Essayist / Artist / Senior editor

Steve VanderArk

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The Harry Potter Canon

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

I read my first Harry Potter book in 1998 and was immediately hooked. Discussions with other adult fans on the brand spankin' new Internet got me thinking ... we needed a reference to go to when we were debating canon. I started the Harry Potter Lexicon in 1999 and went live in 2000.

I'm definitely an adult fan, closer in age to McGonagall than to Harry, with a wife, five grown kids, two grandkids, a dog, a house in the suburbs, and a great job teaching theatre to elementary kids. In my spare time I putter around my organic garden, work on the Lexicon, cook, play video games, and watch NASCAR on TV. Yes, NASCAR.

Steve VanderArk (SVA)
AKALexicon Steve
Hogwarts HouseRavenclaw
Ilvermorny HousePukwudgie
Calls HomeFort Worth, Texas
Favorite HP BookOrder of the Phoenix
Favorite CharacterGinny Weasley
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 / Lexicon Podcast / Website news
Episode 18 of the Harry Potter Lexicon Podcast is very special, for multiple reasons. Our first ever Live Podcast (with live Canon questions from the audience) Our first ever Video Podcast (don’t worry, you can still listen to audio!) We pushed the New Lexicon Live… Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion / Lexicon Podcast
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 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 Pottermore / Rants
I received an email from Pottermore Insider informing me that there are new Bertie Bots Beans scattered through Pottermore. I jumped on that and spent a pleasant three minutes finding them. Three minutes. If that. And it occurred to me at the end of my short search why I find Pottermore delightful and wonderful and, well, a little boring. Read More
Posted by in Theories / What's New
For many years, fans spent most of their time online trying to figure out the mysteries in the Harry Potter books. In fact, the Lexicon was born out of those discussions back in 1998, when the group Harry Potter for Grown Ups was a hotbed of theorizing and hypothesizing. Back then, there was no Read More