is a sampling:

  • Phineas is an English variant of 'Phinehas,' a name from the Bible. 'Phinehas' probably means "Nubian," though some believe it means "serpent's mouth" in Hebrew (WEB LINKBtN). In Greek mythology, Phineus was "a king of Thrace and a prophet. Because he prophesied too truly, revealing too much of the gods' truth to humans, Zeus blinded him and set the Harpies to plague him." Phineus later helped the Argonauts by telling them how to get past one of their hazards. (WEB LINKEM)
  • Isla: 'Isla' means 'island' in Spanish; it is also the feminine version of a Scottish name referring to the island Islay, which lies off of the west coast of Scotland (WEB LINKBtN). Does not seem to be a star or constellation.
  • Cygnus: 'Cygnus' = a male swan (Latin). In Greek mythology, 'Cycnus' was the Musician-king of the Ligurians who was turned into a swan (WEB LINKEM). It is also another name for the constellation called "The Northern Cross."
  • Lycoris: Lycoris is the horticultural name for plants in the lily family. In Ovid and Virgil she was a mistress of Marc Antony (WEB LINKLewis & Short).
I will be adding more soon.

Oh, and Phineas Nigellus has his own page now.

February 22, 2006
I have just discovered that our Lexicon email has been messed up for a few days. Apparently anything sent to an @hplex address will bounce.
UPDATE: (10 am) As far as I can tell, it's fixed. Sorry about the inconvenience.

February 20, 2006
Lisa here. The Lexicon's Black Family Tree has been updated with the new information! We'll be revising the character pages next.

February 20, 2006
Here's our report of the Black Family Tree, thanks to Aberforth!
Key 1 - Phineus' youngest sibling was Isla Black, who married muggle Bob Hitchens.

Key 2 - his 2nd child was another Phineus, who 'supported Muggle rights.

His 3rd child, who married Violetta, was Cygnus (1889-1943).

Their children were:

  1. Pollux (1912-1990) who married Irma Crabbe
  2. Cassiopeia (1915-92)
  3. (Key 3) Marius, 'a squib'
  4. 4 Dorea
Pollux and Irma's children were:
1 Walburga (1925-85) - Sirius' ghastly mother
2 ((Key 5) Alphard, who 'gave gold to his runaway nephew'
3 Cygnus (1938-92) who married Druella Rosier and fathered the 3 sisters, Bellatrix(1951- ), Andromeda (Key 7) who married Muggle-born Ted Tonks, and Narcissa

Now back up to Phineus' oldest son, and he is another Sirius (1877-1952) who married Hesper Gamp [nod to Dickens?] Their children were:
1 Arcturus (1901-91) who married Melania MacMillan
2 Lycoris (1904-65) - not sure M or F
3 Regulus (1906-59)

Arcturus and Melania had 2 children:
1 Lucretia (1915-92) who married Ignatius Prewett
2 Orion (1929-79) who married Walburga and fathered Sirius (Key 6, who 'ran away') and Regulus (1961-79)

The piece de resistance is Key 4, the sister to Callidora and Charis:
Cedrella, scrubbed because she 'married Septimus Weasley')

Feb 17, 2006
John here. I haven't posted here in a while, but it doesn't mean I haven't been busy! I'm very excited to announce the debut of the Lexicon's newest section: the Gazetteer. It's a list of all the countries, cities, buildings, and other places mentioned in the books - nearly 300 in all. I really enjoyed putting it together, and I'll hope you'll enjoy looking through it just as much. Click here to take a peek.

Feb 15, 2006
Lisa here. I have been adding images from the Wizard cards and from Jo's Wizard of the Month to the Wizard A to Z pages. If you click on the thumbnails you can see a larger version of the image.

February 12, 2006
Big news from Italy today. Here's what Albireo sent us, along with scans which we're going over very carefully:

Today, on the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, there is an article about Book Aid International auction, with a complete picture of the Black family tree! You can recognize the half that we already know, but the other half is blurred! The article says that JK deliberately put it out of focus, making the tree not completely identifiable yet! :(

The photo is very small indeed, however you can still notice some bits of new information, which I include right here:

  • One of Phineas' siblings still remained unknown from the previous image… now we know him: his name is Sirius (his dates are unreadable...).
  • Charis Black and Caspar Crouch had 1 son and 2 daughters.
  • One of Phineas' sons (whose name ends -nus) married Violetta Bulstrode and had 3 children: Dorea Black, a removed name and a blurred one. This last one had 3 sons too: one of them married Drusilla Rosier (I'm not certain about her name) and had Bellatrix, Andromeda (removed) and Narcissa. Finally we have the connection between the Malfoys and the main Black tree.
  • Narcissa was born in 1955, Draco in 1980.
  • The other "young branch", on the left, is blurred too: we know from the books it consists of Regulus and Sirius (removed). According to the tree, their parents are both Black
Probably the most exciting detail of all is that Draco's birthyear is given as 1980. That confirms (finally, from Jo's own hand) that the timelines on the Lexicon are correct and that the stories take place between 1991 and 1998. A lot of editing will be necessary all over the site now. Please be patient as we analyze this new information. Thanks so much, Albireo!

Lisa adds: The Black Family Tree has now been updated, as have Draco and Narcissa's entries.

February 8, 2006
A new Harry Potter resource website just opened which is absolutely fantastic. It's called the Potter Index (WEB LINKhttp://www.potterindex.com). This site makes a perfect complement to the Lexicon and the Quotes database here on the Floo. I know that the editors at the Lexicon will be using this site a lot as we research and create new content. I heartily recommend the Index to all of you. Dave, thanks for creating such a wonderful site.

January 31, 2006
Paula here — lots of new essays posted!

We have two provocative essays by glamourousgeek, Magic, Genes, and Pure Blood, discussing wizarding genetics and the meaning of blood status in the wizarding world, and Merlin, God, and You-Know-Who: Religion in the Wizarding World. There's a fun piece analyzing Harry Potter's Astrological Birth Chart by lunalove, speculating that Jo Rowling has chosen the perfect birthdate for her hero based on the planetary positions on July 31, 1980. A Lexicon essay veteran, Ravenclaw Rambler, has done fine work again with his essay In Search of . . . Grimmauld Place. Micheal Hagel wonders Did Albus Dumbledore Set Up Events So That Harry Potter Would Go After the Philosopher’s Stone, and he's found some good reasons in the canon to wonder. For you detail freaks and overall Potterverse geeks (you'd be in good company with Steve!), Diana Summers has used demographics in the United Kingdom and meaning of names to adduce The Secrets of the Classlist first revealed to the fandom by Jo Rowling in the A & E Biography special Harry Potter and Me. There's enough minutiae in that essay to keep even the geekiest Pottergeek happy! Finally, we have an essay by Hugo Costa Paes, What is Magical Power in the Potterverse?


January 30, 2006
I've been cleaning out my inbox, and have made a number of corrections suggested by our readers. Most notably, the birth and first year dates for Cedric have been changed, and Katie Bell now has her own, expanded page. More corrections & additions coming.

January 29, 2006
The updated and re-organized Black family pages are finished! If you had bookmarked the old pages you will need to update them.

January 28, 2006
Lisa here. All information about the Black family is currently being revised due to the publication of portions of a marvelous hand-drawn Black family tree that Jo is auctioning off to benefit Book Aid International. For now, you can read more at WEB LINKThe Leaky Cauldron. We haven't had this much new information about Sirius' family since book 5! What is on this drawing that is still hidden? This is very exciting.

January 16, 2006
Lisa here. Numerous people have been writing and asking us to clarify dates for Snape, Lily and the Marauders. I have added information to Snape's page with our latest thinking and links to the evidence we used to arrive at our calculation:

Notes on Dates for Snape, Lily and the Marauders: 1959 or 1960?
We know Snape's birthdate from Jo's website; the year range is more complicated to calculate. Our dates are based on the following:
  • Jo said that Snape was 35 or '6 in an interview where she was referring to Goblet of Fire (Comic Relief chat), so that would be 1995 in Harry Potter time, which would make him born in 1959 or 1960.
  • Then she said in a WEB LINKFAQ that Sirius was "around twenty-two" when he went to Azkaban, which would have been in 1981, and that points more to 1959.
    Harry describes the events in Snapes' pensieve memory as being "over 20 years ago" and that was when he was taking his O.W.L.s, so that would suggest that James (and Snape, Sirius, Pettigrew, Lupin and Lily) took their O.W.L.s in 1975, not 1976, which would have been exactly 20 years before; this actually skews us even more toward the late 1950s (OP28, OP35, OP36).

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