Canon discussion / Harry Potter Lexicon Minute

Philosopher’s Stone 6-17 Canon Celebration


Harry then did something that was both very brave and very stupid ...

Philosopher’s Stone 6-17 Canon Celebration

Ready to have some fun exploring? Here we go!


Trunks by Selena Gallagher

Platform Nine and 3/4 by Steve VanderArk

How Many Students Are There at Hogwarts? by Steve VanderArk

Whatever Happened to Sally-Ann? by Steve VanderArk

The Significance of Hallowe’en by Rosie Payne

Free Will, Divination and Time Travel Part 1 by Abby Koop

Reader’s Guides:

These guides were originally written in March of 2002. Since that time, a few edits were made here and there but basically the text remained the same. To get ready for this Canon Celebration, our editors have been revising each one. We’ve added fan artwork to the Guide which illustrates the text. At the bottom in the Commentary section we’ve added a gallery of additional artwork. So even if you’ve read our guides before, please give them another look. And if you’re doing a re-read of the first book, have the Guide to each chapter open as you go! I’m sure you’ll find a lot of information you didn’t know.

Harry’s Life at School “Pre-Hermione”

Reader’s Guide to chapter 6

Reader’s Guide to chapter 7

Reader’s Guide to chapter 8

Reader’s Guide to chapter 9

Reader’s Guide to chapter 10

The Duo becomes a Trio and Investigates

Reader’s Guide to chapter 11

Reader’s Guide to chapter 12

Reader’s Guide to chapter 13

Reader’s Guide to chapter 14

Reader’s Guide to chapter 15

The Showdown Under the School

Reader’s Guide to chapter 16  

Reader’s Guide to chapter 17


Fitting the first book into the real-life calendars isn’t easy! In fact, it’s impossible. But that didn’t stop us:

Day by day calendar of events in the book


The Riddle of the Potions by Prefect Marcus

Nicholas Flamel and the Philosopher’s Stone by Brian Dormand

What Came Before the Hogwarts Express? by Owen de Lyon

The Hogwarts Express, or In Search of … Platform Nine and Three Quarters by Ravenclaw Rambler

Why Do All the Kids Have to Go to King’s Cross? by Steve VanderArk

Secrets of the Classlist by Diana Summers

Did Albus Dumbledore Set Up Events So That Harry Potter Would Go After the Philosopher’s Stone? by Micheal Hagel and Corinne Demyanovich

Quirrell’s Leave of Absence by Melissa Erin Friedline

Thoughts on Socks by Sandra L. Diersing

Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Socks by Morag Traynor

Unicorns by Susan

That Had to Hurt…or Did It? by Steve VanderArk and Michele Worley

Interesting Artwork

We have hundreds and hundreds of pieces of fan artwork in our collection. Some subjects get a lot of depictions — Diagon Alley is a favorite topic, for example, and, well, of course it is! But there are a few pieces which illustrate more unusual moments in the text. Here are a few examples:

A boy with dreadlocks was surrounded by a small crowd.
“Give us a look, Lee, go on.”
The boy lifted the lid of a box in his arms, and the people around him shrieked and yelled as something inside poked out a long, hairy leg. (PS6)

This image from the Trading Card Game illustrates a very small reference in the seventh chapter! The image is by Patrick Faricy.

Ron and Hermione joined Neville, Seamus, and Dean the West Ham fan up in the top row. As a surprise for Harry, they had painted a large banner on one of the sheets Scabbers had ruined. It said Potter for President, and Dean, who was good at drawing, had done a large Gryffindor lion underneath. Then Hermione had performed a tricky little charm so that the paint flashed different colors. (PS11)

Up at the High Table, Dumbledore had swapped his pointed wizard’s hat for a flowered bonnet, and was chuckling merrily at a joke Professor Flitwick had just read him. (PS12)

The trees were so thick he couldn’t see where Snape had gone. He flew in circles, lower and lower, brushing the top branches of trees until he heard voices. He glided toward them and landed noiselessly in a towering beech tree.

He climbed carefully along one of the branches, holding tight to his broomstick, trying to see through the leaves. Below, in a shadowy clearing, stood Snape, but he wasn’t alone. Quirrell was there, too. Harry couldn’t make out the look on his face, but he was stuttering worse than ever. Harry strained to catch what they were saying. (PS13)

Artwork Challenge

We have tons of images of the Sorting and the Welcoming Feast. Snape and Potions lessons are a very popular topic. However, we have very few of the House ghosts apart from Nearly-Headless Nick or of Dean, Lee, and Seamus. Our Artwork Challenge for all you fan artists out there is to depict one of the lesser known characters in the series. If we really like your work, we may feature it in the Lexicon! Here are some suggestions:

  • Other Hogwarts Quidditch players. We have Harry, Ron, and Ginny, of course, but what about Katie Bell? I think we have just one or two images of Angelina except as part of a team picture. What about players on the other teams?
  • Any of the other students at Hogwarts with Harry.
  • Professors who aren’t Snape, Sprout, and McGonagall! What about Professor Sinistra or some of the other less prominent teachers? For that matter, what about depictions of the kids in a classroom setting, aside from Potions?
  • Here’s a tough one! Let’s see someone illustrate that weird scene when Filch is bandaging Snape’s nasty leg wound? Or when Hagrid kisses McGonagall on the cheek? (Yes, that happened…) Look for those odd scenes that we easily forget and show us what you think it looked like!
  • Other scenes that get little artist love: the Flying Keys, Scabbers biting Goyle, wizarding sweets that don’t just look like the movie props, Peeves dropping wastepaper baskets on people’s heads, Snape taking the book from Harry in the courtyard, the Howler at breakfast, Colin Creevey wanting a photo with Lockhart chiming in, Ron coughing up slugs, the Headless Hunt, Harry and Draco’s first meeting at Madam Malkins’ … the list goes on and on.

Send your artwork to [email protected]. By submitting it, you are giving us permission to display your work on the Lexicon. We would like to include your name with your artwork so you are properly credited, so when you send your work let us know what name to use. Please also include a way to get a hold of you so that if we decide to feature your work as part of our regular collection we can contact you for more details. All artwork we display remains the property of the artist and they retain all copyright.

Platform Nine and Three-Quarters

It’s not hard for us Muggles to find King’s Cross Station. It’s not hard to find Platforms 9 and 10 either. If you visit there, however, you’re going to find some big differences from what you see in the films — and even from what you read in the books. Here are some little-known facts about Platform 9 and 3/4:

Rowling doesn’t describe a brick wall as the entrance. The books describe a metal barrier with a ticket stand in the middle.

He wheeled his trolley forward cautiously until it was right against the barrier and pushed with all his might. The metal remained solid. (CS5)

In a moment, they had fallen sideways through the solid metal onto platform nine and three- quarters and looked up to see the Hogwarts Express, a scarlet steam engine, puffing smoke over a platform packed with witches and wizards seeing their children onto the train. (PA5)

Rowling was actually thinking of platforms 9 and 10 at Euston Station when she was writing her description and she wasn’t in London to check.

I wrote Platform 9 3/4 when I was living in Manchester, and I wrongly visualized the platforms, and I was actually thinking of Euston, so anyone who’s actually been to the real platforms 9 and 10 in King’s Cross will realize they don’t bear a great resemblance to the platforms 9 and 10 as described in the book. So that’s just me coming clean, there. I was in Manchester, I couldn’t check. (HPM)

The platforms at the two stations have one key difference: the barrier at Euston is very clearly a metal barrier. The one at King’s Cross is, well, a bit more complicated. It’s mostly framed glass and ticket boxes. Here are photos of both stations so you can compare for yourself:

Euston Station

King’s Cross Station

Platforms 9 and 10 at King’s Cross are not in the main train shed, the one with the beautiful vaulted ceiling. They’re in a smaller train shed off to the left as you enter the station. Essayist and researcher Ravenclaw Rambler suggests that the magical platform may actually exist crossways rather than in line with the existing tracks. as shown in his map:

Want to learn more?

In Search of … Platform Nine and Three Quarters

Harry Potter in London

The Great Hall

Walking into the Great Hall in the first film is an exciting moment. However, the arrangement is not quite accurate. Based on text elsewhere in the books, the door from the Entrance Hall is actually located on the side wall nearest the Slytherin table.

Here’s a more accurate plan of the ground floor of Hogwarts, showing the placement of the Entrance Hall and the Great Hall as well as the positioning of the various House tables.

Coming up next week…

We’re going to make a slight diversion for a week and just focus on Quidditch. We’ll look at the Hogwarts teams, the professional teams in Britain and Ireland, and the international teams. We’ll dig up some interesting facts about everyone’s favorite Wizarding sport! The week after that, we will dive into book two.

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In the Harry Potter Lexicon Minute podcast you’ll hear the voices of our editors sharing some of the many little things which delight us about the Wizarding World. In each podcast, one to two minutes in length, we’ll talk about anything from cool trivia and interesting canon passages to the latest Wizarding World news. We hope you’ll join us! And we’d love to hear from you as well. Feel free to use the comment section on the blogpost for each podcast to post your thoughts.


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