About the Harry Potter Lexicon
- history of the Lexicon
- sources of Lexicon information
- about the artists
- Main FAQ Page
- support the Lexicon
- about the "error" on the Lexicon banner graphic
- an example of Steve's notes on book five
The Lexicon strives to publish only strictly canon information in its encyclopedia sections. The Lexicon is very specific in its list of canon sources.
If the Lexicon makes a mistake, we will admit the mistake immediately, take steps to retract the information, and offer an explanation and apology if necessary.
The Lexicon will not seek, encourage, or accept "leaked" information from anyone attempting to compromise the confidentiality of their position. If we have any reason to believe information was accidentally or dishonestly released, we will not publish it.
The Lexicon seeks to be accurate and current. The issue of spoilers is irrelevant to known accurate information.
The Lexicon holds J.K. Rowling and her fans in the highest regard. Her respect is of the utmost importance to us, as is the trust of our readers. We will do everything in our power to earn and keep that respect.
"I'll want a pay rise, Dumbledore!"
- Horace Slughorn (HBP4)
"Twice nothing is still nothing!"
- Cyrano Jones, "The Trouble With Tribbles"
The Harry Potter Lexicon was written and edited by the following people:
Steve Vander Ark (SVA) is the creator, editor in chief, and webmaster. His email address is [email protected]. He started the Lexicon back in 2000 as a tiny little website with a few lists on it. He's the one who created the graphics and most of the writing on the 700+ pages of the current Lexicon is his. Steve is also a freelance writer, a theatre director, a library media specialist, and a public speaker.
Nick Moline (NM) is the technical consultant for the Lexicon. Nick has been the know-how behind setting up the podcast, the storefront, the e-books, and other recent developments with the site. He and Steve are currently working to bring the venerable Lexicon website up to modern standards. Nick's email is [email protected].
Lisa Bunker (LB) is also a senior writer for the Lexicon. Lisa is a librarian, just like Steve, so they both speak reference-talk, which is a bit scary. Lisa edits the character pages specifically, but also acts as a web design consultant for the Lexicon. Lisa is also the editor of Accio Quote, the most complete and amazing archive of Rowling interviews and related material on the web. Lisa's blog is "Madam Pince's Potter Pages."
Kip Carter is the Commander in Chief of the Lexicon Forum. His amazing ability to work with both people and computers has allowed the Forum to grow into one of the best Harry Potter communities on the web.
Denise Proctor is Kip's assistant. She's as talented as Kip and as nice as anyone you could possibly hope to meet - unless you're a troll on the forum, in which case she's one of the most dangerous people you could possibly hope to meet. Denise and Kip are nothing short of incredible. The Lexicon is just so lucky to have people like this on staff.
Former staff members:
Penny Linsenmayer handled email and project management.
Michele Worley (MLW) was a senior writer. She deserves a lot of the credit for the Lexicon being updated as quickly as it was after OP came out. Michele edited the magic pages and the Reader's Guides, among other things.
Belinda Hobbs (BH) served as the editor for the jkrowling.com guide section of the Lexicon. Belinda's enthusiasm and creativity made it the best guide to Jo's site to be found anywhere. Bel also managed the Floo Network page and helped in numerous ways all over the Lexicon.
John Kearns (JK) came aboard just before the release of Half-Blood Prince to help manage the influx of new information that a new book brings. John is now the webmaster of the excellent Harry Potter Companion website.
Clint Hagen joined the staff in 2005 to and coded the Remembrall, the Portkey, the Timelines, and the Knight Bus Tours.
Paula Hall joined
the staff at the end of 2005, taking over a backlog of essays from
Penny and Steve. Since then she edited and published many new essays in our collection.
Contact email: [email protected]
The Harry Potter Lexicon began before I (Steve) even finished reading the first book. You see, I've always kept notes and drawn diagrams and made lists about things I enjoy. I have blueprints that I drew of the Death Star, painstakingly drawn in 1977. I have a huge chart of all the episodes of Hogan's Heroes, listing everything from writers and directors to the gadgets that were used and when. I wrote notebook after notebook of detailed descriptions of Star Trek characters and technology. When I encounter a well-designed and imagined world in movies, television, or books, I find it almost impossible not to catalog it.
Like I said, when I read the first Harry Potter book, the Lexicon began. I started cataloging it in my head, noticing details, scribbling down the page numbers where I could find the names of various books, and so on. I started scribbling maps of the castle. But I fought it. Cataloging something as thoroughly as I tend to do is HARD WORK. It takes a lot of time. It tends to take over my free time ... and it's also pretty much a thankless task, since no matter how carefully and expertly I do the work, no one ever sees and appreciates it.
This time it was different, though. This time there was the Internet. This time I could share all this work with a few other people. And the Harry Potter universe was just so exciting and fun and detailed and wonderful. But still I resisted. And then I read book two (and I remembered having some pretty strong doubts about book two, which looked as if it might have a flying car in it, which just didn't fit the world that I was imagining). I wavered now. Just reading through the description of the Weasley house made me want to start writing. Book three didn't help a bit. I knew that I was getting hooked. I started my first notebook with notes from Chamber of Secrets. I really can't remember why I started with the second book and not the first, but I did. And before you know it, I was moving on the book three. I filled page after page.
These notebooks are written in the order of the story, one chapter at a time. I automatically categorize everything as I go, so when I write down a magic spell or effect, I write "sp" in the margin. Everything gets a little scribble of some kind in the margin. I worked through three, and then went back for book one.
It was about then that two key events happened. I joined Harry Potter for Grown Ups and Goblet of Fire came out.
The Lexicon came into official existence a week later, in July of 2000.
At first it was just a series of lists. Lists of books, lists of Wizard Cards, lists of Death Eaters, and so on. I was trying to think up a good name for the site and settled on Lexicon because Encyclopedia was taken (by the now defunt Encyclopedia Potterica). Lexicon refers to a list of words, and at first, that's what this was. I can remember sitting on my back porch and running the name Harry Potter Lexicon over in my head and thinking that it sounded okay. I still think it sounds okay, although the Lexicon itself has grown way past being just a list of words.
In November, 2000 the Lexicon appeared for the first time on Yahoo, and within a week was chosen as a featured site in USA Today.
Of course, once I started it was impossible to stop. I'm a librarian, and I could imagine what the perfect reference source would look like. Once I could picture it and knew I could do it, I just had to make it happen. So I turned the list of spells into the Spell Encyclopedia and added the Bestiary and the Atlas. That was in the spring of 2001. Since then the Lexicon has grown until it encompasses nearly all factual information from canon sources, organized and crosslinked. The Lexicon Forum is a recent addition which provides an opportunity for Harry Potter fans of all ages to discuss their favorite books. Kip Carter has done a masterful job of managing the forum, and that hasn't been an easy job lately. Things should be back to normal soon, though, and I know I'm not the only one eager to have the forum back to its old lively self.
Another exciting development for the Lexicon is the creation of The Floo Network. In June, several of the best Harry Potter websites in the world joined forces. Through a shared toolbar, each site linked itself to the others to provide for fans the world's most complete and amazing set of tools for exploring the Harry Potter universe. The Floo Network is still evolving and getting better.
The next major milestone for the Lexicon was the release of Order of the Phoenix in June 2003. On that exciting weekend, the Lexicon was featured in a variety of places in the media--radio, television, magazines, and newspapers--and I was even interviewed on the Today Show. In mid-August, I brought Michele Worley on board as the first ever assistant editor, and since then the huge job of incorporating the new information from Order of the Phoenix has been moving ahead very quickly. We're not all caught up yet, but we're getting there.
The Lexicon has been mentioned on the websites of both Scholastic and Bloomsbury. Warner Bros. has given its permission for the Lexicon to use the graphics drawn by Mary GrandPré for the books. The Lexicon is currently one of the most-often referenced Harry Potter website on Google behind Warner Bros. and Scholastic. It's considered by fans to be the most complete and authoritative reference to the Harry Potter universe in existence and is visited by many thousands of fans daily from all over the planet. That's really cool. I love the Internet.
At the end of June, 2004, Jo Rowling paid the Lexicon a high honor indeed. She gave the Lexicon her Fan Site Award. The traffic on the Lexicon grew by quite a bit and several new staff members were added to help out. Penny Linsenmayer came on board to handle email and oversee projects. Josh Santilli became the new editor, working closely with Steve to work through all the pages and find the typos, errors, omissions and to create new material. Lisa Bunker, who already was working on Madam Scoops' (now Accio Quote), took over as editor of the character pages.
The Lexicon continues to grow, although now that all seven books are out the flow of new information has slowed to a trickle.