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 MoreEpisode 19: The Grand Circle Tour of the Lexicon•
As you may know, part of the reason we were hurrying to get the new Lexicon online was because, for the first time in nine years, Potter Fans all have something worth getting us to a bookstore at midnight. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the script of the two part play… Read MoreWelcome to the New Harry Potter Lexicon!•
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 MoreEpisode 18: We're LIVE!•
Many fans never even noticed that there was a difference. But it’s true. In the Bloomsbury version, Trelawney’s first name is Sybill. In the US, it’s Sibyll. Note the switching of the ‘y’ there. So what’s up with that? For years, I just noted the difference on the Lexicon and left it… Read MoreEpisode 17: Trademarks, Contracts, and Butterbeer•
I’m sure you’ve seen things online where writers take great pleasure in finding holes in the plot of the Harry Potter stories. There are memes floating around, blog posts, and videos on YouTube with titles like “10 Dumbest Harry Potter Plot Holes.” Now, it’s not that the Harry Potter stories… Read MoreFive Moments That Show off Rowling's Storytelling Magic•
I haven’t read the books for awhile now. I mean really read them, as opposed to looking things up. I have a feeling that’s true for a lot of us. So when I do read passages in the course of my research, I often spot things that I had forgotten, little… Read MoreEpisode 16: So How Does the Map Work Anyway?•
Steve introduces a new series with this episode to coincide with the new version of the Harry Potter Lexicon website, and also introduces a new co-host, Nick Moline. They discuss the new website, for which Nick is the programmer, and then delve into the mysterious Marauder's Map, answering the age-old fan question of why <insert name here> didn't see <insert another name here> on the map? Read MoreThe Voldemort Effect on the Gold Market•
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 MoreSorting is back on 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 MoreTalking about the Lexicon on Mugglenet Academia•
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!… Read MoreWhere is the new Lexicon?•
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 MoreWhen was Charlie born? A Canon Conundrum•
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 MoreMore Pottermore magic•
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 MoreMysteries about the Map•
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 MoreEpisode 15: The one who is both brave AND clever•
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 More3 Cool Things We Learn About Harry in Goblet of Fire Chapter 9•
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 MoreHogwarts Letter mysteries: Who delivers them and when?•
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 MoreThe time the US editors screwed up a Harry Potter book•
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 MoreWho says Quidditch is stupid?•
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 More9 Interesting Canon Facts from Pottermore•
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 MoreWhere did the time go?•
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 MoreWhat is the US equivalent of the Ministry of Magic?•
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 MoreFive errors in the original text of book one and how they were fixed•
In the summer of 2004, Bloomsbury released new editions of the Harry Potter books. These new editions featured a slew of changes to the original text. Some of the changes were simple fixes for typos. For example, on the third line of page 15 of Philosopher’s Stone, the word… Read MoreSix errors in the Harry Potter films that confuse fans•
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 More4 Great Cliffhanger Chapter Endings•
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 MoreWeird Canon Moments•
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 MoreEpisode 14: "It's the Mirror all over again."•
Steve talks about the upcoming Potter play, the latest Pottermore updates, various arcana from the Book of Spells, and sources which may or may not be canon. Then he finally tackles the complexities of the seventh book and explains why, for the entire series to make sense, the Hallows are essential and Harry's final confrontation with Voldemort absolutely cannot be violent. Read MoreAbout the book: In Search of Harry Potter•
In Search of Harry Potter a travel memoir by Steve VanderArk How did this book come about? A few years ago I did a couple of talks at Nimbus 2003 in Orlando, Florida, the first Harry Potter convention. One of them was about the geography of Harry Potter. Read MoreEpisode 13: "The budding new baby hero!"•
Steve digs into the interview archives, discussing Rowling’s control of her story and her characters, then explores the murky challenge of finding name sources, discovers the not-so-murky Grimmauld Place in London, and discusses the essential elements of book six which allow us to truly understanding book seven. Show links: The Lexicon on… Read MoreEpisode 12: "Why weren't we told about this sooner?"•
Steve chats about Rowling's take on "official" Harry Potter, then discusses different modes of storytelling in book five, fan recommendations for best re-reads, how Sectumsepra just might be necessary, and how Molly Weasley rocks long before her showdown with Bellatrix. Read MoreA wondrous website•
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 MorePuzzles, Mysteries, and Loose Ends•
Stuff we still wonder about, even after book seven … the other secret passage “There are seven in all. Now, Filch knows about these four” — he pointed them out — “but we’re sure we’re the only ones who know about these. Don’t bother with the one behind the mirror… Read MoreQuotes by and about Ron Weasley•
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 MoreQuotes by and about Ginny Weasley•
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 MoreQuotes by and about Harry Potter•
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 MoreQuotes by and about Minerva McGonagall•
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 MoreQuotes by and about Lucius Malfoy•
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 MoreQuotes by and about Luna Lovegood•
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 MoreQuotes by and about Neville Longbottom•
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 MoreQuotes by and about Rubeus Hagrid•
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 MoreQuotes by and about Albus Dumbledore•
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 MoreQuotes by and about Severus Snape•
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 MoreMusic, Rhyme, and Dance•
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