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The Lexicon: An Unauthorized Guide to Harry Potter Fiction and Related Materials [Paperback]

Steve Vander Ark
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: CDN$ 27.44 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

January 2009
Harry Potter and the names of fictitious people and places in the "Harry Potter" novels are trademarks of Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. This book is not written, prepared, approved, or licensed by Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., Scholastic Corporation, Raincoast Books, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, or J.K. Rowling, nor is the author, his staff members, or the publisher in any way affiliated with Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., Scholastic Corporation, Raincoast Books, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, J.K. Rowling, or any other person or company claiming an interest in the Harry Potter works. This unofficial guide to the popular series by novelist J.K. Rowling is an ideal companion work for the curious reader who wants to know more about these remarkable books. Extensive new commentary, which does not appear on Vander Ark's Harry Potter Lexicon website adds to the fun of reading Vander Ark's new reference work. The author has been frequently featured around the world in publications such as "The New York Times", the "London Times", "The International Herald Tribune", the "Associated Press" and "National Public Radio". Steve Vander Ark's Harry Potter Lexicon website is visited by more than 25 million visitors annually. For years fans who have seen the author keynote major academic conferences on the Harry Potter novels, including "Sectus in London" and "Patronus in Copenhagen", have been asking him to write an original companion work on this wonderful series. This book offers fascinating analysis, new insights and a deep appreciation of Rowling's work.

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Review

"The perfect accompaniment to any library already strong in Harry Potter fans." -- Midwest Book Review "Midwest Book Review"

About the Author

Vander Ark, who has read the Potter novels more than 40 times, has been interviewed by the Today Show, BBC, the New Yorker and the Guardian. His interview for an A&E television special on the series appears as part of the extra section on the DVD edition of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Marvelous Resource Jan. 20 2009
By Michael W. Perry TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
If you want to understand the marvelously complex world that underlies J. K. Rowlings' Harry Potter from:

Abbot--Family name on a headstone in the graveyard in Godric's Hollow...

to:

zoological column--The Daily Prophet does a zoological column every Wednesday...

then this is the book for you. It contains virtually every imaginable person, place, thing and event in the tale, with a handy reference to the book and chapter that's the source.

One warning. I wouldn't suggest consulting this book the first time you read all seven volumes. You only get one chance to read a book for the first time. Make the most of it. Enjoy the tale as a whole in a way you'll never be able to repeat. But at some point, you'll want to understand the magical world behind the story. Then you'll want to consult this book, written by one of the premier Potter fans in the world and the host of the popular Harry Potter Lexicon website.

--Michael W. Perry, Untangling Tolkien: A Chronology and Commentary for The Lord of the Rings
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Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  32 reviews
27 of 33 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Complete but frustrating structure March 4 2009
By Claire M. Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I am an avowed Harry Potter fanatic, and I have been looking forward to this book for ages. It is, well, limited in its application. Given that it's arranged alphabetically (and having flipped through it several times it seems complete enough), it assumes that you know exactly what you're looking for, spelling and all. There is NO index, so if I wanted to look for a spell that, say, wrote reviews for amazon.com, I would be stymied unless I had a vague inkling as to how that spell might be, well, spelled. I had hoped that this book would be an substitute for his exhaustive website, and, unfortunately, it is merely a reference book to his website. In addition to the lack of index (which is THE most frustrating omission), off the top of my head, I can think of several things that should have been included and yet are not (and, I assume, would not run afoul of the JKR legal team): family trees; timelines for the novels; listing of who is in what house, both in the present era and in the previous era; and listing of teachers (past and present). These are just off the top of my head. I still think this book very valuable on one level, but it is NOT even marginally a substitute for his excellent website. An index would have induced me to give it another star.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful and delightful tool Sept. 13 2009
By Joseph Boenzi - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"The Lexicon" is more than a glossary of Harry Potter terminology. This listing of names, terms, geographical and magical markers offers definitions, descriptions and connections that are magical, even for muggles. Furthermore, the book captures the spirit and sparkle of the Harry Potter series (and canon) in a way that is faithful to J. K. Rowling's creation and the readers' need to plumb the depths of the individual books or the entire saga. Congratulations to the compiler Steve Vander Ark and his associates. Their vision and perseverance have produced good results. "The Lexicon" is a significant resource for those who take J. K. Rowling's writing seriously.
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Wealth of Information and Fun! Jan. 22 2009
By Nadine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While you will not understand the magic that J.K. Rowling created in her Harry Potter series without reading the books first, you will however, be able to reference just about any specific person, place or thing ever used in the series by name with this delightful tome. It is obvious that it was created by loving hands and minds, and so it is a treasure to any true HP fan! With all due respect to this book, it will not overshadow any future encyclopedic digest that J.K. Rowling may produce herself; but for the time being, it is one very handy volume and a very useful source to the world of Harry Potter! A wealth of information and fun!
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing Facts and How to Find Them Jan. 19 2009
By dorcas_meadowes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Anyone who was ever been immersed in reading the Harry Potter books knows that there are hundreds of characters, dozens of spells, a menagerie of creatures, and zillions of little fanciful details. And that's what you will find in The Lexicon: a refreshing refresher course in the facts of the series.

This is the book for those times when you just can't remember the differences between a "Hover Charm" and "Wingardium Leviosa," or was it "Levicorpus?" Or when you can't recall whether a detail is from one of the Harry Potter movies or from the books. Was that irritating shrunken head in the Azkaban movie based on anything in the books? Yes, believe it or not - only it was in Chamber of Secrets and it didn't speak with a Jamaican accent.

Just paging through the book is a fun walk down memory lane. I had forgotten all about the students falling ill with "Umbridge-itis," or that there was a Beauty specialist with the delightful name of "Madam Primpernelle." And take, for example, the entry about "Dragon Milk Cheese." The writers of the Lexicon take the obvious literal question of how dragons could give milk since they are clearly reptilian and not mammals, and harken back to a seventeenth century term for "strong beer usually reserved for royalty." Baby dragons must burp alot, huh? It sounds as if the cheese would be tasty.

There are hundreds of such examples of scholarship that enrich and reward the reader, such as Latinate root words provided for spells such as "Cave Inimicum" (beware of enemies) and "Protego Horribilis" (shield us from the frightful). I think children would especially find this fun and useful, since none of that is explained in the books, and most kids (or adults) don't have a Latin dictionary lying around the house.

The paperback cover is quite attractive, with medieval lettering and antique burnishing, and the abbreviations for sources are easy to understand. This is a great addition to the Harry Potter bookshelf, whether at home or in a library.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Reference Work Jan. 20 2009
By Jeanne Kimsey - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
At last, this valuable reference is in print, and what a gift to the Harry Potter community! Even casual readers who don't bicker over details on fan forums will be pleased to find new meanings and context in the language. The authors, all of whom are super-fans who have spent years researching and cross-referencing this material, were obsessed with details and loved the books. This is the most complete guide to the Harry Potter series written so far, and an instant classic. It's true that the same information about spells, names, and places has been available for years in the online version of the Lexicon, but now in book form it will be available to a new audience. So even if your computer goes viral, your local library shuts down due to lack of money, and you are sent out of town beyond the reach of high-speed cable, this good old-fashioned book will give you the answers you need.
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