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

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  15,622 Ratings  ·  278 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. T ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published May 4th 2004 by Berkley Trade (first published 2001)
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Eric Boot
Aug 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Sara (novelsreader)
May 28, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when I was a kid, if I remember correctly, I would be around 12 years old. Back then everything that had Harry Potter related to it was a must read (and it still does, but that's another day's tale). And although this book wasn't authorized by J. K. Rowling, it contains an amazing, impeccable research. It covers from The Sorcerer's Stone to The Goblet of Fire, as it was written when those four were the only published books yet. I learned a lot of mythology and literature, from a ...more
Stephanie S.
Nov 08, 2007 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 "Er ...more
Jan 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A collection of old legends which could make any mythology fan happy. No doubt, some facts, for example, what name 'Sirius' means or why James' Animagus is a deer (stag) is well known. From the mythological side - associations between the Magical World and history were nicely collected. I have never seriously thought about J. K. Rowling writing technique and how she uses many folk details in her books. Re-reading "Harry Potter" will be more interesting next time.
Hafsa Sabira
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I must say I am impressed at how much work Rowling did for this book. This book is like a puzzle for all those who love their history and mythology. The clues are set in the pages and the reader has to search everything. This just increased the fun 10 times more. I have read the series 2 times but now I am tempted to read once again to see whether I can figure out more references hidden in the books.

Hats off Rowling. And thank you Colbert. I am just so lucky to have come across the book and rea
This was one hell of a ride !

It was a treasury of myths, legends, and fascinating facts indeed. The author took his time to research on some very interesting aspects, and I loved how he brought them together. This book was published after the fourth book of the Harry Potter series, so it only covers the references from the first four books. I wish there were more from the rest of the books.

Lastly, J. K. Rowling, take a bow, woman! Not even in my wildest imagination I would ever thought that you
Nusrat Mahmood
Oct 07, 2013 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!!!
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
Barbi Faye (The Book Fae)
The world of JK Rowling was created with real Muggle world references to loads of myths, rich Muggle history, legends, and popular literature. The book illuminates the background that went into the creation of the much beloved Harry Potter world, and where some of her influences came from. An interesting read for fandom fans! Lotsa info!
Wonderfully informative and succinct. Yet, perhaps, too brief sometimes.
Aug 21, 2014 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 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

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
Jul 29, 2009 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 th ...more
Elin Jonasson
En intressant bok som besvarar de mest underliga frågorna angående harry potter och hans magiska värld. Man får en helt annan bild av hur J.K Rowling har skrivit och hur hon har lyckats få allting så fantastiskt och magiskt. Och slutligen så är hjärnan ännu en gång fylld med onödig fakta om jättar, spindlar och varför trollkarlar använder trollstavar! läsvärd om du är en hp-geek med andra ord.
Jeeth Suresh
Oct 14, 2007 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.
Aug 16, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, myths
Interesting little facts and connections. There was a lot I already knew, but also quite a lot I didn't know, which surprised me for a book written that long ago (2001, after the release of Goblet of Fire).
Devashish Sharma
Jul 23, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not my cup of tea. The only thing the author did was to search for words from the different languages and explain their meanings. Not interesting enough , feels like I am reading an academic book.
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 04, 2014 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
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
Jul 15, 2015 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 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
Mar 11, 2014 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 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 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 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 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 12, 2011 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!
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