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Essays

Textbooks

by Lisa Inman
updates by Michele L. Worley

The Booklist
Every year Hogwarts students receive book lists in the post, telling them which textbooks they will require for the year. First years get the longest list, presumably because some of the books last them the whole seven-year course of their study. Here is a list of all the books on lists, mentioned in the narrative, and deduced:

Uses of Books
Clearly, several of these books are used in more than one class. The obvious relation between Potions and Herbology suggests that One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi will be used in both classes, as does Harry's thought of the book under Snape's questions in PS8. Magical Theory would likely serve all classes, even Trelawney's, though I haven't seen her using it. The Standard Book of Spells I assume is a Charms book, but I can see it being used in other classes as well. (I can't imagine what kind of shelf you'd build to hold all seven; those books probably give a lot of torque.)

Teachers, depending on their predilections, seem to use the books as reference books in classes that are mostly labs - with History of Magic being the least lab-like. Students are expected to read their textbooks over the summer break, and before they come to school; second years and up are given essay assignments to finish over the summer months. Unlike the students I've taught, Hogwarts students don't appear to have bibliotecaphobia; they head to the library to find supporting materials on their own steam, and they are successful. Hermione may be the biggest library rat of Harry's year, but she's not alone in her initiative; none of them balk for lack of knowing where to start; they just go there and start searching. They certainly turn up more than my students do on the average.

As Fantastic Beasts shows, students write in their books - and since they own them, why not? They use them for pillows (like Hermione in PA15); they use them as threats (I certainly would; it would give "throw the book at him" a whole new meaning). They mend them (Ginny, GF10) or let them fall apart (Ron, FB); they lug them about (how DOES Hermione do that? but then, I did it in high school); they probably eat while using them and brush the crumbs out of the gutters; they load their trunks with them; and now and then they even consult them. Probably they keep them all their life, like Muggle English majors do - or nursing students.

© 2001 Lisa Inman

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