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

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

2.8 52
by Steve Vander Ark

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ISBN-10: 1571431748

ISBN-13: 2901571431744

Pub. Date: 01/16/2009

Publisher: RDR Books

This unauthorized guide to the popular series by author J.K. Rowling is a 368-page companion work perfect for the curious reader who wants to know more about these remarkable books. Extensive new commentary, which does not appear on Vander Ark's Harry Potter Lexicon website (www.hp-lexicon.org) adds to the fun of reading this reference work.

"Steve Vander Ark's


This unauthorized guide to the popular series by author J.K. Rowling is a 368-page companion work perfect for the curious reader who wants to know more about these remarkable books. Extensive new commentary, which does not appear on Vander Ark's Harry Potter Lexicon website (www.hp-lexicon.org) adds to the fun of reading this reference work.

"Steve Vander Ark's Harry Potter Lexicon website is visited by more than 25 million visitors annually," said RDR Books publisher Roger Rapoport. "For years fans who have seen the author keynote major academic conferences on the Harry Potter novels, including Sectus in London, Patronus in Copenhagen, Lumos in Las Vegas and Prophecy in Toronto, have been asking him to write an original companion work on this wonderful series. This new book offers fascinating analysis, new insights and a deep appreciation of Rowling's work."

Vander Ark, who has read the Potter novels many times, has been interviewed by the BBC, the Today Show, the New York Times, Time Magazine, the Associated Press, the New Yorker, the London Times, the Guardian. His interview for an A&E television special on the series appears as part of the extra section on the DVD edition of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

A former school media specialist, Vander Ark has been honored by fans of the series who appreciate his insights into the party books. The Association for Library Services for Children, a division of the American Library Association, has named the Lexicon website one of the 15 "Great Web Sites For Kids." It has also been named a USA Today Hot Site.

From Publishers Weekly, 12/5/2008
Just weeks after submitting an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals, RDR Books has withdrawn its challenge to Judge Robert P. Patterson's September ruling in J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. Entertainment's copyright infringement suit against the publisher. Judge Patterson's ruling blocked RDR's planned publication of The Harry Potter Lexicon by Steven Vander Ark. Instead, the company has announced plans to release a new unauthorized guide to the Potter series, The Lexicon: An Unauthorized Guide to Harry Potter Fiction and Related Materials. The book will include commentary that does not appear on Vander Ark's Web site. RDR publisher Roger Rapoport said the new book has a new focus and purpose, mindful of the guidelines of the court....

Commenting on RDR's actions, Neil Blair, Rowling's attorney, said, "We are delighted that this matter is finally and favourably resolved and that J.K. Rowling's rights -- and indeed the rights of all authors of creative works -- have been protected.We are also pleased to hear that rather than continue to litigate, RDR have themselves decided to publish a different book prepared with reference to Judge Patterson's decision.

Rapoport said the company decided to drop the appeal "because we are publishing a different manuscript that is a lot better." He emphasized that the new book, which features material from Vander Ark's original Web site, www.hp-lexicon.org, new commentary and a blend of material, "followed the road map" the judge laid out in his opinion about how a companion to the Potter books may be published without infringing Rowling's copyright. "We did what the judge told us to do," Rapoport said.

Vander Ark said he has been spending the last six months adding much more commentary about plot lines, characters and other elements in the books. "I think Harry Potter fans will find this useful and interesting, and I also think it will bring them back to the novels," he said.... --John A. Sellers and Jim Milliot

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The Lexicon: An Unauthorized Guide to Harry Potter Fiction and Related Materials 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
Victoire_Weasley More than 1 year ago
Somehow I knew the fandom crazies would come out just to carry on another stupid war, get a life. Newsflash - if you buy a book in a bookstore you can look through it first to decide if its worth the money. I really wanted this book because the Lexicon is still the best Potter site but I don't always get as much computer time as I want and my friends like to give trivia challenges and the book is perfect for that.

Here's what I like best about the book, it has so much information that you almost never have to go online or have 25 tabs open to settle a debate or write new questions for a challenge. Also all the Famous Witch and Wizards get an entry. No site but the Lexicon has the complete list that I have found so I was glad to see them in the book. I really like how fast you can go through and find what you want and that you can find other interesting things while you are looking through. Also did anyone ever seriously try to look through all the books for a student like Laura Madley? This book has her listed and tells you where you can find her in the books, I love that. You just can't beat this book, it's amazing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the frustrations of reading a long series is trying to keep track of what's transpired along the way and who was involved. And when you mix in some magical spells along the way, things can get pretty confusing. In an effort to consolidate some of the facts worth remembering, Steve Vander Ark has compiled The Lexicon for readers of the Harry Potter series. In encyclopedic format, he provides some of the names and events that happen throughout the narrative. He also includes brief commentary on some of the items, sharing additional information that's not in the books. Because of its format, the reader will need to know the word he wants to find. If you want a spell to make yourself appear to be someone else, you'll have to look for Pollyjuice Potion. There isn't a general listing of spells so you can find it. But if you've just come across this term and you can't remember what it is, you can easily look it up. I enjoyed this series immensely, but at times I found it frustrating that I couldn't remember everything had happened in earlier books. Having The Lexicon at my side would have made it much easier to follow along. If you're a Harry Potter fan, I highly recommend you pick up this companion work to enhance your reading pleasure. Reviewer: Alice Berger, Bergers Book Reviews
Elphias_Doge More than 1 year ago
A useful guide for the writer of fan fiction, but unsuitable for a first-time reader of the Harry Potter books. The entries have far too many spoilers to be enjoyable for the young reader. The commentary is pedestrian and offers no help to the scholar or student. The book is an abridgement of a popular fan website, so the potential buyer must be aware that the free online site offers more content with hyperlinks and a search function. Not to be totally negative, I do think the book will make a useful tool for the fangirl who likes to write stories about Harry Potter's world. For all other readers there are many books about Harry Potter that would better serve, and, if one can wait, there will be J.K. Rowling's own encyclopedia in a year or two.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just got my copy of The Lexicon and it's wonderful. Absolutely a must-have for any fan of the Harry Potter series, This book is well organized, well-researched and marvelously detailed. I've read every book more than once, and still found myself surprised to come across details I'd forgotten as I paged through The Lexicon. Kudos to the author for giving us a marvelous accompaniment to our Harry Potter books.

emilylovesagatha More than 1 year ago
This is a great tool to have while exploring the world of Harry Potter. Say you're reading one of the books and you come along a word you don't know. You simply pick up a copy of "The Lexicon" and use it as you would a regular dictionary. No more problems!
Demarest More than 1 year ago
I was initially avoiding picking up this book due to the court case the past year, but upon learning the court's verdict and that the book was redone following that court judge's rulings, I gave this book a chance, and I'm glad I did. I never really followed the Lexicon online, but this is a nice book to have as a quick reference and something to pull out and read when you get bored. Entries in "The Lexicon" are short and to the point, and include as few spoilers as possible. They also point to where a certain item can be found in the text and otherwise canon-material (Rowling's interviews, etc.). Like wikipedia, this book is a springboard to thinking more about the complexity of the Potter series. I especially enjoy the editor's italicized commentary after certain entries - they lead to more questions which one could see these editors tackling in an analysis book. I will soon be reading "Harry Potter and the Order of the Court" about the court case from spring of 2008 which concerned this book, but knowing that, though unauthorized, no move has been made against the current edition, my conscience is clear in reading this and enjoying it, and it only makes me look forward to "The Scottish Book" (Rowling's forthcoming encyclopedia), which who knows when that will come out. As a side note, the book is edited (for grammar, format, etc.) very well.
Rowling_Fan More than 1 year ago
I've been a user of the Lexicon website for many years and did not expect to find the book version useful but was very pleasantly surprised to find the opposite to be true!

The book shares the look and feel of the website and the layout makes it easy to find things too. There the similarity ends, as the book has clearly gone through a very tight editing process and the information is both concise and very readily accessible. The website has more in depth information and I find myself going there if I need additional data, but as a first port of call, the book is where I head to now.

Mr Vander Ark has produced a very useful reference book that fits nicely with my Harry Potter collection.
Safa More than 1 year ago
The HP Lexicon is very informitave for the novice Harry Potter fan! Just enoguh info to each word, it is perfectly balance and the details are just right! The Hobgoblins? I didn't even know they were a band till I read the Lexicon! It not only includes info from the books, but exclusive scoop from the master herself! I mean, Charm Your Own Cheese? When'd I see that in the books? Steve Vander Ark has created a masterpiece, and i dearly recommend buying it! For the novice Potter fan (or old), or for anyone, it is great! From -SAFA, 9 YRS OLD, MAJOR HARRY POTTER FAN!
I-C-Moose More than 1 year ago
This book is good to have while reading the Harry Potter series. It's nice to be able to look up a name or location in The Lexicon when you're reading along and can't remember a character or place being discussed. It's a helpful resource book but I was expecting more detail from it. My hope and expectation is that J K Rowling will write an official Harry Potter Encyclopedia that includes everything Harry Potter with pictures as well!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DON'T BUY THIS BOOK! Didn't you people hear about the court case about this? They should NEVER have published this book!
memyslfni More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was exceptionally organized and well done. There is not a thing missing! It is perfect for the obsessive fan who thinks they know all the People places and things that exist in the Harry Potter world, because you will absolutely find things you have never heard of before.
davidenglish2 More than 1 year ago
The Lexicon encyclopedia is the must read companion book for all Potter fans, and even those who aren't. Informative and academic, I found myself squealing like a house elf as I poured over the entries. If I had any friends, I would buy them all a copy.
Dorcas_Meadowes More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If I could have given no stars, I would have, but the system didn't permit it.

I am a bit shocked that B&N displays this title under the banner of "Harry Potter Teaching Aides". What is it teaching? Bad conduct? Greed? The original version of this book was determined by a New York court to violate JK Rowling's copyright because the author, Steven Vander Ark, lifted about 90% of his book verbatim from JK Rowling's writing without adding meaningful value: a degree of plagerism any teacher would never allow on an assignment. SVA and the publisher, RDR, were prohibited by the judge from publishing the original book. This is the "revised" version of SVA's "illegal" book, with some changes to it to satisfy the court's legal critique of the original. Even though it may now pass the legal litmus test, in spirit it still violates (in my opinion) the trust JK Rowling put in her fans and that Steven Vander Ark professed to respect until he decided to cash in on her work. I wouldn't touch this book. What other people decide to do is up to them.

In addition, and as a note of caution, the book's contents are available for free from the "Lexicon" website, so there's no real added value of buying this book, other than giving your money to SVA and the publisher RDR. (Although, one could point out that the book is an effective aide for teaching greed. *sarcasm*)

What do I recommend? Wait for JK Rowling's own announced Encyclopedia of all things Harry. In the meantime, read the other original books on the subject of Harry Potter's world, which add value to JKR's work rather than regurgitate it.

(I'm guessing there's a good chance B&N will take this down, but I hope they don't because all opinions matter...the good, the bad, and the ugly. :) )

btw: I'm the first reviewer, and found the book already earned 2.5 stars without any reviews before mine. How did that happen?
Daisuke More than 1 year ago
I bought this book to help me out with my Harry Potter themed website to make sure everything was accurate as possible. I expected it to be just an outline of everything but what I got was a guide to everything that I would need to make an accurate plot. It had the levels of the Ministry of Magic listed and what order they went in, a few handy spells and what they do and above all, had the big events that shaped the wizarding world into what it is today. I used the Lexicon website as a frequent source in the construction of the website and now having a solid copy that I can reference whenever I'm not connected to the internet just makes my life easier. I highly recommend The Lexicon to anyone that is making a Harry Potter site or just the fans that want to know as much as they can about the Harry Potter world.
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H19 More than 1 year ago
Anyone who has to thank a legal team in their introduction doesn't deserve to have their book sold. I did not buy this book, just read the introduction in the book shop to see what he was on about this time. The real author, J.K. Rowling, didn't want this published so fans shouldn't buy it. If you want to know something about the novels- check the novels. I could have done a Lexicon and so could any other fan, there's nothing here for us. If you want a nice walk down memory lane from a true Harry Potter fan I'd suggest Harry, A History by Melissa Anelli of The Leaky Cauldron. It's original and the author approves.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago