Editor

Steve VanderArk

Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
While I read these chapters, I always look for something interesting to record a podcast about. When I read chapter 21, no one thing stood out as the topic to discuss, but a couple of tidbits did catch my eye. I’ll run through them for you. First, I hadn’t… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
There are a number of new Harry Potter games coming out. They’re all mobile games, but my favorite Harry Potter game came out quite a few years before there was such a thing as a smartphone to play it on. Way back in 2001, Wizards of the Coast released a… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
I love this chapter. Rowling is on top of her game here. I talked about her skill at writing conversations in a previous episode, and she’s at it again in this chapter. The nuances of the conversations, first between the Trio and Hagrid and then between Hagrid and Umbridge, are… Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion / Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
In Chapter 8 of Chamber of Secrets, titled “The Deathday Party,” we get an up close look at the ghost of Gryffindor Tower, Sir Nicholas de Mimsey Porpington, aka Nearly Headless Nick. When Harry comes across him in the halls after Quidditch practice, Nick is reading a transparent… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
Chapter nineteen starts on a high note: Harry felt as though he were carrying some kind of talisman inside his chest over the following two weeks, a glowing secret that supported him through Umbridge’s classes and even made it possible for him to smile… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
I thoroughly enjoyed chapter 18 of Order of the Phoenix, so much so that I had trouble picking out one thing to talk about in this podcast. The text is just so rich with wonderful conversations and characterizations — just read through that marvelous scene with Peeves throwing… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
So as you know, I’ve been reading through Order of the Phoenix for the, I don’t know, maybe fortieth time, and that doesn’t include the dozen times I’ve listened to the audio version. The sentences feel wonderfully familiar and honestly, it’s like spending time with a dear friend. I guess… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
We’ve been exploring chapters from the fifth book in the Harry Potter series, The Order of the Phoenix. In several of these podcasts, I’ve marveled at the way Rowling can really bring us into the magical places in her books. The creaky, dusty old house in Grimmauld Place is… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
In this chapter, things really start heading downhill. Umbridge is appointed to be Hogwarts High Inquisitor — a name reminiscent of the horrors of the Spanish Inquisition. She begins harassing and demeaning the rest of the teaching staff immediately. These scenes where she stalks the classrooms of various… Read More
Posted by in Website news
In celebration of Harry’s first visit to Diagon Alley on July 31, we’re very excited to present the Wizarding World Currency Exchange to help all you Muggles in your magical shopping. Hagrid may think that seventeen Sickles to the Galleon is “easy enough,” but we Muggles find it complicated. Read More
Posted by in Website news
As of Saturday evening, 8 July 2017, we’re having some problems with the Lexicon, apparently due to the new version of Word Press to which we just upgraded. This may result in pages not Apparating onto your screen correctly. No need to contact the Department of Magical Transportation — they’re… Read More
Posted by in Fandom News
Josie has posted on her site blog some details about what happened to the Companion. She’s working on fixing all the links now and soon the site will be 100% safe again. You can read her post here: https://hp-companion.com/2017/06/02/sigh/#comment-47530 I’ve let her know that we’d be happy to help… Read More
Posted by in Characters
The editor for the Characters section of the Lexicon was Lisa Bunker who was also the founder of Accio Quote. So it was a natural fit for her to collect quotes by and about the main characters in the books as she worked to bring each character’s biography up to date. Read More
Posted by in Fandom News
Back in 2009, I posted about a wonderful Harry Potter website called The Harry Potter Companion. It’s run by an ex-Lexicon editor who did amazing work for our site for many years before leaving to take on other challenges. The Companion goes through the entire Harry Potter series, chapter… Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion / Rants
We all know the quotes. They’re turned into memes, they’re spouted by cosplayers — they seem to define the characters who said them. Except DID they say them? In many cases, the answer is no. Yes, Quirrell did say “Troll — in the dungeons — thought you ought to know” (PS10)… Read More
Posted by in Fandom News
LootCrate just announced the next installment of their spectacular “J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World” Crates: THE DARK ARTS Their website states: “There’s a darker side of magic and we’re exploring its depths with exclusively-created collectibles, apparel, replicas, and more showcasing the people, places, creatures, and things associated with the Dark Arts of… Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion / Lexicon Podcast / Theories
For the majority of Episode 25, Steve and Nick puzzle over the topic of Horcruxes, and more particularly how they are created and when Voldemort created each of his Horcruxes.  Listen in as we end up with more questions at the end then we had at the beginning.  We are back to audio only this week, but stay tuned, more Video podcasts will be coming soon. Read More
Posted by in Fandom News
For me, it started with a visit to my son’s house. We were hanging around chatting when I noticed a gray box on the bookshelf with a label on it reading “Firefly Cargo Crate.” I remarked about it since, you know, it was Firefly. He took it down and showed… Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion / Characters / Lexicon Podcast
Episode 22 of The Harry Potter Lexicon Podcast focuses on the character of Draco Malfoy. Steve and Nick start by talking about the latest news about the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie franchise, now announced to be five movies instead of three, and theorize on how far… Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion
Where did the name Hogwarts come from? Rowling answered that question in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald: A friend from London recently asked me if I remembered when we first saw Hogwarts. I had no idea what she was talking about until she recalled the day we went… Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion / Lexicon Podcast / Website news
Steve and Nick finally got a chance to sit down and talk about Cursed Child, some good, some not so good, and found it is very hard to steer away from the Time Travel rabbit hole.  So much stuff to talk about and we debate a few big issues on the story. SPOILER WARNING: Don't listen to this episode if you haven't read Cursed Child yet because we are not holding back on this episode. Read More
Posted by in Website news
If you’ve come to the Lexicon to research the characters, places, and events in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, you may have to wait a bit. We are creating many new entries and adding information to existing entries, but we aren’t filling in the main characters or events just yet. Read More
Posted by in Website news
Since we came out of beta, the number one request has been for alphabetical lists of characters, places, etc. Nick the Tech Wizard has been working on it ever since. This afternoon I tested it behind the scenes and it’s working great! Nick tells me there is a little more… Read More
Posted by in Website news / What's New
The Lexicon has been Transfigured! I am beyond excited to finally open the doors and bring all of you into the new, modern Harry Potter Lexicon. This project has been a four-year process, starting with long planning meetings over coffee back in 2012. About two years ago our team designed and… Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion
I know it’s a few days past April Fool’s Day, but don’t let that stop you from reading this wonderful piece by Bron Suchecki on the Monetary Metals website. Judging by the comments,  a number of readers of that website for serious investors made it quite far into the article before realizing… Read More
Posted by in Fandom News / Pottermore
It’s weird how excited I am about this. I mean, I don’t get all worked up about Potter polls or simulated Hogwarts classes or any of that. I’m just get excited about canon, okay? And online sorting hats aren’t canon, even if they’re on Pottermore. Except, ever since I was… Read More
Posted by in Website news / What's New
As the new site comes closer to being live, I spent some time as a guest on Mugglenet Academia podcast. We chatted about the 18-year history of Harry Potter fandom and about the plans and hopes for the new Lexicon in the 21st century. Give it a listen! http://www.mugglenet.com/2015/11/mugglenet-academia-lesson-38-the-harry-potter-lexicon-here-and-back-again-is-now-available-for-download/… Read More
Posted by in Website news / What's New
It’s almost here. As many of you know, two years ago, Nick Moline and I started working on a complete update and overhaul of the venerable Lexicon website. Our goal was to find a way to bring all the content of the Lexicon into a content management system to allow… Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion / Characters / Website news / What's New
We're in the process of creating a whole new Harry Potter Lexicon, as many of you know. There are currently 27 editors working on the project, all fans who are eager to share their knowledge of canon with the fan community. This truly is a fan project, and an international one. We have editors of all ages and from all over the world: Thailand, France, United States, Spain, Argentina, and more. As part of that process, I've been going through the Harry Potter timeline. I originally created this timeline in 2001 after the two schoolbooks came out and when Electronic Arts added a hundred new characters to the Harry Potter universe with dates of when they lived. Read More
Posted by in Pottermore
The folks over at Pottermore have waved their wands once more and produced a few more beautiful scenes from J.K. Rowling's version of the Potterverse. While we can hardly say that Pottermore is now complete -- they'll need to add a lot more scenes for that to happen -- at least we can be glad that we now have moments that span the entire series of novels. Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion
Today I received an interesting question in email from Katty Geltmeyer, a great fan friend of the Lexicon: "In PA, Lupin told Harry, Ron, and Hermione that he found out they were in the Shrieking Shack by using the marauders Map. But Harry and Hermione traveled back in time and were lurking around the Willow. How is it possible that Lupin didn't see the extra Harry and Hermione on the map?" Here's my opinion, based on canon. Read More
Posted by in Characters / Pottermore
Pottermore is a gold mine of interesting canon facts. Some of these are brand new but other facts just relate events and characters we've encountered before. Some other facts are clearly included to answer fan questions or explain perceived mistakes in canon. Here are a few particularly fun tidbits of canon information that make connections to elsewhere in canon: Read More
Posted by in Characters
Let’s admit it: sometimes it seems that Harry is something of a bumbler in the early books. He fails to ask the most obvious questions of the adults around him. He barely manages his schoolwork and doesn’t seem to be able to write an essay without relying on Hermione. And he comes… Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion
Most of the differences between the US and UK editions are very minor, simply changes to phrasing or terms to make the text easier to understand for American readers. However, a few differences are a little bigger than that. In a couple of cases, one version gives a nugget of canon information that the other misses entirely. Since canon facts are what the Lexicon is all about, we've been tracking these differences over the years. Here are a few interesting ones: Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion
Way back in the late 90s, the Harry Potter books came out in Britain first, long before the US editions. In fact, it took a whole year for Philosopher's Stone to be Transfigured into Sorcerer's Stone. During that year, the editors at Scholastic changed a lot more than the title. They replaced a lot of British terms which they assumed would confuse American readers. In some cases, I guess they were probably right. Many Americans would have no idea what a "bobble hat" or a "packet of crisps" was, and in the U.S. a "jumper" Read More
Posted by in Rants
Quidditch is awesome! Quidditch is exciting! Quidditch is the best sport in the world! Those Bludgers flying around, trying to smash into people! The Keepers hanging from their brooms to block a 10-point shot! The Seeker making a spectacular diving catch of the Golden Snitch and scoring 150 points! Wait, what? The Seeker scores 150 points in one go? Compared to only ten points for a goal? That's crazy. It doesn't make sense. I've read the argument any number of times: the number of points gained from a Snitch capture is WAY too large for the game to be fair. Your Chasers can play their hearts out for hours, scoring Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion
In her writing on Pottermore, Rowling has revealed a lot of new information about the wizarding world and the characters in it. Here are a few interesting tidbits: 1 – Hufflepuff has produced fewer Dark Wizards than any other house. 2 – The name ‘Ollivander’ is believed to mean ‘he… Read More
Posted by in Fandom News
Now this is a film I’d like to see. Muggle Quidditch originated at Nimbus, the first ever Harry Potter convention, in Orlando in 2003. I did the announcing for the first ever match, which was played in the ballroom of the hotel! I wonder if they have any photos from that… Read More
Posted by in The Films / Theories
Most long-term Lexicon readers will be familiar with the infamous Missing 24 Hours problem. It was a very popular topic of discussion way back in the day. This mystery first came to light in 2001 when I was writing the original Harry Potter timeline (subsequently copied by Warner Bros. and Scholastic, which I consider to be high praise indeed!). Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion
There's not much information in the canon about witches and wizards in the United States. Rowling mentions a couple of American Quidditch teams in Quidditch Through the Ages, including one in my home state of Texas, as well as the American broom game called Quodpot, and we all remember the cryptic mention of the Salem Witches' Institute in Goblet of Fire. However, buried in a news report from the currently-ongoing Quidditch World Cup in Patagonia was a very interesting little nugget Read More
Posted by in Rants / The Films
I love the Harry Potter films. I have dear friends who worked on them. I was on the set during the filming of Order of the Phoenix. David Heyman even told me that they used the Lexicon "every day" while they created the films. So don't mistake what I'm about to say for anything but loving criticism. The films are nothing more than very expensive fan fiction. They're made-up stories closely based on the Harry Potter books, created by people who are massive Harry Potter fans and who care very deeply about "getting it right," but who, for one reason or another, changed a lot of things. Sometimes they changed things for very good reasons. Sometimes, though, they seem to have changed things for no particular reason at all. I can't explain it, but there you go. However, for a lot of people, the films are Harry Potter. They've never read the books, or barely read them anyway. As far as they're concerned, Dementors attacked Harry and Dudley in an underpass below a highway. Snape died in a boathouse. And Harry fought Voldemort in an extended, violent duel at the end of the Battle of Hogwarts, punctuated by clever bon mots and death-defying falls from high places. But oh well. I really don't care. At least they're Potter fans! The more the merrier! Just do me a favor ... don't send me any more emails telling me that I screwed up on the Lexicon when I write that: Read More