Every HP fan would definitely need (or desire) a companion book just to wade through all the literary, religious, fantastical and mythological referen...moreEvery 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 remark or passing remark made in the books. Some questions and issues asked here that intrigued me the most were:
~ Does Dumbledore Trust Divination or Doesn't He? ~ Why Doesn't Dumbledore Fight Voldemort? ~ Was the Real Flamel a Successful Alchemist? ~ Why are Mirrors Magical? ~ Which of Voldemort's Cohorts Comes from India? ~ How Did Seven Become the Most Magical Number? ~ What's J.K. Rowling's Idea of a Hero? ~ Is Harry's Story About Religion?
Take note that the book does not pretend to offer a deep analysis of Rowling's motives or thought process, but does give us the background to further appreciate her work. Think of it as a quick course in mythology and history as related to the Harry Potter books. It may be a tad redundant to those who are already well-versed in these areas (such as myself) but it is always a good thing to refresh one's fond memories of religion and mythology.
However, there are reasons why I'm not giving this book a five star rating. There were a few long-winded entries (the history of the Order of the Phoenix comes to mind) that should've shelved. Mainly because of a few oversights (and hopefully they may be adressed in future additions) that keep this book from being the perfect guide to the world of Harry Potter. There are a few inaccuracies in terms of the merging together of Latin and Greek words as interpreted from the names and spells used by Rowling in the books. There were also some painfully obvious questions that weren't addressed even in this updated edition. I would expect a lot more from David Colbert, who has actually studied mythology, though, considering the book states he researches by "reading randomly in the library", it's not too surprising his book is sometimes inaccurate. Lastly, there were just parts of the book where the author did not really answer the question he himself posed! His pseudo answer just went around in a complete circle and rectified it by quoting from well-known works like that of Shakespeare's!
Still, these oversights cannot deny the fact that this book is a very informative guide to the contents of Harry Potter books. I was delighted to finally get the distinction between the following: A charm is a bit of temporary magic that can be good or bad; a jinx will bring bad luck, but nothing serious; curses and hexes involve evil; and spells are serious magic that last a long time.
Each entry is accompanied by various illustrations drawn in purple ink (this is what's been missing in Rowling's "Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them". A small purple tab in the margin of the first page of each chapter guides readers looking for specific subjects: Divination, Goblins, McGonogall, Owls, Voldemort, Wands, etc.
Did you know, for instance, that medieval witches gave plants the names of animals (and their parts) to make their recipes/potions even more disgusting than they actually are? It would've never crossed my mind.
I truly appreciated the discussion on the use of the Latin language (and its translations), specially that of the spells. If only my Latin subjects back in my university days were half as interesting, then I would have actually learned something. "Radicitus, comes!"
What is staggering is how much effort Rowling did give in making sure that her fans and readers are kept amused and interested by the names she has given to her fictional characterd places (both in the world of Muggles and of in and out of Hogwarts). She was able to come up with such names by drawing inspiration from geography, foreign languages (she seems especially fond of using French and of course, Latin), literature, history, religion and mythology, saints, flowers and plants and from thin air.
The most enthralling bit for me would undoubtedly be the discussion of the question "What Makes Harry a Universal Hero?" where Colbert made extensive use of scholar John Campbell's "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" to accurately describe Harry's journey as a hero (having three stages: Departure, Initiation, and Return) and of his universal appeal to all types of audiences. If you're a writer then this is definitely an enriching read for you.
I'm positive that readers of this book will soon be clamoring for collections of Greek, Japanese, Indian, and Egyptian mythology (my interests as a child growing up) as well as copies of "The Sword in the Stone", "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "The Canterbury Tales" to discover the sources of their favorite Harry Potter books.
As for myself, I'm thinking of (if I can get my hands on them, that is) purchasing: "The Encyclopedia of Fantasy" by John Clute and John Grant "Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns and Goblins" by Carol Rose
Title The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter Author David Colbert Reviewed By Purplycookie(less)
This resulted from my obsession of anything Harry Potter (I'm an obsessive kind of girl--to which a lot of people can attest to), coupled with the tim...moreThis resulted from my obsession of anything Harry Potter (I'm an obsessive kind of girl--to which a lot of people can attest to), coupled with the time that I just cannot wait for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" to be published.
Early last year, as anticipation of the final Harry Potter book intensifies, a debate is raging among fans about what’s in store for Harry and the rest of the gang at Hogwart's. In this book, the experts at MuggleNet.com present a wide range of hard facts and bold predictions about the most popular storylines, favorite characters, and final outcome of the Harry Potter saga.
This book was created by the avid members of Mugglenet.com. Rowling could not ask for better fans. This book is the result of such fannish enthusiasm and it's accessible, compulsively readable, and provides detailed looks at some of the topics Mugglenet has hashed out online.
Drawing on their intimate knowledge of the previous six books, as well as tips and suggestions made by millions of MuggleNet.com fans (not to mention a personal interview with J.K. Rowling), the authors offer answers to the burning questions of Harry Potter readers everywhere: Will Hogwart's School be open for Harry’s final year and will Harry even be in attendance? Will Harry’s quest for the remaining Horcruxes be rewarded? Where do Severus Snape’s true loyalties lie? And, most importantly, will Harry survive the final battle with Lord Voldemort?
This debunks a lot of one's preconceived concepts about how the series will end and brings up a slew of theories that you wouldn't've thought of! Topics this book explores include Dumbledore (is he really dead, or isn't he?), life debts (how is the life debt that Wormtail owes to Harry going to come into play?), the identity of R.A.B. (they deduced the same thing I had, and thats that the identity of R.A.B is none other than Regulus Black, Sirius's younger brother), questions surrounding the Horcruxes, Professor Snape (good or evil?), and so much more!
There is even a section that discusses each character in relation to their odds of living or dying in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" -- each character receives a well-thought out statistic as far as what are the odds that they will not survive through the last book in the Harry Potter book series, and then a short but detailed reason is given for that character's score. Why would they be a prime target, or perhaps, why wouldn't they be a prime target.
Title What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7: Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Falls in Love and How Will the Adventure Finally End Author Mugglenet.com Reviewed By Purplycookie(less)
If you think you know all there is to know about everything Harry Potter then think again. This one's literally chockful of all manner of facts, stati...moreIf you think you know all there is to know about everything Harry Potter then think again. This one's literally chockful of all manner of facts, statistics and random thoughts that'll send your head spinning. I therefore caution the reader to not plough through this reference book in one sitting. But then if you're aiming to answer one of the many varied Harry Potter quizzes and games floating online, then you got yourself covered.
My personal favorite trivia covered were: ~ The different departments under the Ministry of Magic ~ Witch Dates (coinciding with Muggle historical events) ~ Wizard Holiday Destinations ~ Hogwarts versus Middle-Earth ~ Harry Potter film blunders ~ Error Terror (possible or intentional errors on Rowling's part?) ~ Truth and Lies ~ Magic Mentors (Dumbledore versus Gandalf) ~ Non-Starters (imaginative book titles for the Harry Potter book series which Rowling herself came up with) ~ Harry Potter's Broken Records ~ Runes illustration contained in the book's Divination Classes entry ~ Cast of Characters (in alphabetical order; but no inclusion of new names included in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" ~ Acting Up (the who's who of actors and actresses in the Harry Potter films) ~ Wizard Transport ~ Harry Potter Gazeeter
Overall a good compilation of anything related with Harry Potter but it could've been greatly improved if the writers/compilers of facts have waited for the publication release of the last book in the series. There are some entries which tried too hard to bridge the gap of a relationship between magic and science and may prove boring to some.
After reading this book, I couldn't help but yearn for a pensieve myself, since I never realized how much I still don't know about the magical world created by Rowling (and her influences), and now I got a dose too much.
Title The Potter Pensieve: Trivial Delights from the World of Harry Potter Author Karen Farrington and Lewis Constable Reviewed By Purplycookie(less)
With infectious, at times frenetic excitement, the webmistress of the Leaky Cauldron Web site Melissa Anelli, presents narratives in this hip report o...moreWith infectious, at times frenetic excitement, the webmistress of the Leaky Cauldron Web site Melissa Anelli, presents narratives in this hip report on how a boy wizard became a rock star. Anelli pays exhaustive attention to the power of the Internet and its symbiotic relationship with fan communities, known as fandoms. "That before I read Harry Potter I was composed of magic dust and fairy breath, and reading the first book had been what brought all my particles together. That Harry Potter was my personal big bang."
Eventhough there have been many dozens of books attempting to chronicle the particulars of Harry Potter fandom in all its dimensions -- the fan fiction (Fanfiction Alley, Restricted Section, etc.), the popularity of AU most notably Cassandra Claire's "Draco Trilogy", the R/Hr & H/Hr shippers (oh the Ship Wars! Personally I was a D/G shipper myself), the newest music genre Wizard Rock (led by the band "Harry and the Potters"), the websites (Mugglenet, Sugar Quill, etc.) , the conventions (there's going to be Lumos 2009!) -- all have fallen short because of the inherent difficulty in condensing its breadth and scope to manageable size; but this one admirably compacts ten, detailed years of Harry Potter history in its 356 pages, and covers the subject thoroughly.
In reading Melissa's first-hand account of what's happened in Harry Potter fandom and the book/movie worlds drawn from the seven Harry Potter novels, it's as if you're right there with her, being caught up in all the excitement: of finally getting a copy of the newest installment to the Harry Potter book series, of knowing that it is indeed a fact that a lot of children were helped in getting to enjoy reading because they were introduced to the Harry Potter books, of getting a chance to land an interview with J.K. Rowling herself, to wondering out loud about Rowling's genius over the intricacy of her plots.
Included are remembrances from J. K. Rowling's editors, agents, publicists, fans, and Rowling herself; plus black-and-white pictures of everything Harry Potter, Anelli takes us on a personal journey through every aspect of the Harry Potter phenomenon.
Title Harry, A History: The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon Author Melissa Anelli; J.K. Rowling (Introduction) Reviewed By Purplycookie(less)
"Stacks of books were piled high all over the house -- not just arranged in neat rows on bookshelves, the way other people kept them, oh no! The books...more"Stacks of books were piled high all over the house -- not just arranged in neat rows on bookshelves, the way other people kept them, oh no! The books in Mo and Meggie's house were stacked under tables, on chairs, in the corners of the rooms. Books on the TV sets and in the closet, small piles of books, tall piles of books, books thick and thin, books old and new."
Meggie's father Mo has an interesting talent: when he reads aloud, things, and sometimes people, come out of their stories and into the real world! But now the evil Capricorn wants to use Mo's talents to bring himself great wealth and power. Then Meggie discovers that maybe she also possess such a magical talent. Meggie, Mo, Dustfinger, and Meggie's great-aunt Elinor are pursued, repeatedly captured, but manage to escape from Capricorn's henchmen as they attempt to find the author of Inkheart in the hope that he can write a new ending to the story.
Although this book originally showed promise, I found it to be dull, slow, and bogged-down. I eventually made it through it, but only due to myself forcing myself. Unfortunately a lot of this length is taken up with unnecessary exposition, narration and description, often slowing the action to a crawl or even a total standstill. There really is a lot to be said for crediting your readers with intelligence, but the author too often spoon feeds us exactly what to think, imagine and feel instead of giving us the basics and letting us do the rest. The book felt on the verge of ending almost the whole time. It tried to drag the high-energy level on for far too long, and you ended up exhausted and bored when you finally finished, it feels like a lifetime. The actual ending is very predictable, and the effort it took to actually get to the real ending isn't really worth it.
I had a beef with her use of the Elvish language from "The Lord of the Rings". At one point the characters apparently write messages to each other in this language, but the reader is never shown the actual words used. In my opinion if a writer is audacious enough to make use of Tolkien they should take the time to do it properly, otherwise it comes across as lazy appropriation of a great body of work.
"Some books should be tasted some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly."
Title Inkheart Author Cornelia Funke Reviewed By Purplycookie(less)
Harry Potter's fantastic world of magic has its roots in true history, mythology, and folklore; father-daughter team Allan Zola Kronzek and Elizabeth...moreHarry Potter's fantastic world of magic has its roots in true history, mythology, and folklore; father-daughter team Allan Zola Kronzek and Elizabeth Kronzek have now made this wealth of astonishing information available to Muggles in their "A Sorcerer's Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter". From astrology to Grindylow to reading tea leaves to witch persecution, this fascinating volume gets to the bottom of every magical mystery connected with Hogwarts.
It's an invaluable companion book for the HP series but it stands very well on its own. Those who already have David Colbert's "Magical Worlds of Harry Potter" may want to add this book to their library; it covers a lot of areas the Colbert book doesn't and it's more comprehensive. Written in the form of a mini-encyclopedia covering everything from Amulets to Zombies, "The Sorcerer's Companion" provides links to the first four Harry Potter books (it was written two years before "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" was published) with notations for easy reference.
It includes a lot of entries (accurate - so far as I can tell) about a lot of supernatural creatures, beliefs and other topics. Want to know the different mythologies of the phoenix from different countries, and which parts J.K. Rowling made up for her books? It's here. Want to know the historical beliefs about unicorns, how they differ from the "classical" interpretation of the glowing white horse with the long slender horn, when (and possibly how) these beliefs came about? You got it.
It's not necessary to go through this book from A to Z; you can browse through it however you like and still come up with a bounty of entertainment and information, as well as practical advice on how to read tea-leaves (maybe you'll do better at this than Harry and Ron who couldn't see anything in the leaves but a big mushy mess), where to find a basilisk (guess what? there really is a basilisk lizard) and how to rid your premises of goblins. The book is a browser's delight -- fun and educational at the same time.
The writers treat the superstitious beliefs of different times and places with a certain respect. But skeptics won't be disappointed, either. For example, when frankly talking about how many alchemists were charlatans who only pretended to create gold with the "sorceror's stone" (or, more accurately, the philosopher's stone) --- it even tells you how it was possible to fake this wondrous transmutation. The reader learns about what arithmancy means, its history, and how to do a little of it. The subject matter of the book is so broad; this book is hard to put down and it's not even fiction!
Each alphabetically organized entry contains a potent blend of fact, fiction and folklore. A note at the end of each section shows readers where to find the reference in the Harry Potter books. Thorough research and period prints combine to create a memorable book. This book would be best for those who are beginners in the area of mythology/occult teachings. Those well versed in this area will probally not find a great deal of new information in this book, but would probally still find it an amusing read. Also for those who are totally Harry obsessed (as I am).
Title A Sorcerer's Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter Author Allan Zola Kronzek & Elizabeth Kronzek Reviewed By Purplycookie(less)
You may think that with the end of the "Harry Potter" book series, reading a "guide" like this would prove pointless, but nonetheless, I found myself...moreYou may think that with the end of the "Harry Potter" book series, reading a "guide" like this would prove pointless, but nonetheless, I found myself reminiscing quite a bit and enjoying the several theories and the then unanswered questions forwarded by avid fans before Rowling published "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows".
With a title like "The End of Harry Potter? An Unauthorized Guide to the Mysteries that Remain" I expected the book to, well, speculate on the mysteries that remained. Oddly enough, it didn't really postulate a lot of theories on how the book/series was going to end. Since this was the primary purpose for buying the book I was, at first, a little dismayed.
But as I continued to read the book, I came to like it more and more. It flowed and was a good read. It was intelligent and thoughtful. I think the nicest thing I can say about the book is that it will make the reading of Book 7 more enjoyable. Some theories I'd seen, others I'd thought of, but he did manage, more than once, to slip something in that took me by surprise.
The most I appreciate was when Langford discussed Rowling's ability to fool us in-depth, like a magician waving a rabbit in front of our faces but convincing us that we can't see it. She's a master at that. And I know that most, if not all, Harry Potter fanatics would agree wholeheartedly.
Title The End of Harry Potter? An Unauthorized Guide to the Mysteries that Remain Author David Langford Reviewed By Purplycookie(less)
If you are a Harry Potter fanatic this is a must-have addition to your library. It covers the Harry Potter world in a virtual 3-D approach. The book i...moreIf you are a Harry Potter fanatic this is a must-have addition to your library. It covers the Harry Potter world in a virtual 3-D approach. The book is full of surprises and beautiful artwork. Mere words cannot convey the enjoyment the reader will receive from this book.
This beautiful book offers a way to hold the wizarding world of Harry Potter in your hands. And as an extra special bonus there are sections about the final two films, including a preview of my favorite new discovery: Fleur's double phoenix wedding dress. Also, learn why Yule Ball ice sculptures never melt, where Galleons, Sickles, and Knuts are really "minted," how to get a Hippogriff to work with actors, the inspiration behind Hogwarts castle, and why Dementors move the way they do.
The level of detail in the book is amazing. For example, the Quidditch program contains an advertisement for Pumpkin Juice. You might want to order two copies: one to keep pristine; and other to take out all the special art from its protective sleeves to decorate your room or office. I would love to pretend to do Christmas shopping out of the Weasley's Wizard Wheezes catalogue! I now have a new appreciation for the talent and vision of the filmmakers whose work is highlighted here. The text explains how movie magic was accomplished, down to the special salt that stands in for snow in the models, which has diamond shaped crystals and even crunches like the real thing.
The pictures, layout, and hidden goodies made the book worth the steep price. Not only is the book interesting, but it shows a lot of the objects and concepts included in the movies that you may have missed. It brings the world of Harry Potter to life as you turn each page. The artwork, footnotes, call sheets, snapshots, memories of the cast, crew and production teams all come together in a way that takes the reader into how the movies were made and feel a part of what must have been a truly remarkable experience for all involved.
It's the perfect gift for any long-time (or new) Potter fan—I got it for myself as a Christmas gift. You get to see, close up, so many of the magical things that were created to fill Harry's world. I know it's a cliché, but the book is almost magical. All of the special touches make it feel like you have a true treasure pulled right out of the Gringott's bank vault.
Thirty full-size portraits of the actors we've come to love, including Daniel Radcliffe [Harry], Rupert Grint [Ron], Emma Watson [Hermoine], and Robbi...moreThirty full-size portraits of the actors we've come to love, including Daniel Radcliffe [Harry], Rupert Grint [Ron], Emma Watson [Hermoine], and Robbie Coltrane [Hagrid]. Acclaimed British actor Michael Gambon steps into Dumbledore's robes, and Gary Oldman makes a properly sinister Sirius Black.