• Essay
Posted by in Essays
After the events of book five, one can’t help but wonder whether Harry is really safe now in Privet Drive. Has the protection reached critical mass at this point, and are the risks beginning to outweigh the benefits? Obviously when Voldemort was Vapormort, and the most loyal Death Eaters were incarcerated in Azkaban, the protection held up very… Read More
• 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
• Essay
Posted by in Canon discussion / Essays
Number twelve, Grimmauld Place is the location of much of the action in Chapters 4 to 10 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It is Sirius Black’s ancestral home, and the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. This essay discusses its possible location, and also that of the Ministry of Magic. Read More
• Essay
Posted by in Canon discussion / Essays
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
• Essay
Posted by in Canon discussion / Essays
Where is Little Whinging? What sort of place did Harry Potter grow up in? The books in the canon give us several clues, mostly in Books 1 and 5 (Philosopher’s Stone and Order of the Phoenix), but beware . . . there may be a red herring! In Book 1, the first letter from Hogwarts (and presumably the others), is addressed to Harry in “Little Whinging,… Read More
• Essay
Posted by in Canon discussion / Essays
Introduction It only took a second. J. K. Rowling had agreed to talk about her writing for the television documentary, Harry Potter and Me. She took random pages from her endless boxes of notes. She flashed up a page with a brief comment, “This is a list of all the students… Read More
• Essay
Posted by in Essays
There has been a lot of talk about who might come back as ghosts in the Harry Potter series. I don’t think Rowling will have anybody return as a ghost, because she is very aware that there are children reading this series who have lost or about to lose a… Read More
• Essay
Posted by in Canon discussion / Essays
N.B.: Dates for this essay are based on the timeline in the Lexicon. Notes on sources from outside the canon are at the end. Sibyll Trelawney is named after an ancient prophetess from classical mythology—or, more accurately, she is named after a whole group of prophetesses from classical mythology. The name Sibyll was… Read More
• Essay
Posted by in Canon discussion / Essays
Snape had no misgivings about working for Voldemort at the time he overheard the prophecy, yet a short time afterwards he changed sides and turned spy for the Order of the Phoenix. Betrayal of Voldemort is not a step that could be taken lightly. What caused this complete change of heart? It was only… Read More
• Essay
Posted by in Canon discussion / Essays
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
• Essay
Posted by in Essays
Note: This piece is not about the class Charms, and I’ve left aside the vexing question of the difference between Charms and Transfiguration (e.g., why are winged keys a Charm and giant moving chess pieces are a Transfiguration?). Rather, I’m looking at Charms in the general sense, as a synonym for spells, that is,… Read More
• Essay
Posted by in Canon discussion / Essays
Although Spinner’s End is probably not a real place in a real town, it’s reasonable to assume that it’s in an imaginary town in an area where towns of that type are found—just as Little Whinging is an imaginary town, but of a recognizably Surrey type. An argument has been made Spinner’s… Read More
• Essay
Posted by in Essays
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