• Essay
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In an interview with The Leaky Cauldron and MuggleNet in July 2005, Rowling said, “Dumbledore’s guesses are never very far wide of the mark. I don’t want to give too much away here, but Dumbledore says, ‘There are four out there, you’ve got to get rid of four, and then… Read More
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We saw in Half-Blood Prince that Hepzibah Smith was distantly related to Helga Hufflepuff and that Hufflepuff’s gold cup was in her possession. We also saw that Salazar Slytherin’s line ends with T.M. Riddle/Lord Voldemort through the Gaunt family, which was in possession of Slytherin’s gold locket and a Slytherin family heirloom, the Peverell ring. But we haven’t been given direct information identifying the family… Read More
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Considerable analysis has gone into the ages of the Quidditch-playing Weasley brothers, reaching the conclusion that most of the information which J.K. Rowling gives us regarding Gryffindor’s team prior to Harry’s arrival at Hogwarts is inconsistent. However, these arguments are based on a number of assumptions which are not provable… Read More
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The State of Play at Hogwarts Quidditch is the principal wizard sport and the school sport of Hogwarts, so given the outstanding natural abilities of J.K. Rowling’s main protagonist, it unsurprisingly forms a major recurring element in the series, including an eventful visit to the Quidditch World Cup in Goblet of Fire. The four houses of… Read More
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Harry’s Unanswered Question “Professor, what happened to your—?” “I have no time to explain now,” said Dumbledore. “It is a thrilling tale, I wish to do it justice.” (HBP4) At least four times in Half-Blood Prince, Harry asks Dumbledore to explain what happened to his right hand. Each time, Dumbledore smiles and implies that… Read More
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As the last Harry Potter book draws ever nearer, we are all scrambling to organize and finalize theories. So, anyone who’s an HP fan must have heard of several ships[*] from the Marauder’s Era. I’ll refer to them as m-ships in this essay to make life easier. These m-ships basically put together two of the… Read More
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Within the Harry Potter stories are many scenes that can be analyzed astronomically. As both an astronomer and a teacher, these interest me, and so I will present such analysis here. My goal is not to criticize Rowling when she is inaccurate in her astronomy (or, for that matter, to praise her when she… Read More
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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