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The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter : A Treasury of Myths, Legends, and Fascinating Facts

3.95  ·  Rating Details ·  14,305 Ratings  ·  249 Reviews
J.K. Rowling fills her books with references to history, myths, legends and literature. This text presents the stories behind the stories. It includes encounters with wizards like Circe and Merlin, and real-life alchemists of the middle ages. Adding to the experience are writers as varied as William Shakespeare, Gustave Flaubert, Charles Dickens, Ovid, John Donne, J.R.R. ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 4th 2004 by Berkley Trade (first published 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Eric Boot
I read another book about Harry Potter recently (The Sorcerer's Companion) which was pretty boring. This book contained so much fun facts and interesting information about my favourite book world. I just loved it.
Stephanie S.
Nov 08, 2007 Stephanie S. rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Harry Potter Fans
This book is very informative. It identifies all of the elements in the Harry Potter books that come from actual literature or history. It tells the origin of many names and words in the books. It also shows how many of the creatures such as hippogriffs, manticores, and sphinxes are actually mythical creatures that have been around for a long time. It also points out many things you would not have noticed in the books. For example, in book one, the Mirror of Erised isinscribed with the words ...more
Jul 29, 2009 melydia rated it really liked it
The name is somewhat misleading; this is a cute mini-encyclopedia of the real mythological roots of many aspects of the Harry Potter books. While I didn't learn a whole heck of a lot of new information, I would definitely recommend this book to any Harry Potter fan, especially younger ones. The writing is friendly without being dumbed down, the articles are short but concise, and the breadth of information is impressive. If nothing else, it instilled in me a renewed interest in mythology, and ...more
Every HP fan would definitely need (or desire) a companion book just to wade through all the literary, religious, fantastical and mythological references and innuendos Rowling made in all of her seven books. The book aptly describes itself as a "treasury of myths, legends and fascinating facts" regarding the world of Harry Potter and it wasn't that far off in its self-description.

It is a great tribute to Rowling's works; consisting of around 50+ questions aiming to dig deeper at an innocent rema
Aug 15, 2015 Daisy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Harry Potter fans
Recommended to Daisy by: Janika
The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter is a book that decodes all the sneaky hints, carefully chosen names, and adapted retellings from the one and only Harry Potter series. It points out links between things in J.K. Rowling's series and aspects of classical mythology, ancient folklore and classical literature, and well as simple plays on modern language and culture.

As a huge nerd about mythology, not to mention Harry Potter, this book was right up my street. Reading it has seriously magnified my a
Carmen Maloy
Oct 22, 2007 Carmen Maloy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: HP fans
This book was a great one for those who find words and the origin of words and ideas fascinating. This book opened up the mind of J.K. Rowling in terms of where she found references and words and changed them to fit her story. As many of the words or word roots and ideas have corrolations in myths and legends, the words and names that the Harry Potter series uses strikes a chord with adult readers as well as young readers as they are already familiar in oue own history and vocabulary.

The compar
Jan 15, 2016 Cintia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing, impeccable research, I learned a lot of mythology and literature from all over the world. But as someone who read Harry Potter as a child, it killed the magic a bit... It's like when the magician reveals his tricks. But still, very good.
Jeeth Suresh
Dec 02, 2007 Jeeth Suresh rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Not For Harry Potter Fans
Shelves: harrypotter
An excellent guide into the world, and history of Harry Potter. However, it seemed a bit unrealistic that J.K. Rowling is so in tune with these histories...I think that this is speculation on a massive scale, and aims only to try to phantom the world of Potter... Oh well.
Full review here on TotalTeenFiction

I'm a huge Harry Potter fan and I love reading about the series (when I'm not reading the books themselves!) so when I spotted this book in a charity shop, I had to pick it up. The edition I have was published in 2001 and only focusses on the books that were released that time: up to Goblet of Fire and the companion books Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages. It's a completely unofficial guide, not associated with JKR or WB.

Katie Brock
Mar 24, 2016 Katie Brock rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll be writing up a more detailed review later on on my blog (link in my bio).
Although this book is interesting about the facts and myths surrounding Harry Potter- my version is a little out of date, only featuring book 1-5, so there are some elements to it that make you think "Huh"- because I know what happens in the next books.

It's well researched though, I can give David Colbert that- although not all theories are his own, he has clearly considered a lot of magical history to inform the read

Casualmente, mi mamá y yo, encontramos una biblioteca muy pero muy chiquita, y entramos por curiosidad. Resulta que la biblioteca "chiquita" tiene más de 50.000 libros para prestar. Sí. Por suerte, entre los que primero vi fue este y me lo traje a casa para leerlo, ni quiera me acordaba que estaba en mi lista de to-read.
El libro me gustó, no me parece la gran cosa, pero está muy bueno si sos fanático de HP. Como salió mucho antes de la publicación de La Orden del Fénix y los siguientes libr
This book was fun.

I can't say that it was amazing or anything, because it was just really informative. Some subjects and explanations are more interesting to read than others. For example: the part explaining the names of characters was interesting, I couldn't stop reading, but this explanation for the source of magic bored me.

This was written before OotP and you really notice it. Every time they talk about Sirius, I just sat there like Oh, hun.

Also, I read this in Dutch. I am used to both Du
Feb 12, 2014 Jenny rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Potterheads
Shelves: 2006-2011
Something to read if you're interested in the myths behind the legends in the Potterverse.

Not so much an encyclopaedia as it wants to be, but more like a cute little collection of frequently asked questions concerning Harry Potter.

It's not a bad book, no, I'd recommend it to anyone who keeps an interest in Potter, the mythological creatures and all the other things the book brings into light. Sadly though, it is not officially approved by the Author herself, J.K. Rowling. Go on, read it now. I
Aug 14, 2015 Sereleaf rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Esperaban más headcanons y teorías de harry potter, más aún cuando este libro salió antes que Orden del fénix, pero en vez de eso me encontré con menciones a la mitología bastante conocidas (unicornio, dragón, grifo, hipogrifo...) ya lo que creo que fueron dos hojas de puro justificar por qué harry era el elegido. Los libros tienen su nombre, that's why.

Pero qué sé yo, fue lindo igual. Me encanta leer cosas nuevas sobre esta saga. JK Rowling, soy tu perra por siempre.
Mar 10, 2013 Vijeta rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
This is a must, must read for Harry Potter fans. It tells you that there lies so much symbolism at the core of the story. There are references to Greek, Norse, Celtic myths, to Christianity, to Pagan rituals. There are allusions to legends of yore, the Arthurian in particular. Rowling devises each name with a purpose. Almost everything has a basis in something. So, without further ado, go read it if you love the world of Harry Potter as much as I do.
Inma Núñez
Sep 30, 2015 Inma Núñez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Le doy 4 estrellas porque el libro lo que hace en sí es analizar otros libros, no porque no merezca las 5.
Es una lectura sumamente interesante que hace que aprecies más si cabe el mundo con el que Rowling nos dejó con la boca abierta. Ver todas las conexiones, la historia y leyendas detrás de cada mínimo detalle.
Simplemente impresionante.
Jul 22, 2015 Cheryl rated it liked it
I happened across a copy of this at the library book store the other day. It was a nice collection of little factoids and explanations of historical and literary and mythological allusions in the Harry Potter series. It only dealt with the first 4 books, but was full of interesting things I didn't know and memory refreshers on stuff I had forgotten. Will pass it along to a friend.
Aug 16, 2011 Kate rated it really liked it
Being a huge Harry Potter fan, I'll read pretty much anything that focuses around the magical world. This was an interesting book that talks about and explains in detail the creatures and studies within the Harry Potter books - such as goblins, alchemy, divination and witches.
Jessica Booth
Sep 16, 2009 Jessica Booth rated it liked it
Shelves: own
To any avid reader, this book didn't involve any new and thrilling ideas, but because it does involve Harry Potter - it can't be bad! A good read for new Harry Potter fans and those who have not read a lot of mythology or fantasy works.
Feb 12, 2014 Anvita rated it really liked it
Really nice. Couldn't even imagine that there were so many secrets hidden under the apparent part! Rowling must be credited for such a thorough research before assigning names to characters. Every name has its own mystery.
May 15, 2011 Kristina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-goal-50
I thought this book was an amazing read for any Harry Potter fan. It is full of hidden meanings and origins of many different names, beasts, and items in the Harry Potter series. After reading this book I have an entire new respect for J.K. Rowling, and I already thought she was pretty amazing!
Ovviamente non è un romanzo, ma una semplice guida (oltretutto incompleta perché uscita prima della pubblicazione degli ultimi due libri, se non erro).
Abbastanza interessante e non banale.
May 25, 2014 Nusrat rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
definitely a fascinating read for all the potter heads. once more I'm impressed by JKR for her enormous research behind writing the whole HP series!!!
Molly Zucchet
May 27, 2015 Molly Zucchet rated it it was amazing
This book was SO GOOD! It really made me think about how much time and research JK Rowling put into the writing of Harry Potter. If you like Harry Potter, I would definitely recommend this book!
Scott Roberts
Very Informative
Sep 18, 2016 Leon rated it liked it
Very informative book, not much else to say about it.
Nov 21, 2015 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
review to come
Ioana Georgescu
Nov 13, 2016 Ioana Georgescu rated it really liked it
Colbert offers a great overview of many of the cultural and historical references in the Harry Potter Series - and there are a lot! He did a great job of compiling information from variety of historical sources and from others who have written on this topic. Keep in mind that it is a survey, so you won't get a lot of depth since there is a lot of ground to cover. This book only covers the first four books, Fantastic Beasts and Quidditch Through the Ages. He does include a bibliography and notes ...more
Luis Martin
Oct 27, 2016 Luis Martin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: default
entretenido libro con datos varios vinculados al mundo de Harry Potter. aunque la parte del libro habla sobre criaturas y mitos bastante populares tiene uno que otro dato interesante de tener en cuenta.
Aug 21, 2016 Kharen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aunque el mundo de ficción creado por J.K Rowling es único, se sustenta en unos profundos cimientos de mitos y folclore que han superado las prueba de distancia y del tiempo.

Adivinos, alquimistas, animagos, animales fantásticos, arañas, maldiciones, basiliscos, criaturas que te asustan con tu propio susto, bosques prohibidos, calamares gigantes, centauros, caballeros en misiones, chocolate para volver el alma al cuerpo, pociones que hacen crecer los huesos, dementores, dragones, magos de la hist
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