Editor

Steve VanderArk

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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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 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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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A comparison is inevitable between the Old Magic of the Harry Potter universe and the Magic From Before the Dawn of Time from C. S. Lewis’s Narnia books. Clearly there are similarities between the two, although they are not identical. Both the Harry Potter and the Narnia versions serve as a stronger, more intrinsic form… Read More
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We know that book 2 takes place in 1992 because Nearly Headless Nick holds his 500th Deathday Party in CS8. There’s a cake on the table of “food” that bears this inscription: SIR NICHOLAS DE MIMSY-PORPINGTON DIED 31ST OCTOBER, 1492 Obviously, if you add five hundred years to… Read More
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It seems a bit weird that everyone would have to go to London to get to Scotland. After all, for quite a few kids it would certainly be closer to go directly to Hogwarts from their homes or possibly to catch the train at some point along the route. Why do they all go to London?… Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion / Essays
Academics at Hogwarts are a curious mix of practical experience and rote learning. While the curriculum is dictated to some extent by the Ministry of Magic (GF14), each instructor is given considerable leeway in exactly what they teach and how they go about it. To be perfectly frank, some of the instructors at Hogwarts are very… Read More
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This page indicates all differences between the U.K. and U.S. editions of the second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.   pp. U.K. Edition U.S. Edition pp. 8 top-of-the-range top-of-the-line 3 10 fortnight two weeks 5 12 ice-creams ice cream 10 13 joint loin 10 21 was hard-done-by… Read More
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This page indicates all the differences found between the US and UK versions of the text of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Some differences appear in all the books (e.g. Minister of Magic/Minister for Magic) and these are listed on a separate page. If you spot a difference… Read More
Posted by in Essays
The way that witches and wizards think about everything, including spells, is completely different from the way we Muggles think about it. When we consider the mechanics of, say, aiming a spell at something, we ask “Muggle” questions like “Do you have to have line of sight?” that they would… Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion / Essays
Prejudice against Muggles compared to the attitude of Arthur Weasley (“bless them”) “Muggle-baiting”—the Shrinking Keys during the Voldemort years: Muggle killing and torturing at the Quidditch World Cup—Muggle torture, connected to Death Eaters Prejudice against Muggle-borns (Mudbloods) Salazar Slytherin—argued with Godric Gryffindor about admitting Muggle-born students Lucius and Draco Malfoy… Read More
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We don’t know at all where Godric’s Hollow is, although the fact that Harry “fell asleep…over Bristol” when Hagrid was transporting him on the flying motorcycle has been used to “prove” that Godric’s Hollow has to be in Wales. That isn’t by any means proven. In fact, I would argue that it’s highly un-likely that Godric’s Hollow is in Wales. Here’s what we do… Read More
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There are actually about three hundred, it would seem, although there is plenty of debate on the subject. Here’s the evidence from the books themselves: There are more or less ten students (depending on the vagarities of the Sorting) in each House per year, five boys and five girls. There were twenty broomsticks lying… Read More