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catching up


Over the past few months, we here at the Lexicon have been traumatized and disheartened. What has been the hardest are the personal attacks, blatant disinformation, and rushing to judgement that have been hurled our way. The staff of the Lexicon consists of some of the most selfless, dedicated, passionate people on the face of the planet and they have quite frankly been on the verge of throwing in the towel. They don’t deserve that kind of abuse.

The Lexicon used to be a one man show. It’s not anymore because first of all, I can’t do it all, and second, the staff people here have so many skills and talents that I don’t have. They are quite an amazing team. The Lexicon staff members are truly wonderful people. I don’t think I’m overstating things when I say that fandom owes them a huge debt of gratitude.

Last summer I spoke at several conventions. I talked about how exciting it was, now that the book series was finished, to be moving into a new world of our own creative work. Jo herself endorsed the creativity of fans and encouraged us all to take up the story, if you will. My overriding hope in those talks was that people would feel empowered to continue being Harry Potter fans and not let the end of the series mean the end of fandom. I never expected that a few months later I would be watching fans turning on each other and breaking down the community we all worked so hard and with such love to build up.

I am as dedicated as I ever was to the fun and excitement of being a Harry Potter fan. I am eager to keep adding to the Lexicon and making it the amazing resource that it’s been for the past seven years. I sincerely hope that all of us can find our way forward to a place where we all find pleasure and pride in being Harry Potter fans.


Pensieve (Comments)

  • David

    Thank you for this great site.
    please, continue to update the JKR site info and other parts of the lexicon.

  • Angie

    You guys here are wonderful. Don’t let people get you down. Keep up the good work and thank you.

  • Bo

    We aren’t turning on each other, we’re turning on you. You’d be surprised how many fans have united in their disgust over what the Lexicon has done.

    The end of the fandom? Not even close. We’re still riding strong, thanks to WB and Jo being great enough to still be willing to provide us with more information about the series, despite her legal issues.

  • orion

    Bo, speak for yourself.
    There’s lots of people thankfull for this site, and we love everything you guys have done.

  • Bo, the point is that neither you nor anyone else knows the whole story, so you don’t know “what the Lexicon has done.” If you did, you might have a little more understanding and be a bit less quick to judge. Also, if you do feel compelled to attack someone, aim it at me, Steve, not “the Lexicon.”

  • Pat

    Steve- the hp lexicon is one the best sites of all time, don’t let this affect how the site is. I’m neutral on this whole thing, I have listened to both your opinions, and I think you are both being very mature about it, and I still respect you as a person and this site.

  • SympatheticLurker

    Steve, will we ever learn “the whole story”?

  • I hope that the whole story can eventually come out. However, things like that are out of my hands.

    I can give you one small bit of the story. Some have suggested that I talked to Jo and was told not to publish the book but went ahead and did it anyway. That’s completely untrue.

    I contacted everyone I could think of in the spring and summer of 2007 and they wouldn’t make time to talk to me. Failing at that, I checked with copyright experts whether the book would be legal and every one of them said that it was fine. On that basis, I moved forward. If I would have had any idea that the book would be a problem, I wouldn’t have gone ahead with it.

    Interestingly, I have since had a conversation with another author who has published a book which is also an encyclopedia of Harry Potter. This person told me that they had also tried to contact people to make sure the book was okay and received no response. So my experience is not unique.

    Please don’t misunderstand me — neither I nor the people I contacted were intentionally messing things up. It was just a series of unfortunate events. I don’t blame anyone, I just wish that we could have had a conversation back when I first contacted them. They wish that too.

    I expect that what I just wrote will be taken apart and misinterpreted and whatever. That’s enormously frustrating. But I’m glad to have a chance to shed a little light on things.


  • Hi Steve,
    I know you, and I know you’re a wonderful person. I just want you to know that there will always be someone by your side, supporting you, cheering for you. You’ve always been doing a great job, you’re honest, kind, available, sympathetic and unbelievably committed to the Lexicon project. Keep going on, because you’re not alone, and you’ll never be =)
    Take care,


  • Thanks, Michele. But I’m not perfect. I look back over the way things went and wish a lot of things could be different. I know that there was no intentional error on anyone’s part. I say again that it was a series of unfortunate circumstances. More than anything, I don’t want the staff of the Lexicon to get blamed for any of those circumstances. They had nothing to do with it.

  • Suzanne

    You guys are awesome! Can’t tell you enough. Keep up the great work you do!
    I am from the southern states in USA
    and alot of folks here feel that Harry Potter is of the devil; even my own brother–who is a Baptist missionary,
    but I feel that this masterpiece that Jo has written and the great work that you and your staff have done can only benefit!!!! Thank you from the bottom
    of my heart. Suzanne

  • Suzanne, I’ve dealt with some of that myself. I spent a horrible year standing up for the books against that kind of intolerance and ended up losing the fight…the books were withdrawn from the library involved. I respect the opinions of others on this and support anyone’s right to dislike the books for whatever reason they have. But when they try to force their point of view on a whole community, it’s just so wrong. And considering the Christian overtones of the series, especially brought out in book seven, and the fact that the author is a Christian, it’s doubly wrong and very sad.


  • Areilla

    Keep your chin up. *hugs* I dont know any of whats going on but thanks for the Lexicon it has be a great resource online for me!~A

  • Hey Steve!

    You know I’m behind you on this! Looking forward to seeing you again this summer, and I’m looking forward to working with you in the future.

    I hope you’re well.

    Happy Holidays!


  • Maria

    Hi Steve,

    I was sad when all of this started. I truly love this site, I have spent many hours reading it and looking over it. Every day I check to see what’s new. I wish you and everyone at the Lexicon a wonderful upcoming holiday. I know you have been feeling down, all in all it will work out however it is meant to work out, just keep your chin up.

    PS: I am a Christian and I find it actually funny the people that have tried to ban Harry Potter. Either way, I am going to miss Harry and JK and I look forward to coming to your site as well as Leaky’s to see what’s new.
    God Bless,

  • Denise

    As everyone knows, only those involved in most situations know what transpired to create the situation. Furthermore, the people involved really only understand the situation from their own point of view.

    I say all that to say, I have read your comments on the situation and JK’s comments and it does sound like an unfortunate situation for all those involved.

    I can only hope that as with the Wizarding world of HP there is a deeper magic here that will allow this situation to be resolve with all parties coming out better on the other end.

    Have a happy holiday.


  • Elizabeth

    Hi Steve, just wanted to say thanks for standing up for the Christianity in Jo’s books — I ‘ve been trying to tell people (not here) about that for years now, ever since I read John Granger’s excellant book Looking for God in Harry Potter.

  • Frits Verhagen


    I have a few questions:

    -Why has your publisher been rude and lied when this story came out?

    -Is it really true that you wish to help people in developing nations by creating this book?

    -Why all the extra advertising on your site all of a sudden?

    I like the Lexicon a lot and have used it on countless occasions and wish it to stay for all fans to use, thank you for that!

  • Kelly

    I fail to see how fandom owes anybody here anything, let alone a “huge debt of gratitude”.

  • Tierney

    Hey Steve and everyone on the staff! I absolutely have always loved this website and I still do! I have no intention on letting Harry Potter go! I simply can’t wait for the Encyclopedia comes out–but the one J.k. Rowling will write. Not that i wouldn’t love one from you guys. It’s just that she will continue the story as you will ‘wrap it up’. I hope things work out between Rowling and the Lexicon. Maybe she’ll let you publish your encyclopedia after she publishes hers? Thank you for all that you have done for the fans of Harry Potter’s World!! I will always be a lasting fan of the series!

  • Hi, Frits

    I can’t speak for the publisher, nor does he speak for me. By all means send him an email and ask your first two questions.

    As for the extra advertising, the Lexicon is going to start paying for its own hosting soon. Until now, the expenses for the site have been minimal and a lot of advertising wasn’t necessary. This was because of the generosity of The Leaky Cauldron, who hosted us for free. As our sites have grown, however, the cost of this became an issue for them, which makes perfect sense. So we mutually agreed that the Lexicon would seek its own hosting and pay for it. Accio Quote is in the same situation.


  • Hi, Kelly

    Let me explain what I mean by that. Many fans have told us how they have benefited greatly from the thousands of hours of research and writing that’s gone into the Lexicon. Fanfiction writers in particular have told us over and over that they find the site indispensible. From your comment, you haven’t had that same experience, and that’s fine. Perhaps I should amend my post to say that ‘most of fandom’ owes the staff of the Lexicon a debt of gratitude.


  • Teresa

    This is a great website. I personally don’t see anything wrong with the Lexicon making a book and offering it for sale. It costs money to keep a website like this up and going. Probably why there’s more advertising on the site that someone above mentioned.

    I’d appreciate being able to purchase a print version of the website instead of having to go online all the time. It would cost me more in time and money if I tried to print off portions of the web offerings. I hate to consider the possibility that one day the website may be shut down because of the expense in keeping it up and legal expenses.

    Thanks. I’m looking forward to buying the book.

  • Mikkel Larsen

    I have used and loved the Lexicon a very long time (the favoriteslink is from may 2004 🙂 but I was disappointed at first when I heard the rumors.
    Still, you have given us the Lexicon without making any money, which you easily could have. That has to count for a lot, I can’t see why you suddenly should turn into something else.
    Good luck with the Lexicon and the book (Jo permitting), and thank you all for the work you have let us use.

  • B.N

    What I don’t understand is the need to publish a book version of the lexicon, we have all known for some time now that JKR has been planning her own book. The lexicon is great because its a free resource, a book is just a way to make money from it. and if it isnt then make a free downloadable version. To me its the need for money thats causing all this fuss, as just a fan helping other fans thats fine but making money from them for something provided for free, thats the horrible part. If you want to publish a book, write your own. I’ll wait for the offical one.

  • Hello Steve,

    The beauty of the Lexicon is that is not simply a catalog of information about the Harry Potter books. It was created by fans as a resource for other fans. It is J.K. Rowling’s vision, as seen through our eyes.
    One thing I have always liked about the website is the very fact that *anyone* can contribute material for it. The various fan-submitted essays and artwork are what make the website interesting.
    We get to see so many divergent points of view about the text that we may not have even considered in our own individual readings and interpretations.
    This is why having a published version of the Lexicon has value. So many books have been published by scholars and so-called experts about how to interpret the text, so why can’t we have our say as well?
    I am a contributing artist who has supported the Lexicon for years, and will continue to do so, regardless of whatever form it may exist.

    -Jen L.

  • Luzana

    Please keep going, you are wonderful, The Lexicon is just fantastic, and Merry Christmas to all of you

  • Nelika

    Hi Steve,
    I’ve been coming to your site for a while now, being a huge Harry fan and trying to prolong the excitement after I completed each book. I came to know of your site from J.K. Rowling’s own website. I have always been silent, reading all the comments posted, and learned of this situation about your book from your site. I have to say I am disappointed with the way people have allowed things to get distorted, and growing up on an island I know what that is like. But like me, there are many, MANY people who are silent observers of the goings on on your site and we have viewed this maturely. The situation is bigger than all of us (observers) combined and while it can be disheartening, also know that while your friends have your back and are supportive of your situation, so are we. We hope that things can be worked out so that everyone may reap the rewards of the passion and dedication both you and Jo have put into Harry Potter. Cheers.

  • Frits Verhagen

    “I can’t speak for the publisher, nor does he speak for me. By all means send him an email and ask your first two questions.” (Steve)

    I’m sorry Steve, but the publisher does indeed speak for you, go to their website and see it.
    I think it is rediculous to suggest that we owe you anything, you don’t ask people to owe you gratitude, you receive it if you deserve it. You would deserve it, had you not been wanting to cash in. My question is: What where you planning to do with the money you receive? Pay for the website?
    Personly, I think you deserve a lot for doing all this fabulous work, and that’s respect, not money, especcially when it’s probably illegal and your favorite author, who owns the world of Harry Potter, asks you to seize publication.

  • Hi, Frits

    I stand by what I said. I have no control over what the publisher puts on his website. I think it would be great if you email him with your questions. I can’t answer them for him.

    I am not asking anyone to be grateful to ME. I am asking them to be grateful to my staff, who have taken quite a beating over this. One of the key reasons I wrote this post was to defend my staff. They have had nothing to do with the publication aspect of this book, but a lot of negative talk has been directed at them and the Lexicon site itself. They do not deserve to be beaten up over this.

    I am not entirely sure how much money a book like this will even make. Probably not as much as you think. I received no advance. But what do you think the other websites do with all their advertising revenue? What do you think Wizard Rock bands do with the proceeds from their concerts and CD sales? What do you think the wand makers and artists who sell things at cons do with the money they make? I know of Harry Potter websites that make a lot more money in a few months than I could ever hope to make on this book.

    As for your last sentence, as I said, no one knows the whole story.

    Thanks for you questions and comments, Frits. I am glad I’m having a chance to answer, whether or not you like what I have to say.


  • Marie

    personally, I think that you must have been very clumsy trying to publish a lexicon knowing tha Jo were thinking of writing an encyclopedia. That said, I think we should leave this behanid us and that it would be easier to do so if you weren’t insisting to bringing he whole thing up by excusing yourself all the time. You are doing a great job writing this lexicon and shouldn’t let this thing ruin it 🙂

  • jensenly

    As one of the “silent observers” Nelika mentions above, I recognize that we do not know the full story and, therefore, have refrained from commenting. Being middle-aged does have its benefits.

    Steve – the site is great and your staff is, too. This fan extends her gratitude for the many hours of pleasure I have had perusing The Lexicon.

    Merry Christmas!

  • Hi, Marie

    I’m sorry if I’m coming across as excusing myself. That wasn’t my intention. As I said in my past comment, my first goal was to defend my staff. Since other questions have come up, I’ve done my best to answer them. There is a limit to what I can say. I will say that some of the questions demontrate exactly what I’ve been saying, that people don’t know the whole story and have jumped to conclusions.

    I’m not trying to excuse anything, just asking people to realize that they might not know every aspect of this situation.

    That being said, sure, I’d love to be able to say some nice things and have everyone think I was a great person and so on. It’s not easy to be attacked and worse, to have the people I love attacked, and have to swallow any response. So if I do come across as excusing myself…well, I probably feel that way a little bit and it’s coming through in what I write. I apologize.


  • Stefanie

    I’m saddened by the negative talk going back and forth around this issue. People seem to get fired up without knowing the whole story.

    Personally, I am a huge fan of the Lexicon. It has been a wonderful resource for me over the years, and I look forward to the day that I can purchase the Lexicon’s book as well as Jo’s Encyclopedia.

    Steve and Co – keep up the wonderful work. Your dedication and strength in the midst of persecution is admirable.

  • JJB

    I’ve been struggling to put my feelings of support into words but Nelika did it for me. I’ve only begun writing my comments to the Lexicon since the last book came out but, like Nelika, have watched silently for a very long time. All I can say, Steve, is I’m still here and will be here as long as you and your staff are here. Thank you for everything all of you have done for those of us who benefit from it.

    PS: As a Christian from the U.S. South and part of what would be considered a rather fundamentalist denomination, let me say my prayers are with you and just know that not even all we evangelical fundamentalist Christians are anti-Potter. I assure you, it isn’t the faith that causes such narrow minded opinions, it’s narrow minds regardless the faith.

  • Judge

    Applause to the Lexicon staff and I get it that they aren’t a part of the legal woes. That said, Steve, thank you too and I can’t say how sorry I am that this whole mess happened to such an uberfan as yourself. It takes some real guts for you to sit here and take some of the barbs slung your way in these comments but if it helps to clear the air and lets us get past the issue so we can get back to parsing every one of Jo’s words to the tittle and jot or debate as to how many pixies can dance on the head of a Mandrake, well, then, I suppose your sacrifice is worth it:P The Lexicon policy on quality comments and no vitriol has helped make the Lexicon the go-to site for intelligent and informed discussion. I’m waiting eagerly for a return to those good old times.

  • Thanks, Judge.

    But I don’t think I can claim all that much courage here. In a weird way, it’s wonderful to be able to answer some of these questions.

    I’ve had to watch as people rant on and on about me and the Lexicon when they don’t know all the facts, and say nothing at all in response. I’m the kind of guy who would much rather stand up straight and do my best to answer those kinds of things, even when people are bringing up difficult issues and making me face their honest concerns and anger. I am not perfect, as I said. I freely admit that. But I’m not the monster some have been painting me as.


  • CS


    Keep your chin up. Sometimes in life you can tell you are doing something right by the amount of abuse you are taking. When I was young I was at the bottom of the totem pole in a large jewellery chain. I transferred stock from one store to another. Well, I have a photographic memory and I was gradually noticing that stock was disappearing off the grid so to speak. I bought a $1.00 notebook and started really watching stock transfers. After a while I knew where the disappearing stock was going so I contacted the district manager and told him everything I knew and photocopied my notebook for him. Guess who was stealing millions of dollars of jewellery? The man I just contacted!! He did everything in his power to discredit me and generally bury me alive. In the end I persevered and he went to jail, but my life was such a hell. Much like you feel right now. I left jewellery and went back to school to be a litigation law clerk. The first day our prof. said “Litigation is expensive, slow and painful. Clients should know that going into it.” He’s right Steve, but I know you’ll be OK.

  • Peter

    Don’t apologize to anyone. If there is a canon expert out there, its you, Steve. Great site!
    One request. . .Please update “which wizard” to show Ginny as a member of the potter family!? That’s been driving me nuts.

  • Pam

    Just have to throw my two cents in-Steve, I have been reading the Lexicon for years and I love every bit of it. After listening to Jo on the first installment of the PotterCast, I don’t see how her planned book would overlap with a hard copy of the Lexicon. She seems to be planning to write backstories and about her thought processes, not putting together a database such as you and the staff have. There is certainly a place for both the books. I sure hope that things get worked out. Keep your chin up, I and many other readers are grateful for all the pleasure and help you have given us over the years.

  • Remi

    Hi Steve,
    There are many of us who are not rushing to judgment or taking sides, and who are just waiting with hope that this whole thing will be amiably & maturely resolved so that we can all go back to sharing in the Potter universe with joy and enthusiasm.
    Know that regardless of the legal outcome, your work – and that of the staff – have been and continues to be greatly appreciated.

  • John

    Steve- the Lexicon is one of the best Potter related sites out there if not the best, don’t let people get you down, keep your chin up and just quit listening.

  • I have always been a fan of the Lexicon, and you and the rest of the staff have never come across as anything but true fans. I am glad Jo has been willing to let the Lexicon exist, as other authors in her shoes would not have (Anne Rice, for instance, actively discourages fan fiction and probably wouldn’t like an online encyclopedia of her world). That said, while I haven’t agreed with your decision to publish a print version of the Lexicon and didn’t see the division you speak of among fans, I did see some really nasty attacks, and I didn’t think some of them were fair. I wish people online could disagree with civility, but there seems to be dearth of that in the world, particularly online. Best wishes in the new year, Steve and the rest of the staff.

  • Connor Brockmeier

    Hi Steve (and all of the other awesome people that work here at the Lexicon)!
    I truly admire your efforts in making the veritable treasure-trove of Potterica that is the Lexicon available to everyone. Everyone who can read, that is…=)
    However, one small thing has been nagging me as I’ve watched all of these events unfold:
    Why not just wait until Jo has published her encyclopedia? My reasoning behind this is that, while the Lexicon *is* a spectacular site and a testament to the countless hours of work put in by a team incredibly devoted individuals, Jo clearly does and always will know more about her won world than you will. Even as I look through some of the pages, I come across some factual errors which could be considered rather drastic, and I cannot help but feel that you would not want to spread these mistakes in print form.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is, Why not just wait until Jo publishes hers? It will be *the* definitive Potter encyclopedia and resource, free from flaws and possibly containing new information that you guys could never have known otherwise. After that is published, I’m sure that a book form of the Lexicon will be welcomed by those who wish to see the canon from a critical perspective other than that of the author.
    I hope I didn’t sound too harsh, because I really love you guys and what you have done for the world of Potterophiles. Any thoughts you’d like to express?

  • Ginevra

    I love you guys at the Lexicon – Steve, Bel, Lisa, Penny, and all of the staffers I don’t know as well. Thank you so much for all that you do, and thanks for updating. I am beyond all of you, and I am behind Jo, praying for that miraculous amicable solution.

  • Ginevra

    Oh, that should say, “I am beHIND all of you”! I am sorry about that.

  • Rugy

    Pam, JKR actually said that hers would be give-people-everything, or, not ONLY what would be in the Lexicon but also backstories, more info. So yeah, it would clearly overlap. JKR’s would be EVERYTHING – which makes a lexicon version a clear violation of her intentions.

    I respect the Lexicon but heartiliy disagree that the fandom owes ANYONE on staff a thing. The Lexicon may be useful but it is absolutely not indispensible; there are other more accurate guides online; and if you really do want the accurate info you’re better off checking the books anyway. I actually rankle that you feel you have the right to request people feel a debt of gratitude for something we never asked for, while you go on about donations to the site and “minimal adveritsing”, when we’ve just learned you didn’t need any at all. I’ve been so galled to learn that. All this time, this donation button nonsense. The article from the GVSU thing, claiming you simply never wanted to clutter the site with ads, and making no mention of the fact you were hosted for free and didn’t have to make yourself out to be the web purist you claim to be. Gross.

    Your actions here don’t cut ice with me at all. You’ve said over and over in the past, bragged about it, how you have contact with JKR’s “solicitor” her people, etc. Meanwhile her lawyers made it clear in the documents of the case that they never heard of the book until they saw the announcement. They would know you, be in touch with you, all that time, and yet when you write them to say you’re doing something that infringes copyright and in which they have a vested interest suddenly they ignore you? It doesn’t make any sense, and saying “you don’t know the whole story” is a cheap and inexcusable way out. We know you could have contacted the very people you always contact, and either did not and have been lying, or took “no answer” to somehow be permission. Or that you disregard all the times you’ve said in the past, over and over, how wrong it woudl be, how illegal, on the advice of some new-to-you “copyright experts” who conveniently tell you what you want to hear, right after you were denied a co-authorship with JK Rowlng. Co-authorship! The gall of even suggesting that she needs it and that you should be put at her level!

    You’ve done a great job indexing the books. But it’s not a job that’s required any particular talent but patience and hard work, and that’s not something that entitles you to JK Rowlng’s copyright. Web sites, wizard rock, all the things you mentioned – they are either parodies or things that require original work. The lexicon, good as it is, does not. The Lexicon requires organization. And organization is not a skill that transforms a work to the point where you’re allowed to make money on it.

    Also, where is this bashing on your staffers that you claim has gone on? I’ve followed this very closely and I have never once, not once, seen bashing of any of them in the hordes of online commentary that’s gone on. “It’s been private,” you’ll say, but really, anything over a smidgen of private response would have been mirrored publicly. To the opposite, actually, I’ve seen a lot of worry for the welfare of your staff.

    This is also not traumatic. Not in the least. You need to look it up. Death, sickness, injury, to you or your loved ones – that’s traumatic. Being held to the fire for that which you brought on yourself is nowhere near traumatic.

    No doubt you’ve been a great fan of the series. But don’t start with this Gandhi act, it’s really disgusting and against the intellects of everyone who visits this site or any other one.

    As for Jo “encouraging” creativity – her not taking legal action against fanfic, and calling it flattering, does not equal encouragement – well, to some, perhaps it does. But even so, you are trying to call “encouraging” equal to encouraging you to publish the Lexicon. And your’e a smart man, Steve. Smart enough to make yourself look like this pious and sorry person when you are the one who ignored emails from the Christopher Little Agency, the same agency you claim to have had contact with before. So clearly you must know that an attempt to put this on Jo for what you call “encouraging” creativity is foolish and sad.

    I’ve never been worried that the publication of DH has meant the end of fandom, and you are putting far too much weight on yourself and importance on the Harry Potter Lexicon by calling it a reason for fans turning against each other and the community breaking down. Outside of some web sites sniping at you, some discussion of this going on (95% of which is not in disagreement at all – it is quite solidly against you), it’s a joke to even suggest that the Harry Potter community is that heavily affected.

    If the Lexicon shut down tomorrow I’d be sad. For about a minute. Then if I needed a canon fact, I’d go to my books, or the wiki, and get the same, possibly more accurate, information without stopping to wail and gnash teeth that itwasn’t the Lexicon who gave it to me. You have your adherents and fans, like all sites do. But no one’s life would be remarkably affected if the Lexicon ceased to exist. The other sites and their fun info, their games, their contests, their essays (of which the Lexicon has some but i dare say they’re outdated and the authors could simply archive elsewhere), their podcasts, their unique content – the wizard rockers with their hilarious (and parodic, and therefore legal) songs…people would have a hole they couldn’t fill without those. Not so with the Lexicon. They have the books, and other more accurate online references.

    That you haven’t completely thrown in the towel, made public statements against your publisher even if you can’t break from him, speaks tons. I anxiously await what the court documents say.


  • jensenly

    Good grief. What a ridiculous rant.

  • Big_Kelpie

    Thank you.
    i’ve read that some people believe the owe you nothing. I do, I owe you and the staff a huge debt of gratitude.
    I understand the difficult situation you are in and i’m glad you finally decided to speak up for yourself and defend yout staff.
    As sad as it may be, you won’t be able to publish the book. It must be frustrating to have put so much effort into it and then be told you can’t publish it by the same people who ignored you when you asked for permission.
    Your work is really amazing and for everyone who says the organizaning information is easy, please try to create a tool like the canon portkey and oyu’ll understand why it’s so amazing.

    (in the Lexicon’s side in case you haven’t noticed)

  • Cass

    I disagree completely with the hostile comment/essay immediately preceding mine. If this is indicative of the sort of bile that the Lexicon staff has had to put up with for months, then it’s no wonder that the staff is considering quitting. One of the worst things about a fandom is when it elevates the author to a god — and whatever companies are making money off the author with publishing, film, and merchandise rights. Your experience of being ignored by WB and Rowling’s agents does not surprise me in the slightest. One thing that fans tend to forget, especially if they are not well-versed in the adult world, is that companies like WB aren’t interested in fan creativity, but rather, fan money. It’s unsurprising that e-mails from creative fans get ignored. I’ve dealt with large companies and standard (unwritten) policy basically IS to ignore correspondence that does not seem to offer a definite potential benefit to the company. It’s rude, but there you have it. We live in a rude world.

    The Lord of the Rings trilogy has had any number of unauthorized encyclopedias written about it, with no attempt from the Tolkien Estate to shut these efforts down despite that the work is still owned by them. This lawsuit, coupled with the fracas some time ago about the Hogwarts replica used at the Indian festival, tells me that Rowling, WB, or some other part of the Potter franchise just has a far different outlook on fan participation and offshoot works than the Tolkien Estate. That’s unfortunate, since this is easily the most involved fan community in existence.

    Given the amount of inconsistencies, backpedaling, and illogical plot devices in the final book — which many older fans have very strenuously criticized — I have come to suspect that parts of the fan community know the books better than Rowling herself. The Lexicon staff would of course be a part of this perfectionist, detail-oriented group of fans. The hoopla over this encyclopedia makes me wonder if some of it isn’t concern from WB and the Potter franchise that the Lexicon might put together a better, and more cohesive, encyclopedia than the author would. It’s certainly possible. With the final book, I lost a lot of faith in her ability to keep things straight and square with previous canon, and actually withdrew from the fandom in disgust for about a month after the DH release. I’m slowly dipping my toes back in the water, but with the realization that she is not even close to perfect, and it is absolutely a reader’s right to criticize when criticism is called for.

    I doubt this post would make any impact on those fans who think that every word from Rowling is holy writ, not to be questioned. At least, not in the short term. I do hope, though, that they eventually break away from the mindset of hero-worship that has caused this rift among fans. The Potter franchise is run by humans, and humans can sometimes make mistakes and errors of judgment.

  • Sarah

    Love the site it’s FAB, been coming to the site for several years now. I love all the work that all the staff has put forth. You’ve all done a wonderful job, with the site. Thanks to all of you keeping up with the canon and the fandom. We love you guys and all the effort and fun we’ve all had over the years. This is my favorite site i check it several times a day for updates. Absolutely, love the site. It’s the best one out here, and you’ve all done a spectacular job.
    I know you all want to preserve this special world and share it with everyone, and i think we all can do so for many years on.
    Love from fellow, Lumos and Prophecy attendee
    Keep up the good work

  • ascatal

    Steve i love the lexicon keep up the good work i thionk the 2 biggest factors in the problems you are having are these 1. the timing Jo working on her own encyclopedia of hp as you were about to publish yours and 2. the lexicon is the best source of Hp info outside jo herself , and that sadly has been a double edge sword as your info is so good that it would have been too close to what jo is working on

  • Was a Lexicon Fan

    Man what were you thinking!?!

    Steve I have been a fan of your site for almost 5 years now. It has helped me get through a lot of boredom. But this, publishing JKR’s copyrighted work, man that is completely and totally bogus. You have lost the respect of a lot of fans out there Steve, and while I respect the work you put into this site I feel you crossed a major line here. JKR told you no, that she didn’t want you to publish the Lexicon for profit. Why in the hell would you go against that? Are you insane? You deserve the Lawsuit in my opinion Steve, as does that so called publisher of yours. (I hope they get good and nailed for what they are trying to do, you on the other hand I hope you learn from this without getting fined to bad.)

    Good luck is all I can say, you’re going to need it if you continue to try to publish the Lexicon.


    A very disappointed former Lexicon Fan

    < < external link removed...sorry, I've been asked to disallow that sort of thing for now >>

  • YL

    Steve, I am so glad you have commented and answered some questions. I am an adult fan who loves the lexicon. I check the “whats new” often. I have never commented before. I prefer to read. When I first found your site I read your stance on the book in regards to Christianity. I have Always appreciated that as a fellow believer. I don’t understand why some people have said what they have said. I really do appreciate all that you and the lexicon have done. I wish you and the rest of the staff the best.


    PS I hope you do not take the comments away from the whats new section again. I really enjoy them. 🙂

  • Aphra

    Craig, check the Constitution again. It’s Article I, Section 8, Clause 8. But don’t worry, I’m sure Roger Rabidport doesn’t know about that clause either as he’s only interested in selling First Amendment Rights.

  • hck

    Well, I’m still surprised how, well emotional the discussion on this is.

    I guess it is easy to agree that the Lexicon is a great and very useful resource.
    I guess it should be easy to agree that we (i.e. those using it) owe quite some gratitude to those who created the Lexicon and who made it the great and useful resource which it is.

    There are different views on whether it is “moral” to publish a printed book based on (parts of) the Lexicon if/as JKR does not want such a book published. On other issues we are able to accept that not everybody shares our “moral” views. That’s then world we live in: Moral views are diverse and inhomogeneous and only in very exceptional cases it is worthwhile to try to win over other persons to one’s own moral views. I don’t understand why that many people seem to believe that this case is such an exceptional case.
    Part of the people who seem to consider trying to publish the book in spite of JKR’s opposition as immoral and who know about this posting and (at least part of) the comments here prefer to voice their opinions in other places without voicing them here. I’m not sure that I do understand what the point of that is.

    IMO “legal” issues and “moral” issues are different. And intellectual property laws are different in different parts of the world. Disputes about intellectual property are either resolved by a dialogue between the parties involved, or by law courts. And I would have guessed that it should have been easy or at least possible for the users of the online Lexicon to consider the legal problems involved as problems to be resolved by the parties involved or by law courts – and not as problems pertinent to HP fandom discussions qua HP fandom discussions. And I am surprised that it is not like that.

    Steve, thanks for your posting here, and for your replies to part of the comments. Hopefully they can contribute to some change of focus: back to the Potterverse.

    I hope that the Lexicon’s change to a new server and/or service provider will be smooth and that the Lexicon will continue to be the great and useful resource it is.
    In this context: lots of thanks and the usual seasonal greetings to you and your team!

  • Peter,

    We’re working on updating the entire site. But it’s been an uphill slog for the staff. Part of the fallout from all this unpleasantness is that it’s been hard for them to stay enthusiastic about working on the Lexicon.

    I’m hoping that this will change and that we’ll be able to find joy in this again. That’s the biggest reason for my post, actually. The more we can bring this discussion out in a civil conversation, the more we can keep things in perspective. The questions about publishing the book should not be a discussion about the merits of the Lexicon website.


  • John,

    I would rather keep listening. It’s very easy to let myself get all defensive about this, but people bring up very good points, things I need to hear and to think about. One thing I’ve learned in my life is that no matter how hard I try, I can’t be objective and honest with myself if I’m not willing to listen to and consider another point of view.


  • Ginevra,

    Thanks for the support of the staff. I know that Jo and I both fervently wish for an amicable solution to this. It has never been a battle between Jo and me. We have both made that clear.


  • Rugy,

    Thanks for posting your comments. You have expressed very well the frustration that a lot of fans are feeling over this. Obviously I don’t agree with your assessment of the situation.

    I sense in much of what you’ve said a desire to interpret everything that I’ve said in the worst possible light. For example, you attack my statement that I did try to contact people by assuming that I must be lying or telling half-truths. You don’t know what happened, plain and simple. You don’t have to accept my explanation, but please don’t assume that you have the story correct either.

    If you are not willing to listen to what another person says and honestly consider their point of view, you aren’t engaging in discussion but simply voicing your own opinions. You are welcome to do so but I think you will understand if I don’t answer you point by point.

    I do need to respond to one thing that you wrote, however, because it’s incredibly unfair. You said that indexing the books is not a job which requires any particular talent. I respectfully disagree with that statement. Creating a resource like the Lexicon, which is far more than just an index of the books, requires a lot more than patience and hard work. It may not be something that you would ever want to do, but I encourage you to try it sometime and see how much creativity and skill are required.

    Again, thanks for your comments. I promise you that I have read them carefully and considered what you’ve said.


  • Just a quick note about some modding I’ve done on these comments.

    First of all, I deleted two comments. One crossed the line into name calling and I can’t allow that. The other was a short response to the one I deleted.

    Second, I deleted a link to someone’s blog. Please don’t post external links here, whether they’re on one side of the dicussion or the other. Let’s keep this all within this thread.


  • Hi, YL

    We turn comments off or on for particular posts, not for the whole What’s New. There are legal reasons why comments have been turned off on some posts.


  • SpongeBob

    Steve, you shouldn’t say always “I” and “I”… We know HPLex is his team, not you.

  • Aphra

    Steve, can you clarify how you tried to contact Jo’s agents in the spring? Why you picked a small Michigan publishing house instead of Random House or Penguin? and did the HPL staff approve of the book?

  • Steve, don’t let idiots get you down. Really, I don’t see anything wrong with anything you’ve done, even the book (I, personally, would love the idea of the Lexicon as a tangible book, and I don’t quite see why JKR’s getting angry, unless she thinks that she won’t be able to write the encylopedia with the Lexicon printed or something) and I will always be behind you 100%. I love the Lexicon, and it’s helped me out many times, especially when I first discovered the internet and discovered the online HP fandom. You work tirelessly and you’re always up to date and it just astounds me. Keep up the great work, please, because if nothing else, I’ll still come here.


  • Katty

    To the staff members and volunteers of
    the hp-lexicon:

    I apologize if i’d have offended you by
    sending some mails during the last

    I’d like to thank the whole team for all the awesome
    work you are doing with this fantastic
    I wish you all a good time off if
    you like to have some, and a good
    recovery! Try to
    conjure a good and powerfull Patronus,
    and take the time you need. Good luck,
    and if you feel comfortable enough for
    coming back, I’ll welcome you happily! I, like some others, am checking the hpl almost twice a day, so I would miss you if the website would be closed.
    All the best!
    Happy Holidays!

  • christina

    I really love the Lexicon and of course all its stuff.You gyus are the pride of every Potter fan. Keep on going and don’t forget that there are still people who love and support you!

  • christina

    i also want to say that it’s a shame,as you yourself Steve said, that HP fans turn against each other with such hatred.i think we must all remember how these all begun and not be so abusive.thanks!

  • Avada

    Bravo à Steve et à son équipe! J’admire et j’admirerai toujours le travail remarquable du lexicon!
    Courage dans cette épreuve!Nous sommes encore nombreux à vous soutenir!

  • Taj

    It is sad to see that some Potter fans are more quick to trust the Lexicon (an admittedly great website) than Jo herself, without whom we would not have these kind of sites.

    Steve, no matter how you spin it or how much of the “true story” we are supposedly missing, you do NOT have the right to make a profit off of somebody else’s work. Yes, Jo endorsed the website, but the website is free. The book is not, and therefore she can’t support you on this.

    Please stop trying to deepen the divide between Potter fans on this issue. I ask you, Steve, to please stop talking and writing about the book controversy. If you are so concerned by the “breaking down” of the fan community, stop contributing to it. Please.

  • kzspot

    Love you guys! And I`m glad that you are posting in the “What`s New” section again, I`ve missed it!

  • jamie1putt

    I wish I had the opportunity to show my support in the pensive page however it seems to be filled with hate mail… I am sorry about this… I don’t think that it is fair to bash the lexicon for trying to create a bound version of the website…( although I don’t think it would be nearly as impressive) The amount of work over the years has been astronomical and I think that some reward should be in order… you have constructed a catalogue of material and to hear others say it you would think you just photocopied pages of J.K.’s text. B.S. you put tons of work in to this site and if you did publish an encyclopedia so what…. it would only sell to lexicon fans anyway and it would just be like paying to use the site… which J.K the billionaire could afford to do… Does she think that if you publish, hers wont sell.. again B.S. She will make another Billion (for Charity if she says so). This may contain her words but it is your work and If I were you I would freeze access to your web site and let her build her encyclopedia elsewhere… then when she publishes hers you can sue her for format infringement…..
    I am on your side…

  • Jessica

    Don’t give up on the Lexicon PLEASE. I’m a big fan of yours, Steve, and I love the site because it’s useful and organized and I check it regularly. I was sad about the whole missunderstanding but I refuse to believe there are any ‘bad guys’ in this. I love JKR as much as I always have and I you don’t have to apologize to anyone!

  • Taj

    jamie1putt, I don’t think anybody is arguing over how great the Lexicon website is. Steve and all the other staff have done a tremendously great job…at organizing Jo’s work. The issue at hand is Steve receiving profit off of the work (although organized by him) of somebody else (Jo). Should he really be paid for content that he only organized in a certain fashion but did not create?

  • Taj

    Just take the time to read what Jo has said:

    “[The Lexicon book] is, we believe, a print version of the website, except now the information that was freely available to everybody is to become a commercial enterprise. It is not reasonable, or legal, for anybody, fan or otherwise, to take an author’s hard work, re-organize their characters and plots, and sell them for their own commercial gain. However much an individual claims to love somebody else’s work, it does not become theirs to sell.”

    We all love the world JO created, not us. The only moral or legal way for Steve to publish his book would be if HE created the Harry Potter world. I’m sure we all wish we had Jo’s wonderful imagination, and maybe some of us do, but this is not our world to exploit.

  • jamie1putt

    I stand by the fact that if Jo intends to publish an encyclopedia of her own it would be starting over from scratch to not use the lexicon. I think that if Steve and his crew are not compensated for their efforts it is nothing short of criminal. Look at features like “the night bus” and “the pensive” and for that matter “the canon portkey”. I mean you can type in the word blue and see where and how often it came up in the books. That is more effort than you all may think. Jo uses this resource and thinks its great as long as she and everyone else gets it for free. I for one would pay to use it and I would also buy a print copy. That would not stop me fro buying Jo’s if she came out with one. This site is not just copying the books, reorganizing and spitting it back out it is a resource. It is a study and organization of a published work. and if Harry Potter had been written twenty years ago or fifty or even a hundred no one would say anything if you studied and created a resource to compliment the series. I think if jo had been opposed to the site from the beginning her stance would make sense but she herself has offered an awardand said she uses it her self…”just don’t make money off it!” Yeah, because you shouldn’t be compensated for doing all this WORK Steve… I think you should.

  • jamie1putt

    Save your breath I see the typos.

  • Dr. TRut

    Taj, this isn’t a game of “Who Do You Trust?” It’s a matter of treating the Lexicon staff fairly, giving Steve a chance to clear the air, and trying to stand back while the legal-eagles fight it out.

    I’m not about to dis JO but please don’t make this a matter of personalities. Cass wrote about it—Jo isn’t infallible, a goddess or perfect being or anything like that. I trusted Jo to tell me everything relevant to the story about the characters prior to the last page, I trusted her not to hurt me by killing characters just for the effect, and I trusted her when she said the Epilogue would tell us everything about all the survivors. This time I’m not trusting anyone in this argument blindly.

    Jo is one of history’s best story tellers and creators of characters but she is not always right, not even about her own work. Never forget the “perfect” scene in the fourth book when Jo got the characters’ orders of death/emerging from the wand wrong; Jo can’t do maths very well when figuring Weasley ages or Dumbledore’s year of death; etc. etc. etc. All this means is that Jo is human and imperfect like the rest of us—gifted storyteller, but human and imperfect nonetheless.

    The making of money isn’t evil and making money using someone else’s ideas as a starting point can come under the concept of “fair use”. It isn’t making money off of someone else’s work when the work being sold is the organization of the ideas, not the ideas themselves. Otherwise, every encyclopedia in the world would be illegal—they catalog and organize what others have first created. If it’s a stupid idea then people won’t buy it—no money can be made unless there are people who buy the book. WB and JKR pay their lawyers big bucks to guard the rights to HP and in the process the lawyers will sometimes overreach in order to make an example to others.
    If a Lexicon book turns out not to be “fair use” the courts will sort it out. And, yes, there really is some legal doubt as to whether WB and JKR can legally forbid a scholarly work on her ideas from being published. Will a paper edition of the Lexicon meet that standard? Who knows, some judge I guess.

    Don’t forget, Steve hasn’t made a cent, Jo hasn’t lost a cent, and no hard copy of the Lexicon is currently being sold. From what I can see it is only the innocent folks at the Lexicon who have been harmed so far.

  • jamie1putt

    Well Said Dr. TRut

  • Kerry

    I have always seen the Lexicon as a great source for Harry Potter information resulting from huge dedication and love. I still think that is true. I don’t know much about the issue but it seems to me that there can be more than one Harry Potter Encyclopedia and I don’t think they would water each other down at all.

  • Aphra

    I guess I’ve been reading the wrong blogs, but the only Lexicon staffer I’ve seen attacked by others is Steve himself. I’ve not seen anyone else attacked or maligned. And I’m more disturbed that Steve was planning to publish all along. I recall he told people he’d never publish without Jo’s permission. People have been donating hours of their time and money to help the Lexicon out, because it was a fansite and a labor of love. Then we learn there was a commercial motive behind the hobby. The Lexicon is fun, but it’s not a scholarly work.

  • Thank you all for you comments and insights, whatever your point of view. I am especially thankful to you all for keeping this conversation civil and respectful of each other’s point of view.

    I’m going to close the comments now.