Editor

Steve VanderArk

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
Posted by in Canon discussion
Admit it. Even though you've read the Harry Potter books three, four, er--twenty times before, when you get to the end of some chapters, you just HAVE to turn the page and keep reading. You even get a tiny reminder of that thrill you had the first time you read it, that shiver of excitement that made you charge on into the next chapter at 3am, even when you had somewhere to be first thing the next morning. We've all been there. So to celebrate our shared unashamed love affair with the Harry Potter books, here's a list of Rowling's "4 Best Cliffhanger Chapter Endings" from the first three books: Read More
Posted by in The Films
Oh, of course there are a million things that I wish had been included in the films. But there are a few really weird things that I really would have loved to have seen included. Here are my top three Weird Canon Moments: Read More
Posted by in What's New
This recommendation is way overdue, and I apologise for taking so long to post it. John Kearns, formerly an editor here at the Lexicon, is putting together a fantastic reader’s guide to the Harry Potter series called The Harry Potter Companion. The Companion offers commentary on each chapter of… Read More
Posted by in Characters
From Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone “I’m the sixth in our family to go to Hogwarts. You could say I got a lot to live up to. Bill and Charlie have already left – Bill was head boy and Charlie was captain of Quidditch. Now Percy’s a prefect. Fred… Read More
Posted by in Characters
From Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Ginny to Draco: “Leave him alone, he didn’t want all that!” said Ginny. It was the first time she had spoken in front of Harry. She was glaring at Malfoy. “Potter, you’ve got yourself a girlfriend!” drawled Malfoy. Ginny went scarlet…… Read More
Posted by in Characters
From Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone The Sorting Hat: “Hmmm,” said a small voice in his ear. “Difficult. Very difficult. Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind either. There’s talent, oh my goodness yes — and a nice thirst to prove yourself, now that’s interesting…. So where… Read More
Posted by in Characters
From Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone ‘The firs’-years, Professor McGonagall,’ said Hagrid. ‘Thank-you, Hagrid. I will take them from here.’ (PS7) ‘Welcome to Hogwarts,’ said Professor McGonagall. ‘The start-of-term banquet will begin shortly, but before you take your seats in the Great Hall, you will be sorted… Read More
Posted by in Characters
From Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets To Draco: “I would remind you that it is not – prudent – to appear less than fond of Harry Potter, not when most of our kind regard him as the hero who made the Dark Lord disappear – ah, Mr. Borgin.”… Read More
Posted by in Characters
From Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix “Wit beyond measure is man’s greatest treasure,” said Luna in a sing-song voice. (OP10) “She didn’t enjoy it very much,” Luna informed him. “She doesn’t think you treated her very well, because you wouldn’t dance with her. I don’t think… Read More
Posted by in Characters
From Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone ‘Gran, I’ve lost my toad again.’ ‘Oh, Neville,’ he heard the old woman sigh. (PS6) ‘Sorry,’ he [Neville] said, ‘but have you seen a toad at all?’ When they [Ron and Harry] shook their heads, he wailed. ‘I’ve lost him!… Read More
Posted by in Characters
From Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Dumbledore: “I would trust Hagrid with my life.” (PS1) To Dumbledore: “–house was almost destroyed, but I got him out all right before the Muggles started swarmin’ around. He fell asleep as we was flyin’ over Bristol.” (PS1) “Ah, shut… Read More
Posted by in Characters
 From Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone To Minerva McGonagall: “It’s lucky it’s dark. I haven’t blushed so much since Madame Pomfrey told me she liked my new earmuffs.” (PS1) To Minerva McGonagall: “Famous before he can walk and talk! Famous for something he won’t even remember! Can’t you… Read More
Posted by in Characters
From Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone “You are here to learn the subtle science and exact art of potionmaking,” he began. […] I don’t expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human… Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion
Music songs by title “A Cauldron Full of Hot, Strong Love” performed by Celestina Warbeck (HBP16) A “particularly jazzy number” with sentimental associations for Mrs. Weasley, as she and her husband danced to it when they were eighteen. Its lyrics include: Oh, come and stir my cauldron, And if you do… Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion
In various places around the Lexicon, ages are given for the main characters. Some character’s ages are fairly easy to determine. However, the ages of the Marauders and those who were at Hogwarts with them are a bit tricky to work out. Rather than explain over and over how we… Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion
Magic is what sets folks in the wizarding world apart from their Muggle neighbors. Magic is the heart and soul of the wizarding culture in the same way that science and technology are the heart and soul of Muggle culture. Where a Muggle would pound a stake into the ground… Read More
Posted by in About Sources
Chapter synopses: William Silvester Chapter 1 – Owl Post In which we are reminded of Harry’s previous adventures and told of his summer holidays, he receives birthday cards and presents from his friends, and Harry learns what Ron and Hermione did during the summer. Chapter 2 – Aunt Marge’s Big… Read More
Posted by in About Sources
synopses: William Silvester   Chapter 1 – The Riddle House In which we learn of the mysterious murders in the Riddle House fifty years ago, how Frank Bryce was accused but released for lack of evidence, and how the Riddle House fell into disrepair. In the present, Frank interrupts a… Read More
Posted by in Website news
Just thought I’d keep y’all up to date on what we’ve been working on. Aside from the usual (and fairly boring) site management stuff, Michele and I have been exapnding the Reader’s Guides for various chapters of the books. I have been working my way through Philosopher’s Stone lately and just added… Read More
Posted by in Website news
Just added new maps to the Atlas of Hogwarts and a new essay by Cornelia Remi which is simply outstanding. There will be more to come. We’re hard at work getting things ready for the 16th…which is barely two weeks away!… Read More
Posted by in Essays
The ‘Error’ in the Title Graphic This is an email I recently received: Subject: Flaw on the picture on the main page I don’t know if this has been called to your attention before, but there’s a typo on the main page. The word “complete” is spelled “compleat” in the… Read More
Posted by in Website news
I’m working very hard to catch up on essays which have been waiting in my work pile for so long. This evening I added one entitled …and I Grew Up With Percy…which I really enjoy. A beautiful drawing by Marta T. of the Weasley siblings appears on the page, too. Read More
Posted by in About Sources
The following changes were released by Rowling’s publishers in the summer of 2004. As of summer, 2005, they had not been included in Scholastic editions. However, both Bloomsbury and Raincoast editions now incorporate the changes. The translators, who work from the Bloomsbury text, are incorporating these changes into their editions of the book as well. PS… Read More
Posted by in Website news
Well, you might already see one thing that’s new…the font on this page. We’re gradually changing every page in the Lexicon to this new font, Georgia, since it’s designed to be particularly easy to read on a web page. Josh and I are changing each page that we edit, so… Read More
Posted by in Website news
I’ve done a lot of editing of the timeline, thanks to helpful suggestions and error-checking from a lot of you. Thanks so much for helping out. I also added a new page, a “year calendar,” which lists birthdays and other dates of importance through the year. This will obviously… Read More
Posted by in Website news
I’ve just uploaded something that I’ve been working on for the last week. It’s a new analysis of the Weasley children’s ages which includes sort of the history of Gryffindor Quidditch over the last decade or so. I finished it this weekend while camping at Ludington State Park in Michigan. Go… Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion / Characters
“How old are Bill and Charlie?” someone asked Jo. Very simple question. Her response to that simple question was just as simple. Charlie is two years older than Percy, and Bill is two years older than Charlie. Simple. So what’s the big deal? Unfortunately, this answer just doesn’t work. The… Read More
Posted by in Website news
A few of the cooler new things on the Lexicon: added a site to the page for the first film which gives 360° virtual tours of various sites in Britain, including some HP film locations added a new site to the Resources page which had me laughing out loud…it’s a dictionary of… Read More
Posted by in Website news
After several months of delay, I finally have uploaded an essay that Prefect Marcus sent me. It’s a very well-done analysis of the “potions riddle” which Hermione solved on the way to finding the Stone under Hogwarts. I have also uploaded a new essay by Connie Ann Kirk, the author of the… Read More
Posted by in Website news
I’ve just added an essay by Troels Forchhammer called Mapping the Harry Potter Timeline. Troels is meticulous in his analysis of the various clues and theories which have been debated back and forth for the past few years by fans. He includes all known references from all the books and… Read More
Posted by in About Sources
by Steve VanderArk and Bob Williams 1990 Ideas for Harry Potter and the wizard world form in J.K. Rowling’s mind while she is on an interminable train journey from Manchester to King’s Cross. 1991 J.K. Rowling goes to Portugal to teach English as a foreign language. There, she writes ten… Read More
Posted by in Website news
Another wonderful essay has just been added, this one called “How Safe Is Privet Drive?“, written by Jen Reese. To complement the essay I’ve included another beautiful drawing by Marta T. based on the first chapter of Order of the Phoenix. Read More
Posted by in Essays
At Nimbus 2003, several people asked if they could see my notes. It never occurred to me that anyone would be interested, but I was sort of flattered that they asked. So I figure that there might just be a few curious people out there who might want to see… Read More
Posted by in Website news
I am delighted to announce that a new essay has been added to the Lexicon, this one delving into the possible connections between Ginny and Harry. The author of this essay, Water Witch, emailed me the other day to point out, without rancor, that she had indeed submitted this essay to… Read More
Posted by in What's New
I finally got around to editing and publishing an essay from my dear friend Penny Linsenmayer, who was in many ways the person most responsible for Harry Potter for Grown Ups being what it is today. Penny’s essay is entitled “Partners and Friends: The Evolving Relationship Between Harry and Hermione.” I… Read More
Posted by in Website news / What's New
A couple of new things to mention: Sandra Diersing has given me permission to include on the Dumbledore page a very perceptive short essay of hers about socks. I’ve posted a page which details some of the more interesting facts and speculations about the whole timeline question. This page will answer… Read More
Posted by in Essays
Charms magic can be used to move objects in various ways. Locomotion Magic The basic spell for moving an object is Locomotor, which comes from two Latin words meaning roughly “move from its place.” First years learn to move objects by magic; the practical part of Flitwick’s exam for the first years… Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion / Essays
Various types of spells and items make things vanish, but in different ways. Vanishing The basic form of Vanishing is the Vanishing Spell. Taught in fifth year Transfiguration (OP13), this spell is usually cast using the incantation Evanesco which is Latin for “vanish.” McGonagall starts students out with Vanishing invertebrates—snails—and then works them up to mice… Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion / Essays
The Wizards’ Council The Wizards’ Council was the predecessor to the Ministry of Magic (FBx). Barberus Bragge was the Chief of the Council in 1269. Burdock Muldoon was Chief of the Wizards’ Council in the fourteenth century (FB, QA). He was followed in office by Elfrida Clagg, who is generally regarded as being more enlightened than her predecessors… Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion / Essays
Why didn’t Harry talk Parseltongue to the basilisk? Good question. There are a couple of times in the books where Harry seems to ignore the obvious solution. Another great example is when he was stuck in the trick stair, under his invisibility cloak, when the egg was screeching and he dropped the Marauder’s Map. There it lies almost within his grasp, and he… Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion / Essays
with updates by Michele L. Worley How can a one-year-old baby survive the destruction of his parents’ home? Hey, a Killing Curse is one thing, but how could Harry block tons of bricks and wood crashing down on top of him? As if that weren’t enough, the kid was on the second floor of… Read More