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Welcome to the New Harry Potter Lexicon!


Welcome to the New Harry Potter Lexicon!

The Lexicon has been Transfigured!

I am beyond excited to finally open the doors and bring all of you into the new, modern Harry Potter Lexicon. This project has been a four-year process, starting with long planning meetings over coffee back in 2012. About two years ago our team designed and programmed the site, and I brought on the first outside editors to help bring all the content of the original Lexicon into the new format. Since then I’ve had a team of up to 30 editors — fans from all over the world — working round the clock to program the site, create the entries, edit and update the information, and add our own Lexicon Charms to each one.

Here’s what I mean by Lexicon Charms — and this is the heart of what make the new Lexicon a special place for fans. For each entry we have the information from all canon sources, of course. But we have more than that:

  • Related Entries – each entry has a menu of related entries from all over the Lexicon. These are entries which in some connect to the topic of the page.
  • Icons – when you click on one of the icons you are given a list of every entry in the entire Lexicon which has that same icon, whether it’s an essay, a blog post, a character, a piece of artwork, anything. Icons represent big categories like “Potions” and “Death Eaters.”
  • Tags – at the bottom of the page is a series of tags added by our editors. These are concepts and descriptors like “twelve” and “anger” and “competition,” things that are a bit less clearly defined as Icon categories. Clicking a tag will bring up every entry in the Lexicon that has that tag.
  • Timelines – Most entries have a timeline at the bottom of events in the Harry Potter universe that are directly related to that entry. For entries that are themselves Events, the timeline at the bottom shows the ten events prior to and following the event of the entry.
  • Contexts – Also at the bottom are context groups, such as Family (parents, siblings, children), Locations (what else is found in the same location), and Type (like all the books that are also Bestiaries).
  • Commentary – Our editors are encouraged to add their commentary, talking about their thoughts, bringing in fan theories, etc. We also include the Etymology of the terms and a section of web links to other sites such as the Harry Potter Wiki and the Harry Potter Companion. The commentary section is NOT canon, so it’s set apart in a gray box.
  • Pensieve – This is part of the Commentary section. This is where you can add your thoughts and make connections, as well as make suggestions for improving the canon portion of the page. We moderate all comments, so if you post and don’t see your comments immediately, please be patient.
  • Fan artwork – We have been blessed with having a lot of really amazing artists give permission for us to display their artwork on our pages. Their contributions have made the Lexicon truly a magical place.

I hope this helps you find your way around and discover new and interesting connections in the Harry Potter canon. As for basic site navigation, here’s what you need to know:

I’ve kept the navigation tools to a minimum. I wanted the Lexicon’s pages to focus on the Harry Potter canon, not a lot of messy website rickrack. The site is designed to work on any size screen on any device, so any extra stuff on the screen makes the site harder to use on smaller screens. Your two main tools are the Lexicon menu (top left: click on The Harry Potter Lexicon for the home page, click on the down arrow for a  menu of additional choices) and the Search tool (top right). At the bottom are icons to share with social media.

If you get a bit confused as you find your way around, feel free to send feedback (on the Lexicon menu). We will continue to update and improve the features of the site. Our editors are working constantly to update the entries.  If you spot something that needs our attention, let us know! If you’re having a problem, let us try to help. And of course, we’re always happy to hear positives too.

I know you’re going to love the new site. We’re so excited to finally be able to invite you all in to experience it. Thank you for being part of the most amazing, most creative fandom ever.



Pensieve (Comments)

  • Lisa H.

    It looks very nice!

    • Thank you from a lot of fans who’ve been working very hard on this for a long time. I am so glad you like the site.


  • Julie Lynn Hayes

    Frankly, I liked the way it was before. Better organized and easier to find points of reference. It wasn’t broke, so why fix it?

    • augury

      This! It’s nigh unusable as an encyclopedia right now as the organization I loved is gone. Wasn’t too pleased to see that I couldn’t sort the lists by alphabet anymore.

    • Thanks for the feedback. We’re working on an idea for creating more index-like listings which might be similar to what you’re describing. I’m curious — are you referring to the A-to-Z indexes which include every type of reference in one list or the individual alphabetical lists of things like spells and characters? Because those lists are still available — just click on Characters on the main page, then More. You’ll get an alphabetical list of all characters. Same for spells etc.

      • Julie Lynn Hayes

        Before I could go to the characters, and then by letter and find who I wanted without scrolling through a list. I was looking up information on one of the Houses and had no idea where to look. Before I could find everything I wanted to know about Hogwarts, including classes and schedules and a walk-through of the school and everything This is not usable, as augury pointed out, as an encyclopedia. And when you write HP fanfic, as I do, sometimes that can be crucial since I didn’t memorize the books.

        • Thank you, that’s helpful. We’re definitely still working on things and it’s very good to hear exactly how folks use the site.

  • Ry240

    I do really like that the whole site has been updated – as there was a fair amount of HP information that has been released since the books/films ended that wasn’t included in the old lexicon. However, so far, the thing I am missing the most is, for any topic, being able to pick by letter. Say I’m looking for a character that isn’t one of the main ones, it was a lot easier to navigate when there was a clickable alphabet, rather than all the other characters being in the same place, just on different pages. Not sure if I’m making sense lol.
    I’m guessing it will just take some getting used to, until I can remember which page certain people are located on.
    Either way, I do really like the look and ‘slickness’ of the new Lexicon, and am looking forward to hopefully finding more new information here.

  • The alphabet links will be back (and were always in the plan). There was a lot to do and it came down to prioritizing what absolutely needed to be done to go live and the alphabet links are exceedingly difficult to do without making the site slow, so we left that for after live. They will be back, probably in the next few weeks.

  • GinnysSidePiece

    I’m really loving the site update–thanks so much for doing this Steve and Nick (among so many others I’m sure). Everything looks great and I’m enjoying getting lost in all of the old information I used to pour over for hours.

    • Thanks so much! There are around twenty active editors right now, from all over the world. This has been a team effort. I’m extremely proud of the work they’ve done. It’s great to hear that you enjoy the results of all that hard work.

  • Andrés Ellwanger Walbaum

    Awsome!! I’ts been so long I hand’t come to the the lexicon and is great to know you are still working on it and adding new information.
    The new format look great!!

  • Éowyn Petersen-Snyder

    I agree with those saying the new layout is very difficult to use as an Encyclopedia, as a reference document. While the new site aesthetic is pleasing, the attempt to streamline away many of the simpler navigation tools has left the whole thing somewhat un-navigable.
    One of my greatest concerns is all of the time-relevant documents. Like other commenters, I primarily use the Lexicon as a source for writing fic, and secondarily for organizing roleplaying games. The most valuable aspects of the Lexicon for me have always been:
    (1) the projected calendars for the books
    (2)the multiple timelines representing more and less granular views of in-universe time and events, and organizing information along a historical
    (3) the projected course schedules by year

    The entry-by entry timelines are simply too limited and too diffuse to be helpful for my purposes. Which I think is sort of emblematic of my difficulties with the new layout as a whole.

    The new site prioritizes non-linear, and non-programmatic use, foregoing things like the accessible timelines, or in-text links for its new tools, like the contexts, the entry timelines, etc. A good example of the weaknesses of the system? The Charms Class entry, from which there is no direct link to the entry for Charms as a magical discipline, to any of the Charms course book’s item entries, or to Flitwick. There is also no way to navigate easily to, say, the Charms classroom or Charms corridor entires. But, on the other hand, the context of “Hogwarts Academics” does provide a direct link to “Quiz All About Gilderoy Lockhart.” All of which would be fine – if the site still had a table of context/index style navigational tool like the old sidebar. But it doesn’t, and I’m left heavily reliant on using the linkage between articles. That, or using the search and hunting fairly desperately through a completely disorganized list of results.

    The alphabetical lists are only scratching the surface of what’s lacking for organization. In the end, while I understand that making the site mobile friendly and flexible requires cutting down on sidebars and menus and etc, removing the navigational tools those structures represented… It’s like removing a vertebrate’s spine. The thing no longer stands up on its own.

    I hope this has been helpful and does not come off as overly negative? I would happily clarify anything that was poorly phrased or difficult to understand. I have huge respect for the efforts that go into creating and managing the Lexicon. I use it regularly (when I’m on holiday I would raise that to “near constantly”), and have always been blown away by how comprehensive it is. I think it is/was possibly the best repository of fandom knowledge I’ve ever had available to me. Which is part of what makes the update so very frustrating. Because accessibility and organization were, in many ways, the thing that made the Lexicon by and large stand out from the wider world of bewildering wikis. I am not certain I can use the new site for my purposes. Trying to navigate it eats up too much of my time and energy.

    • Thank you so much for your detailed comments. These are exactly what we need as we continue to update and improve the new site. Your input is invaluable.

      As for a few specifics:

      The timeline is in the works and will be everything the old timeline was and a lot more. You’ll be able to drill down from macro events and eras down to specific sections of the timeline. What you see at the bottom of each page right now is more or less raw data. The timeline is almost top of the priority list right now.

      The calendars of the books are one of the problem areas for us. The new site had to be responsive design, which means that it has to dynamically resize to fit different screen sizes. However, those calendars simply don’t scale. They’re fixed the way they are. That’s why we still link to them as We’re trying to work out how to move them over, but until we do, they’re going to remain accessible on the legacy site.

      I will spend some time with course schedules. Right now they’re displayed along with the calendars, so they’re still accessible, but I’ll see about creating separate entries for them.

      With respect to navigation, we’re planning to put the Explore bar at the top of every page where the Related entries bar is now, which will provide more of the top-level navigation which is missing now. The Related entries will move to the side along with the Fact boxes.

      As I said, we’ll be carefully looking for ways to meet the needs of our users with the new site format. Your detailed feedback is invaluable, and I can’t thank you enough.