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Episode 7: “There’s a door … a black door with no handle …”

Steve wanders down Charing Cross Road, then talks about hidden pubs, anti-magical roads, questions in book two and answers in books six, floating kitchenware, hanging animals, and other bits of Potter lore.

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Episode 6: “Only two people are known to have done it … and they’re both dead!”

Steve discusses McGonagall and Walpurga and their friends, wobbly bridges, mutant chickens, Bertie Botts Shots, who can and can’t fly, a fateful decision to retrieve a forgotten diary, and other odds and ends of Harry Potter canon.

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Episode 5: “In front of me was a signpost that said ‘Burrow’…”

Steve explains how choices were made about Lexicon content ten years ago, then discovers the Burrow among the hedgerows, an intriguing list from Rowing’s notebooks, and two Harrys over the course of the saga.

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What’s new around the Lexicon

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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Episode 4: “Boom! There comes Neville!”

Steve lists things he liked and didn’t like about Deathly Hallows part 2 (SPOILERS), and discusses the warm and cozy Great Hall, the Famous Wizard cards, prejudice through the ages, what Dobby knew and how, and other Harry Potter odds and ends.

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Episode 3: “There’s an Elf head hanging outside the window!”

Steve talks about Harry Potter canon levels, Rowling skipping the ‘t’, teaching styles of Snape vs. Flitwick for First Years, wandering around Grimmauld Place, and other random Potter things.

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Episode 2: “Oh wait a minute, who was that?”

The Daily Prophet newsletters

Steve talks about Pottermore misconceptions, how Rowling changed the online world once before, cool and interesting sources of canon information, Galleons changing the world, the late Quidditch match in book one, and other bits of Potter lore.

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Episode 1: “Did Dumbledore walk around with it in his pockets?”

Here's a view of the graveyard in that little North Devon town.

Welcome to the Harry Potter Lexicon Podcast, in this first episode:

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Plugging away …

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

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

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

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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Primary editor: Steve Vander Ark
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Original page date 9 June 2011; Last page update 14 June 2011 SVA