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 MoreHogwarts Letter mysteries: Who delivers them and when?• Article
Everybody knows that your Hogwarts letter should arrive on your eleventh birthday. But careful reading suggests that no, it doesn’t. Harry’s only did by coincidence. The first letter actually arrived on July 24. It was only because of Uncle Vernon’s comical attempts to avoid the letters that Hagrid had to… Read More5 Canon Facts That Don't Appear in Both the UK and US editions• Article
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• Article
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 More9 Interesting Canon Facts from Pottermore• Article
In her writing on Pottermore, Rowling has revealed a lot of new information about the wizarding world and the characters in it. Here are a few interesting tidbits: 1 – Hufflepuff has produced fewer Dark Wizards than any other house. 2 – The name ‘Ollivander’ is believed to mean ‘he… Read MoreWhat is the US equivalent of the Ministry of Magic?• Article
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• Article
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 More4 Great Cliffhanger Chapter Endings• Article
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 More🎙️ Episode 13: "The budding new baby hero!"• Article
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 understand book seven. Show links: The… Read MorePuzzles, Mysteries, and Loose Ends• Article
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 MoreHouse-Elves in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows• Article
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was a fantastic, satisfying ending to the book series we all know and love. There are so many elements to explore and examine in this work, and here I turn my attention to the house-elves. We were introduced to the creatures in the second book of… Read MoreNagini as Horcrux• Article
I’ve been looking at a pattern of clues in the six Harry Potter books, namely a series of interweaving and overlapping references to Transfiguration magic, secret passages/the Marauder’s Map, and trophies. Putting them all together, I believe they may be clues that the Helga Hufflepuff’s golden cup is in the… Read More“Something of Ravenclaw’s or Gryffindor’s”• Article
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 MoreQuidditch Through the (Weasleys’) Ages or, The Unusual Career of Charles Weasley• Article
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 MoreAn Almanac of Quidditch at Hogwarts• Article
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… Read MoreThe Bendable Vow: Dumbledore’s Hand In One Last Legal Loophole• Article
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 MoreMarauder Era Ships: Which Ones Sailed?• Article
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 MoreAstronomy in the Harry Potter Series• Article
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 MoreIn Search of . . . The Burrow• Article
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