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The Harry Potter Lexicon website has been in existence for almost two decades. Over that time, J.K Rowling thrilled us with her magical creation — in novels, interviews, on her websites, on Twitter, and more. And here at the Lexicon, a small group of dedicated fans have worked very hard over all those years to catalogue all the magical details she revealed. The Lexicon website has always been seen as the gold standard for careful research and faithfulness to Rowling’s created world, all beca ...
 
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In my last podcast, I talked about the first of two magic duels in chapter 36 of Order of the Phoenix, the one between Harry and Bellatrix. Now it’s time to move on to the main event, the massive duel between Albus Dumbledore and Voldemort. There is no other magical battle in the entire series to equal this one. The roller-coaster flow of spells an…
 
Umbridge is one of those characters the reader is supposed to hate and despise, but she isn’t a Death Eater, she’s just a nasty person. Sirius sums this up well by saying “The world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters”, and Umbridge is the perfect embodiment of this maxim, showing the nuance that Rowling can give to her characters. Not ev…
 
In this podcast we’re going to take a look at the incredible magical duels in chapter 36 of the Order of the Phoenix. Before we get to the main duel in the chapter, however, that between Voldemort and Dumbledore, we learn a bit about the Unforgivable Curses when Harry and Bellatrix have their own duel in the Atrium before Voldemort appears. After k…
 
Season Three is Here! Hello, everyone. Back in January, 2018, I created a new short-form podcast called The Harry Potter Lexicon Minute. I had planned on a shorter title — The Harry Potter Minute — but discovered that there was already a podcast with that name, so I added the Lexicon’s name. The podcast ran for over 160 episodes, through November o…
 
Summer is over and it is time to return to Hogwarts. Harry has lessons with Professor Dumbledore to look forward to. He becomes surprisingly talented in Potions class and works hard as the new Captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch Team. But what is his classmate Draco Malfoy actually up to? Ready or not, here we go! Podcasts: Fifty Years Ago by Steve…
 
Everything turns a bit darker in Book Five. Lord Voldemort has returned. Dementors show up in unexpected places. And Harry is unhappy, even when he has re-joined his friends before the end of the summer. Ready to find out why? Let’s go! Podcasts: Encore Presentation: OP 1: Drought by Steve VanderArk OP 2: Kneazles by Steve VanderArk OP 3: Why Not S…
 
We now start Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, a book with several exciting events for Harry and his friends to experience. We go back to the Weasleys and attend an international event where a disaster takes place. What more can happen? If you’re ready to find out – on we go! Podcasts: Canon Thoughts: Goblet of Fire by Steve VanderArk Fifty Year…
 
In the early 2000s, Harry Potter fans debated the possible range of dates for the saga. Small clues like the reference to a PlayStation in book four were discussed in detail. — Since the PlayStation wasn’t available until December 1994 in Japan and September 1995 in Europe, some argued that the events of Goblet of Fire couldn’t have happened until …
 
Welcome to the third book in the series, The Prisoner of Azkaban! Many fans consider this to be their favorite Harry Potter novel. Harry is another year older, another face-off with Voldemort under his belt. What could be in store for him and his friends this year? Let’s crack the new adventure open and find out! Podcasts: Canon Thoughts: Book Thre…
 
Welcome to the fifth installment of our celebration series! We’ve been warned not to return to Hogwarts, met some new allies and foes, and accidentally broken one of the most fundamental rules of wizarding society. What a way to start the school year! Ready to have some fun exploring what’s next? Here we go! Podcasts: CS 6: Howlers, Mandrakes, and …
 
Now we’re into the second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Plenty of connections can be made between this book and book six, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. In fact, book two was originally going to be called Half-Blood Prince! Here’s what Rowling had to say about that: I have been engulfed by an avalanche of questions on the …
 
Quidditch is the wizard sport that everyone – well, almost everyone – in the Wizarding World is mad about. It features high levels of danger and unpredictability. The strange rules and seemingly unfair scoring system of Quidditch are more than a bit illogical. But what outweighs these objections are the thrills – thrills for the spectators in the s…
 
Ready to have some fun exploring? Here we go! Podcasts: Trunks by Selena Gallagher Platform Nine and 3/4 by Steve VanderArk How Many Students Are There at Hogwarts? by Steve VanderArk Whatever Happened to Sally-Ann? by Steve VanderArk The Significance of Hallowe’en by Rosie Payne Free Will, Divination and Time Travel Part 1 by Abby Koop Reader’s Gu…
 
When Harry finally gets his Hogwarts letter from Hagrid, it contains a list of required school supplies, but makes no mention of how he’s expected to pack it all. Nevertheless, on the 1st September, it’s all safely packed in a ‘huge, heavy trunk.’ This is fortuitous as it appears that the trunk is indeed the luggage of choice for Hogwarts students.…
 
Welcome to the first of twenty-six blog posts in our Canon Celebration! This time around we’re exploring the first five chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Why am I not saying “Sorcerer’s Stone”? Because that’s not the original name of the book, as you probably know. That’s the title that the editors at Scholastic came up with bec…
 
Twenty-one years ago, I created a small website to collect and organize information about the Harry Potter novels. I was part of an online discussion group called Harry Potter for Grown Ups, which is just what it sounds like, and we all needed a quick way to find details from the books as we discussed the clues and hints that we found as we read th…
 
This is an encore presentation of an episode from February 2018. You may notice on the homepage of the Lexicon that it always shows the current exchange rate between a galleon and a range of different worldwide currencies. But did you ever wonder how J.K. Rowling came up with this seemingly confusing system of wizard money? Hagrid explains how it w…
 
This is an encore presentation of an episode from March, 2018. Mister Tibbles? Mrs Norris? Why do the animals owned by Squibs seem to have similar names? And particularly human-sounding names at that? In chapter two of Order of the Phoenix, we meet Mrs Figg properly for the first time. She’d turned up in book one as the seemingly insignificant neig…
 
This is an encore presentation of an episode from March, 2018. Today we’re spending a little bit of time with chapter one of Order of the Phoenix. From the very beginning, we’re introduced to the theme of drought. Rowling writes: Cars that were usually gleaming stood dusty in their drives and lawns that were once emerald green lay parched and yello…
 
This is an encore episode from February 10, 2018. Chastity, Credence, and Modesty may have seemed like strange names to viewers of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but they are rooted in the Barebone family’s Puritan past. Not only is the Barebones’s church named for Salem, Massachusetts, but also the family seems to be descended from Barth…
 
This is an encore presentation of an episode from February of 2018. Why do we assume that Ottery St Mary, an actual town in south Devon, is the same village as the one called Ottery St Catchpole in the books? There are a couple of good reasons for this. For one thing, the name “Ottery” means that the town is located along the River Otter, a small r…
 
This is an encore broadcast of an episode if the Harry Potter Lexicon Minute from November 2018. Today I’d like to talk to you about how, in the end, Bane didn’t need to get mad. When Bane gets mad at Firenze for saving Harry, he says “…we are sworn not to set ourselves against the heavens. Have we not read what is to come in the movements of the p…
 
In chapter nine of Order of the Phoenix, Rowling does a lot of really poignant foreshadowing for the coming war against Voldemort. In re-reading it, I found new meaning in Harry’s confused anger after Moody shows him the photograph of the original members of the Order. This interaction is so closely followed by Mrs. Weasley’s distressing boggart th…
 
This is an encore podcast episode originally aired in January of 2018. Did you know that one of Harry’s classmates apparently vanished between first and fifth year? I don’t mean “vanished” in the same way that Montague disappeared into a Vanishing Cabinet only to reappear a few weeks later. I mean that she was listed as an incoming First Year in bo…
 
In my last canon thoughts podcast, I talked about the amazing third book in the Potter series, The Prisoner of Azkaban. Now we move on the book four, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I’m always a bit surprised by how many people consider this to be their favorite Harry Potter book. It’s a bit of an oddball, stuck in the middle between the whims…
 
There comes a point as a Harry Potter fan when you think you have found or heard about all the connections between the series and the world of literature and mythology. And then, out of nowhere, another one smacks you in the face. I have just finished reading Paulo Coelho’s bestselling book The Alchemist, which I was reading for the first time. Now…
 
Pottermore is no more. I guess having the name “Potter” in the title was too limiting, since now the website is called “Wizarding World” and encompasses the “Fantastic Beasts” films as well as the Potter books and films. My reaction? Whatever. I loved Pottermore for Rowling’s writing. I loved the story artwork from the Potter series, since those il…
 
In this Harry Potter Lexicon Minute I will discuss the sixth chapter of Goblet of Fire: The Portkey. When I discovered the Harry Potter Lexicon years ago, one of the things I loved most about the website were the chapter discussions. From each book, the Lexicon has descriptions per chapter of what happens. These include favorite lines, the date on …
 
Lexicon Editor Eileen Jones chats with her friend Angela about their favorite Hufflepuff characters. Angela starts out by choosing probably the best-known Hufflepuff of Harry’s time, Cedric Diggory. Eileen discusses Ernie Macmillan. The post Fan Conversations: Hufflepuff Characters appeared first on Harry Potter Lexicon.…
 
Eleven years ago, after the publication of the last Harry Potter novel and, as far as we knew, the end of canon, I wrote a piece for the Lexicon entitled “Puzzles, Mysteries, and Loose Ends” in which I discussed the things we still didn’t know and the questions which had never been answered. A few years ago, when I brought that essay over into the …
 
As any Muggle knows, chocolate is a truly magical substance. We see it in many forms throughout the Harry Potter novels – the birthday cake that Hagrid brings for Harry’s 11th birthday is a chocolate cake, chocolate eclairs and chocolate gateau are regularly served in Hogwarts’ feasts, and of course Chocolate Frogs are featured regularly. The tempt…
 
Chapter 35 of The Order of the Phoenix describing the Battle of the Department of Mysteries is certainly one of the most action-filled passages in any of the books.Rowling takes us on a wild ride indeed. When the book first came out, we fans read it with quite a bit of trepidation. Rowling had revealed ahead of publication that a character would di…
 
Today I want to talk about objects that can think for themselves. When Ginny emerges from the Chamber of Secrets, Mr. Weasley scolds her, “Haven’t I taught you anything? What have I always told you? Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain” (CS18). I’ve been thinking about that quote and wondering wha…
 
Here at the Lexicon, we do our best to organize the information that has been presented to us by or with the express approval of J.K. Rowling. It’s an important job, because this fictional world of hers is an escape for many people, and in order to escape to that world, we need it to feel grounded in consistent ideas. Occasionally, because the worl…
 
An idea came to me during a re-read of Deathly Hallows. I believe that there is evidence of a magical force in the Wizarding World that I am calling “convergence.” It’s a plot device, I know, but if we think within the story, it seems that there is something in the ancient/deep magic that affects items and humans in a particular way. It draws certa…
 
In the 34th chapter of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, we get to explore the wondrous Department of Mysteries. Anyone reading the books for the first time will tell you that by the time we get to this chapter, our curiosity is definitely piqued. Between Harry’s dreams and the odd references back in book four, we’ve definitely built up ou…
 
In the new Wizards Unite game by Niantic, the mysterious Calamity is threatening the Statute of Secrecy. It’s stealing magical people, creatures, and items of significance from different periods of time and leaving them randomly scattered around the world with the protection of various magical beings. The cause of the Calamity is under investigatio…
 
We know that prophecies exist in Harry’s world. All of the prophecies that affect Harry in some way eventually come to pass. The wording is always ambiguous enough to cause anxiety, though. “The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord” meets these particular characteristics and will either kill Voldemort or die trying… or kind of both. Voldemo…
 
I’ve been reading the Jim Kay-illustrated edition of Sorcerer’s Stone to my cat, because I feel like that version deserves to be read aloud, and Scraps is a pretty good audience. We just finished Chapter 15 – The Forbidden Forest, and it brought something to the front of my mind that I’ve been thinking about for a while: is there free will in the W…
 
It’s the first of September and in the Wizarding world, children starting at age eleven will board the Hogwarts Express at King’s Cross Station to travel north to Scotland, and the new school year will begin. I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk about some of the interesting facts and canon questions about this whole ritual. First off, the m…
 
In my series called Canon Thoughts, I’ve given my comments about books one and two of the Harry Potter series as well as about some of the early interviews which Rowling gave back in 1999 and 2000. I’ve also given my take on Crimes of Grindelwald. Now it’s time to talk about Prisoner of Azkaban. Ah, what do I say about book three? Many fans call th…
 
In today’s minute I’m going to discuss Act 1 Scenes 6 and 7. Both of these scenes share a similar characteristic: Harry takes a lot of heat from someone who is stuck in the past. Delphi speaks a line in scene six, referring to Amos: “It’s tough to live with people stuck in the past, isn’t it?” In scene six, Amos is the character stuck in the past. …
 
Today we’re going to talk Horcruxes. Specifically, how they’re made. I started thinking about this subject when I read a particularly interesting passage from Half-Blood Prince. Here’s what caught my eye: Dumbledore says that Voldemort “seems to have reserved the process of making Horcruxes for particularly significant deaths. … After an interval o…
 
At the end of the last chapter, Hermione launched an impromptu plan to free herself and Harry from Umbridge, who had caught them using her office fireplace to talk to someone. Hermione’s plan was to pretend that they were talking to Dumbledore, telling him that the powerful secret weapon he’d created was ready to use. Hermione pretended to break do…
 
New historicism is an approach to literature which regards a work of literature as a product of the historical moment in which it was created and as embedded in the ideas and ideologies present in that time. For example, a new historicist might be interested in what Elizabethan beliefs about gender roles can tell us about Shakespeare’s plays and vi…
 
This is a short scene, but it’s a huge scene when it comes to important information. We get a glimpse of the time-turner that causes all of the timeline disasters in this play. We finally get a mention of Hugo! We get the official titles of Harry and Hermione’s position in the Ministry. And we get a good bit of foreshadowing hidden in Harry’s paper…
 
Love is obviously a powerful theme of the Harry Potter novels, but today I’d just like to talk about the powerful love potion amortentia, and how it induces the smell of what most attracts us. We first encounter amortentia in Slughorn’s classroom during his first potions lesson, and for Harry it smells like treacle tart, the woody scent of a brooms…
 
Hermione says something very important in chapter 32 of Order of the Phoenix, something which helps define the overarching plot of the entire seven-book series. When Harry is frantically describing the vision he had of Sirius captured and tortured by Voldemort in the Department of Mysteries, Hermione tries to reason with him. ‘OK,’ she said, lookin…
 
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