What's New

More on abbreviations and dates


After discussion with Lisa, I’ve decided to change the way we indicate Pottercast references. The interview with Jo is now referenced as PC-JKR1 and PC-JKR2. Any other Pottercast references will be given as PC#, so that a citation of Pottercast 121 will be PC121.

There have been some questions about the dates Jo has used for the deaths of Dumbledore (1996) and Fred (1997). In each case, she has given the date of the start of the school year (and therefore the book) in which the deaths occur. However, the actual events happened after the New Year in those books and therefore would actually be 1997 and 1998 according to the timeline of the stories (as verified by the dates given in book seven and other canon sources). We indicate the most correct canon dates in the Lexicon, so we list Dumbledore’s death as 1997 and Fred’s as 1998. We’ll keep an eye on this and let you know if we get clarification at some point.


Pensieve (Comments)

  • awesome! at least now that’s a better explanation rather than Jo is not good at math.

  • John

    I’m not good at math at all so your guess is better than mine.

  • yeah, we’ve done the same thing in MadamePince.com, ignoring Jo’s statement’s
    she actually ISN’T good at math, honestly…

  • Aubry

    I got the Order of the Phoenix special edition or whatever for christmas and I saw Steve!

    Steve, when do we get the 3rd Order of the Phoenix set report?

  • Grace has Victory

    Yes, unfortunately we just can’t trust Jo’s numbers. She fills in a figure whenever she knows a figure is required, but as often as not she is forced to retract. And sometimes the “correction” is worse than her original, because she is so humble about it that she accepts the criticisms of a careless reader.

    Personally, I STILL believe that DH gives the “wrong” birth year for James Potter – that she only wrote 1960 because she was copying a mistake on the Lexicon! – and that she would do well to correct this to 1959. Worse, Charlie Weasley’s career as champion-Seeker-despite-the-fact-that-Gryffindor-always-lost has never been satisfactorily resolved.


    (1) Jo really needs an editor who is both numerate and a genuine fan of her books.

    (2) The Lexicon’s estimates are more likely to be accurate than Jo’s own.

    (3) None of these errors prevent a true fan from thoroughly enjoying the stories. We don’t read Harry Potter for its numbers!

  • Clock_maker

    could we not use JKR’s wizard of the month dates for Dumbledore and then see who’s right?

  • Clock_maker, I do acknowledge the WOM date on Dumbledore’s page: http://www.hp-lexicon.org/wizards/dumbledore.html

    Here’s my thinking: Let’s say that Dumbledore truly died as a result of putting the ring on (which would make Jo’s date of 1996 correct), and that Snape’s potion reanimated him for a year. It would solve the suicide euthanasia issue, true. But it would go against Jo’s most immutable rule of all: Magic can not raise the truly dead. If Dumbledore wasn’t truly dead, then the date is still wrong. We know the consistency of the rules of her world is vital to her; she says so in interview after interview, but her most important rule is that death is final, and a death date of 1996 for Dumbledore would violate that.

  • aillinne

    Jo must use a VERY special time-turner or rather time-confuser to think Fred died 1997. Sigh…

  • Jo should have an editor that really follows the books and is good at math. She just can’t do it herself…

  • maybe she should hire someone from the fansites who is capable of absolute secrecy.

  • SiriusBlack, I think this number thing is just perfectly normal — it is surprising to me that it doesn’t happen more often. Most of the times when her statements about dates are off have been in interview situations and not in the books — times when having an editor would be pretty silly. Lots of people have trouble remembering numbers. I know I do.

    I don’t know where you’re situated, but in America there is a late night TV show where the host goes out on the street and asks basic, obvious, no-brainer questions, and gets the most idiotic answers, even from people who should know better. There is something about being on microphone or on camera — if you’re not used to it or are nervous — that just gets to people. And as far as corrections and clarifications, she does usually get around to making them. We just need to be patient. More tolerance and objectivity, please, eh?

  • Ginny Tracy

    I suspect Jo simply made a common mistake. When dealing with the school year it’s common to simply say “the 1996 school year” when in fact that year includes many months of 1997 as well.

  • Reader2

    When one makes mistakes, there is usually a certain pattern, and in this case the pattern is obvious.
    What annoys me is that some ficsters see this mistakes as an excuse to disregard the timeline all together.

    IN particular they enjoy denouncing the Black Family Tree and squizzing the birthdates of the Blacks closer together all on the account of Siriuses statement that Snape and Bellatrix were a part of the same gang.
    No one even finds it strange that the gang included a married couple.