Where canon information comes from besides the seven Harry Potter books is a long-running question. What we at the Lexicon count as canon is set out on our Sources page. This week we are looking at a few of the other rich sources of canon, including the “replica” schoolbooks of Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and the Famous Wizards cards.
Ready to discover more about these? Onwards we go!
Canon Thoughts: Early Interviews by Steve VanderArk
Canon Thoughts: Scholastic Interviews by Steve VanderArk
Episode 10: “This gap is where it all changed …” by Steve VanderArk
Episode 26: Fantastic Beasts and the 2001 thirst for canon by Nick Moline and Steve VanderArk
Why Harry Potter needs Quidditch by Trish Drasnin
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.
Quidditch through the Ages
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them
When do these books “happen” in the timeline? The two schoolbooks are first mentioned in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is one of the set texts on Harry’s first year booklist (PS5), although it is unclear which class it will be for as they don’t have Care of Magical Creatures class until their third-year. Hermione Granger checks the book Quidditch Through the Ages out from the Library before their first flying class, with Madam Hooch (PS9).
Also, what about the information contained in the Daily Prophet Newsletters – even though these were only distributed to club members in the UK? The events in these are assumed by the Lexicon to have taken place between 1992 and 1993, although the dates printed on them are:
- Daily Prophet Newsletter 1: 31 July 1998,
- Daily Prophet Newsletter 2: 8 February 1999,
- Daily Prophet Newsletter 3: 1 June 1999 and
- Daily Prophet Newsletter 4: 1 October 1999.
In the books, the Famous Wizards cards are found inside Chocolate Frog packets (PS6). The cards we have for Muggles were issued in several forms and over several time periods, as discussed on their page and in Lexicon editor ibid’s essay Famous Wizard Cards: Analysis and Discussion.
Similarly, for the information from Wizard of the Month (some of which duplicate the Famous Wizard cards), these appeared starting from May 2004 until the last one for October 2007 on J K Rowling’s original website.
Is Jo’s Website Canon? by Steve VanderArk
Mapping the Harry Potter Timeline by Troels Forchhammer
Timeline Facts and Questions by Steve VanderArk
Canon Celebration: Quidditch! by Steve VanderArk and Trish Drasnin
The Curious Incident of the Flobberworm in the Night-Time by Professor Koniphorus Swamp
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 for the Famous Wizards or which illustrate things in the schoolbooks. Here are a few examples:
We have tons of images of dragons and Dementors, Divination class, Professor Snape and Potions lessons. 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 or events in the series. If we really like your work, we may feature it in the Lexicon! Here are some suggestions from these chapters:
- illustrations of the various Quidditch fouls (QA6)
- Quidditch moves, other than the Wronski Feint (QA10)
- moments from the famous Quidditch matches mentioned in Quidditch Through the Ages (QA7, QA8)
- the ancient broom games of Stichstock, Swivenhodge and Shuntbumps (QA2)
- The Banchory Bangers Quidditch Team trying to capture a Hebridean Black dragon as a team mascot (QA6)
- alternative images of the lesser known Famous Wizards (FW) or Ministers for Magic (MoM)
- beasts other than the Hippogriff being studied by Harry and his fellow students in Care of Magical Creatures class
- dangerous magical creatures other than pixies being tackled in Defence Against the Dark Arts class
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 Feature: Inconsistencies
Rowling first created her world in the early 1990s, plotting out the saga and working out all the details. Then as the subsequent books were written, she expanded that world with more and more details of the culture, history, and personalities. Over all that work from the early 1990s to 2007 and beyond, Rowling made very, very few errors, which is really quite amazing. However, a few inconsistencies did occur. For example, the Famous Wizard card for Bowman Wright, the inventor of the Golden Snitch, lists his birth and death as 1492-1560. However, the book Quidditch Through the Ages indicates that the Golden Snitch was invented in the 1300s. If you’re curious about these kinds of “errors” in canon, you can find them in the Lexicon tagged with the word “inconsistencies.” You’ll find explanatory notes in the Commentary section toward the bottom of most pages with that tag.
From the Atlas: Snidget Reservation
The Modesty Rabnott Golden Snidget Reservation was established in the fourteenth century in Somerset, England, to preserve the Golden Snidget from overhunting and Quidditch-induced harm. It was named after Modesty Rabnott who saved one of the birds during a Quidditch match in 1269.
The county of Somerset has a number of areas which would be suited for this reservation, including the Somerset Levels, an area of wetlands, and Exmoor, a vast moorland. Quidditch matches are played in secluded areas of Exmoor, so perhaps the Reservation is located on the moor as well.
Coming up next week…
We start Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix next week. This is Steve’s favourite book and the book that is the start of the darker tone of the events, as Harry grows into his fate.