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The Harry Potter Lexicon Reader's Guide Series

by Steve Vander Ark

About The Reader's Guide series

Welcome to the Harry Potter Lexicon Reader’s Guide series. Each Guide expands a reader's understanding of and appreciation for the books in the Harry Potter series of books by J.K. Rowling. The commentary and annotations presented are the observations of the authors, based on well over a decade of research into the books and other writings by J.K. Rowling. The goal of these guides is to direct the reader back to Rowling's books and illuminate and augment the experience of reading her work.

Books in the Reader's Guide series


Vol. 1: A Reader's Guide to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Detailed, line by line analysis of the first Harry Potter book, exploring the connections to the larger plot, developing themes, giving meanings of terms and names, and more. The Reader's Guide is written by Steve Vander Ark, the editor and webmaster of the Harry Potter Lexicon website. (Available now for Kindle and Nook)

Vol. 2: The Lexicon: An Unauthorized Guide to Harry Potter Fiction and Related Materials

An A-to-Z quick reference to the world of Harry Potter, including details from the novels, interviews, and other material written by Rowling. Entries also include sources and etymologies, details, and background showing the richness of Rowling's created world. The Lexicon book is written by Steve Vander Ark with invaluable help from Lexicon website staffmembers Lisa Bunker, John Kearns, and Belinda Hobbs. (Available now on Kindle and Nook and in 368-page autographed soft cover).

Vol. 3: A Reader's Guide to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Picking up where the Philosopher's Stone and the first Reader's Guide left off, this Guide provides a detailed, line by line analysis of the second Harry Potter book, exploring the connections to the larger plot of the saga and noting the themes, meanings of terms and names, trivia, and more. This Reader's Guide is written by Steve Vander Ark, the editor and webmaster of the Harry Potter Lexicon website. (Available soon for Kindle and Nook)

Vol. 4: The Wizarding World: A History

Written by Steve Vander Ark, who in 2001 constructed the first accurate timeline of the Harry Potter series for the Lexicon website, this book explores the 3000-year background history Rowling created for her fictional world and discusses how that history provides the cultural milieu for the Harry Potter saga. (Available soon for Kindle and Nook)

Also by Steve Vander Ark:

In Search of Harry Potter

Steve explores Britain, from London and Surrey to the Highlands of Scotland, searching for the magic of the Harry Potter books -- and finding a lot more than he expected! Read more...

(Available from and

About the Lexicon website and the Reader's Guides:

Those familiar with the Harry Potter Lexicon website may notice some similarities to the reader’s guides and other material found there, but these books are not simply the website transcribed into book form. As a matter of fact, I have intentionally not used website resources such as the Reader's Guides while writing the Reader’s Guide books. Most of the notes on the website were written before all seven books were released and much of that information is now out of date. For this book series I chose instead to start from scratch and go through the books with fresh eyes as I wrote this commentary. The website’s guides are still very useful, of course. They include links to entries in the rest of the Lexicon about things like characters, spells used, and so on. Also, as a matter of historical record, the commentaries in the website guides can provide an interesting look into our understanding of the books as they were being released. In contrast, this new Harry Potter Lexicon Reader’s Guide series is written from the perspective of the entire series and is intended to provide literary commentary to complement the website and the reading of the Harry Potter books.

The books in this series are unofficial literary guides to the Harry Potter books. They are not written, prepared, approved, or licensed by Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., Scholastic Corporation, Raincoast Books, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc., or J.K. Rowling, nor are the authors or in any way associated with those entities.

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HARRY POTTER, characters, names, and all related indicia are trademarks of Warner Bros. ©2001-2015.

Page layout by Lisa Waite Bunker and Steve Vander Ark, banner graphics by Camilla Engelby © 2007.

Primary section editor: Steve Vander Ark.

Original page date 28-September-2008; Last page update December 27, 2013.