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Canon Celebration: History of the Wizarding World

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Canon Celebration: History of the Wizarding World

One of the things that readers fall in love with about the books is the depth of information we are given – information that is often only peripheral to the plot, but nevertheless enriches our understanding of the magical world. Some of the more interesting tidbits pertain to the history of this world, the nooks and crannies of which we will explore in depth below.


The History of the History of the Wizarding World by Steve VanderArk

The changing Quidditch World Cup schedule by Nick Moline

Reader’s Guides:

Here are Reader’s Guides of chapters that include a healthy dose of wizarding history.

PS, Chapter 1: The Boy Who Lived

PS, Chapter 4: The Keeper of the Keys

CS, Chapter 9: The Writing on the Wall

CS, Chapter 13: The Very Secret Diary

CS, Chapter 15: Aragog

CS, Chapter 17: The Heir of Slytherin

PA, Chapter 10: The Marauder’s Map

PA, Chapter 18: Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs

PA, Chapter 19: The Servant of Lord Voldemort

GF, Chapter 1: The Riddle House

GF, Chapter 16: The Goblet of Fire

GF, Chapter 27: Padfoot Returns

GF, Chapter 30: The Pensieve

GF, Chapter 32: Flesh, Blood and Bone

GF, Chapter 33: The Death Eaters

OP, Chapter 4: Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place

OP, Chapter 5: The Order of the Phoenix

OP, Chapter 6: The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black

OP, Chapter 23: Christmas on the Closed Ward

OP, Chapter 28: Snape’s Worst Memory

HBP, Chapter 1: The Other Minister

HBP, Chapter 10: The House of Gaunt

HBP, Chapter 13: The Secret Riddle

HBP, Chapter 17: A Sluggish Memory

HBP, Chapter 20: Lord Voldemort’s Request

HBP, Chapter 23: Horcruxes

DH, Chapter 8: The Wedding

DH, Chapter 10: Kreacher’s Tale

DH, Chapter 18: The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore

DH, Chapter 21: The Tale of the Three Brothers

DH, Chapter 24: The Wandmaker

DH, Chapter 28: The Missing Mirror

DH, Chapter 29: The Lost Diadem

DH, Chapter 31: The Battle of Hogwarts

DH, Chapter 32: The Elder Wand

DH, Chapter 33: The Prince’s Tale

History of the Wizarding World

Before 100 A.D., Ancient Egypt and Greece

100-1400 A.D., The Medieval Era

1400-1692, Growing Distrust and Prejudice

1692-1881, The Wizarding World in Secret

1881-1945, The Rise and Fall of Grindelwald

1945-1960, Calm Between Wars

1960-1981, The Marauders and the First Rise of Voldemort

1981-1990, Voldemort in Hiding

1990-1998, The Second Rise and Defeat of Voldemort

1998-2017, The Post-War Years

2017-2025, The Next Generation

Canon Sources for Wizarding World History

The Black Family Tree

The Famous Wizard Cards

Online chat and interview transcripts

Lexicon’s Guide to Rowling’s Original Website


Timeline Facts and Questions by Steve VanderArk

Mapping the Harry Potter Timeline by Troels Forchhammer

Troubles with Time by Steve VanderArk

History of the Ministry by Steve VanderArk

Generations in the Wizarding World by Ebony AKA AngieJ

Wizards and World War I by William Silvester

The Early Life of Tom Riddle and the Second World War by Faisal M. Ahmad

When were Frank and Alice Longbottom attacked? by Rosie Payne

What Really Happened on the Night James and Lily Were Killed? by Steve VanderArk

Quirrell’s Leave of Absence by Melissa Erin Friedline

Interesting Artwork

Most of the artwork we have in our collection depicts the events in the Harry Potter novels. But there are a few pieces which illustrate more unusual moments in wizarding history. Here are a few examples:

Creaothceann (a broom game featuring cauldrons and flying rocks) (QA2)

Wendelin the Weird, a medieval witch who enjoyed being burned at the stake (PA1, FW)

The Potter family history – from Linfred of Stinchcombe to Harry Potter (WW)

Artwork Challenge

Our Artwork Challenge for all you fan artists out there is to bring to life historical events, places and figures, such as the following:

If we really like your work, we may feature it in the Lexicon! 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.

Special Section: When It All Falls Together

Goblin rebellions took place in the mid-1600s and 1700s. All the bits of information in various sources fit together to tell a compelling story.

Three Broomsticks as HQ

Three Broomsticks Pub in Hogsmeade.Thanks to Hermione and her wide-ranging reading habits, we find out that

“In ‘Sites of Historical Sorcery’ it says the inn was the headquarters for the 1612 goblin rebellion”
— Hermione about the wizarding village of Hogsmeade (PA5)

Somehow, in plain sight, the goblins are able to conspire and run their rebellions inside a pub also frequented by wizards.

N.B. It isn’t entirely clear, however, whether the book is talking about the Three Broomsticks or the Hog’s Head – they are both referred to as an “inn” in the novels, Hermione doesn’t specify and, sadly, we don’t have the above referenced book to check. Goblins probably drink in both taverns, but the Hog’s Head has the more dodgy reputation of the two. And, of course, Hagrid bought a three-headed dog from one of the “funny folk” who drink there (PS16), the pub was used for the illegal first meeting of Dumbledore’s Army (OP16), it was a meeting place for Voldemort’s followers (HBP20) and the owner helped students trapped in the school when Hogwarts was under Death Eater control (DH29) – so its history as a place used for dubious purposes continued. But, perhaps the Three Broomsticks was a less salubrious venue in the 17th and 18th centuries than it is in modern times.

Ministers for Magic fail and are replaced

In one of her essays for the original Pottermore website, J K Rowling’s list of historical Ministers for Magic includes:

Albert Boot, the Minister for Magic from 1747-1752, was ineffective at dealing with the goblin rebellions and removed after only a few years in office (MoM, PmP).

His successor, Basil Flack, only lasted two months in 1752, resigning after the werewolves joined the goblins in the rebellion (MoM, PmP).

Finally, Hesphaestus Gore became Minister for Magic that same year. He was an Auror, and using his enforcement experience to quash the goblin rebellions was successful – although there is some about his legacy (MoMPmP).

Goblin ringleader dies a few years later

From one of the W.O.M.B.A.T. tests on J K Rowling’s original website we learn that in 1762 the goblin rebel leader Vargot was killed in battle. After his death, with Minister Gore firmly in charge, it seems that the goblin rebellions died down (JKR-W3).

Goblin rights, however, are still disputed within the wizarding world and wish for possession of a wand by goblins is still a very sore bone of contention. Riots organised by the Brotherhood of Goblins (B.O.G.) take place in the 1990s (DP3).

Famous Witches and Wizards in History

Merwyn the Malicious, jinx and hex inventor

Ignatia Wildsmith, Floo powder specialist

Cyprian Youdle, an unftunate Quidditch referee

Yardley Platt is not a fan of goblins

Perseorus Parkinson is not a fan of Muggles

Elladora Ketteridge and Gillyweed

Jocunda Sykes and her long-distance broom travel first

Royston Idlewind and the Dissimulators and other stories from the History of the Quidditch World Cup

Coming up next week…

Next week, we look at the first ten chapters of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, a book with the excitement of a world-class Quidditch match and a dangerous school tournament.

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Tags: famous history Quidditch history