• Essay
Posted by in Canon discussion / Essays
Where is the Burrow—Harry’s second home (his first is Hogwarts, of course, not Privet Drive!)? Ottery St. Catchpole The books give the Burrow’s location as just outside the village of Ottery St. Catchpole, but give no direct clues as to where this is. The similarity of the name to Ottery St. Mary, in Devon has… Read More
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The Hut-on-the-Rock holds a key place in the life story of Harry Potter.  It was here, on his eleventh birthday, that he encountered the world of wizardry for the first time since infancy. But where was it? The address on the letter brought by Hagrid in PS4 is not very helpful: Harry Potter, The Floor, Hut-on-the-Rock,… Read More
• Article
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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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Presented at Lumos 2006 Las Vegas, Nevada 29 July 2006[*] How wonderful it is that the second chapter of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is titled “Spinner’s End.” Wonderful, because, if read ironically, it refers not only to a place, but to Severus Snape’s fate, a rubric revealing that the… 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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After walking—or rather riding—up the staircase to the Headmaster’s office, one knocks on the door, enters, and is greeted not only by the face of the Headmaster, or Headmistress, but by soft snores coming from the wall. We are first introduced to the Headmaster’s office, and the decorations it contains, in Chamber of Secrets (CS12). Here,… Read More
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The newly released Black family tree, now revealed in its full glory, is the topic of considerable discussion and is a source of considerable information on the relatedness of the various pure-blood  wizard lines. Many familiar names show up on that tree, including Weasley (blasted off, of course). Sirius Black comments in Order of the Phoenix, “Molly and I are… Read More
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Since the arrival of Half-Blood Prince on July 16th, 2005, Harry Potter fans have been endlessly searching for Horcruxes. We find ourselves repeating the Horcrux possibilities just like Harry does in Half-Blood Prince: “the cup, the locket, the snake, something of Gryffindor or Ravenclaw’s . . . .” (HBP30). Several Horcrux identity theories have been circulating, with claims ranging from Tom Riddle’s mouth organ to Gryffindor’s old toothbrush. After reading… Read More
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The Hogwarts Express has been the subject of various essays exploring its nature and function. As has been plausibly noted elsewhere on this site, it isn’t really a steam engine, but rather a magical transportation device that mimics a Muggle equivalent in external form and function. This is consistent with the general trend in Wizard “technology,” which seems… Read More
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“One day,” said Hermione, sounding thoroughly exasperated, “you’ll read Hogwarts, A History, and perhaps that will remind you that you can’t Apparate or Disapparate inside Hogwarts.” (OP23) “Well, he [Dumbledore] can’t have Disapparated!” cried Umbridge. “You can’t inside this school—” (OP27) Quietly, tentatively, Harry spoke into the darkness. “Kreacher?” There was a very… 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
• Essay
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  A pile of critical rubbish has been composting around J. K. Rowling [Editor’s Note: The link provided is to an archive of jkrowling.com, which was superseded by Pottermore.] and her Harry Potter books ever since they were discovered by young (and not-so-young) readers and became phenomenal best sellers. The charges, briefly, as these. (1)… Read More