Canon discussion

Canon Celebration: The Schoolbooks and Famous Wizard Cards

By and

Canon Celebration: The Schoolbooks and Famous Wizard Cards

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

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.

Quidditch through the Ages

About the book

Chapter 1: The Evolution of the Flying Broomstick

Chapter 2: Ancient Broom Games

Chapter 3: The Game From Queerditch Marsh

Chapter 4: The Arrival of the Golden Snitch

Chapter 5: Anti-Muggle Precautions

Chapter 6: Changes in Quidditch Since the Fourteenth Century

Chapter 7: Quidditch Teams of Britain and Ireland

Chapter 8: The Spread of Quidditch Worldwide

Chapter 9: The Development of the Racing Broom

Chapter 10: Quidditch Today


Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

The book: 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:

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

Famous Wizard Cards: Analysis and Discussion by ibid

Mapping the Harry Potter Timeline by Troels Forchhammer

The Death Eaters: A Guide to Who Was Where by Liam

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

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 for the Famous Wizards or which illustrate things in the schoolbooks. Here are a few examples:

Four of the famous wizards:
Hesper Starkey and Mirabella Plunkett
Artemisia Lufkin and Thaddeus Thurkell (FW)

A grindylow and its easily breakable fingers (FB)

The Quidditch foul of “blagging” (QA6)

The Nimbus 2000 broom (QA9), designed by famous wizard Devlin Whitehorn (FW)

A plimpy, which are considered to be pests by Merpeople (FB)

Artwork Challenge

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:

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.

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