"The Aurors are part of the Rotfang Conspiracy, I thought everyone knew that. They're working from within to bring down the Ministry of Magic with a combination of dark magic and gum disease."
Luna Lovegood - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
I've been a Harry Potter fan since 2001, when I was looking for something to read to my sons at bedtime. I read chapter one of Philosopher's Stone to them one night and then once they were asleep I read the rest of the book! I've been a committed fan ever since. I'm a teacher and I just love sharing the power and joy of Harry Potter with students. I have run Harry Potter themed workshops where I channel Professor McGonagall and try to share the magic with new generations of dedicated readers. I also created a resource book for teachers (Teaching Harry: Using the Harry Potter series to engage, enrich and extend high ability learners) to help them teach Harry Potter in the classroom. I'm British by birth, Australian by choice, and I'm currently following in Bill Weasley's footsteps and working in Egypt.
There comes a point as a Harry Potter fan when you think you have found or heard about all the connections between the series and the world of literature and mythology. And then, out of nowhere, another one smacks you in the face. I have just finished reading Paulo Coelho’s… Read MoreChocolate•
As any Muggle knows, chocolate is a truly magical substance. We see it in many forms throughout the Harry Potter novels – the birthday cake that Hagrid brings for Harry’s 11th birthday is a chocolate cake, chocolate eclairs and chocolate gateau are regularly served in Hogwarts’ feasts, and of course… Read MoreThe Smell of Love•
Love is obviously a powerful theme of the Harry Potter novels, but today I’d just like to talk about the powerful love potion amortentia, and how it induces the smell of what most attracts us. We first encounter amortentia in Slughorn’s classroom during his first potions lesson,… Read MoreWatch Out!•
This Lexicon Minute is about time. No, not time travel – I only have a minute and I’d be crazy to try and tackle time travel in that short time, although technically if I could manipulate time I could make that one minute last as long as I… Read MoreAnagrams Part 2•
In a previous episode we talked about the fun that fans have had searching for anagrams in the Harry Potter books, and how they fueled fan theories back when the series was still in progress. One popular pastime was hunting for anagrams in character names and wondering whether they… Read MoreAnagrams Part 1•
It’s clear to everyone who reads the Harry Potter books that J.K. Rowling is an accomplished wordsmith and a big fan of wordplay. She clearly delights in choosing just the right names for characters and other things in the wizarding world. With that in mind, I’d like to… Read MoreUnlucky Number Four•
In China the number four is considered unlucky, presumably because the Chinese word for four is very similar to the word for death. This association with bad luck seems to have followed the number four into the wizarding world. Four is sometimes seen as a source… Read MoreNumber Twelve•
Previously we talked about how often prime numbers feature in the Harry Potter books. Another number that crops up a lot is the number 12. 12 Grimmauld Place might be the first one that springs to mind, but we also have 12 uses of dragon’s blood;… Read MoreArithmancy•
Arithmancy is a branch of magic which deals with the magical properties of numbers, and Hermione tells us it’s her favourite subject. In previous episodes we’ve already talked about some of the interesting ways that J.K. Rowling uses numbers in the books, and if we look through an arithmancy lens… Read MorePrime Numbers•
Despite being a self-confessed math-phobic J.K. Rowling has certainly had some fun with numbers in the Harry Potter universe. In a previous episode we talked about wizard currency being built on prime numbers, with 29 knuts to a sickle and 17 sickles to a galleon. Prime numbers crop up… Read MoreWizard Currency•
You may notice on the homepage of the Lexicon that it always shows the current exchange rate between a galleon and a range of different worldwide currencies. But did you ever wonder how J.K. Rowling came up with this seemingly confusing system of wizard money? Hagrid explains… Read More