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

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

Refreshing Facts and How to Find Them

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 cou...
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.

posted by Dorcas_Meadowes on January 19, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

10 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

Nothing you didn't know.

Got it at a bookstore. Regret spending the money. Any fans hard core enough to want this book are hard core enough to know what's in here or know enough that you can get it for free online. Not even at the Lexicon - other sites do a better job and are better updated. Gl...
Got it at a bookstore. Regret spending the money. Any fans hard core enough to want this book are hard core enough to know what's in here or know enough that you can get it for free online. Not even at the Lexicon - other sites do a better job and are better updated. Glad to see the author's friends have offered him support here, that's nice, but Publisher's Weekly is right: the "commentary" is pedantic, and the author and publisher are treating their audience like idiots for trying to confuse the issue that they lost the case by implying this is the same book.

This adds nothing to your knowledge of Harry Potter; no great insights, no info that's not in the books or organized better on the internet.

Save your money.

posted by Gavesomechances on January 19, 2009

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