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The Sorcerer's Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter Paperback – Oct 19 2010
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“A potent blend of fact, fiction and folklore. . . . Thorough research and period prints combine to create a memorable book.”—Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Allan Zola Kronzek is a professional magician and educator who lectures on the history of magic and conjuring. A frequent visiting artist at elementary and middle schools, he is the author of A Book of Magic for Young Magicians: The Secrets of Alkazar. Elizabeth Kronzek, his daughter, is a writer, editor, and historian. She holds a master’s degree in Renaissance history from Princeton University.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I know we already know about werewolves and zombies from old movies like "My Mom's a Werewolf" and "Weekend at Bernie's II". However, some creatures never make it to the big screen. Therefore, I went in search of ones that I had read about in other literature to see how accurate the book is. One sure test was on Veela. They had that nailed to a tee. Then what about a source to prove it was just not off the top of compiler's head. Sure enough, there is a page-by page index and references to the source of information.
The book has sketches where appropriate and a fair bibliography.
Harry is more interesting if you know the background to what he is up against.
My Mom's a Werewolf
Weekend at Bernie's II
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
A word of warning that has been noted by others: If you think that this is a direct tie in with the Harry Potter series, you may be disappointed. While all the creatures, processes and theories that I can think of in Hogwarts are referred to, and clearly the Harry Potter series is the underlying reason to pull this particular set of examples together, this is definitely NOT an investigation into the underlying motives and themes of the various books.
If you want an overview of the various sources of the mythologies and traditions referred to in the Harry Potter series, this is an excellent reference book. If you are looking for critical analysis of WHY certain things fit correctly into the world of Harry Potter, this is not the book for you.
I found it fascinating that so much described in the HP books was either real or had roots in actual beliefs: for example, Nicholas Flamel was a real person; mandrakes actually existed in medieval folklore; even the idea behind horcruxes was a belief throughout the ages.
I was surprised to learn that Rowling did not actually make up a lot of the stuff in the books. On the other hand, she more than makes up for it in the HP books by bringing in a phenomenal amount of creatures and belief systems that are either real (like Flamel) or have roots in hundreds of years of legend and folklore. Its incredible to learn that she knew about, and was able to integrate, such a vast amount of information into the HP books.
It was very helpful to have references at the end of each chapter in this book letting us know in which HP book and on what page we could find references to that particular item. I found myself going back to the HP books many times to look up the items referenced in the Sorcerer's Companion.
There is a lot of detail in this book, but you can read as much or as little as you want. I read many of the chapters all the way through, but skimmed some others.
My favorite chapter was at the end, which lists the derivation and meaning of many of the HP characters' names. That was fascinating--it confirms how clever and creative Rowling is.
Overall, highly recommended and fun for all HP fans.
Long Review: I have owned this book for about three years (I think I have an older edition, but I doubt its changed THAT much.) This book is simply fascinating! I still read through it from time to time when I am bored or when I'm re-reading the Harry Potter books. I have also used this when reading other fairy tales or fantasy books, because like the description says, a lot of the info is universal, not exclusively Harry Potter Related.
The book overflows with verifiable history, and it has helped me on a handful of essays in both High School and College English classes. I also lent it to a friend who was taking a class specifically on "Greatest Fantasy Writers of Our Age." It was basically a class on Tolkien and J.K.Rowling, no joke. (Btw, who else is jealous of her getting to take that class. Lol!)
Anyway, the only thing I can even THINK of that is negative for this book is that there is not enough entries! I'd love if this book was about 1000 pages longer. I'd love to have a section on ALL the plants and herbs mentioned in the book, different types of wand wood and their significance, how wands are 'made' in different legends, etc.
This book is one of my favorites in my whole library. I really hope that she expands it to a HUGE series of books!