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

Overview

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...

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Overview

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Just weeks after submitting an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals, RDR Books has withdrawn its challenge to Judge Robert P. Patterson's September ruling in J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros.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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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

If ever a book were to test the truism that there's no such thing as bad publicity, it may be this one: an A-Z encyclopedic guide to J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter universe, based on a popular Web site created by Vander Ark in 2000, and the center of high-profile litigation. That case settled, the question now becomes online Lexicon v. print.

Vander Ark has taken pains not to use Rowling's "unique expressions," as the introduction calls that writer's words (for example, the book's readers learn that doxies "have a poisonous bite"; users of the Lexicon Web site find that doxies "have sharp venomous teeth," plus a reference to Rowling's Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them). Commentary unique to the volume follows many entries (one complaint at trial was that the proposed Lexicon reorganized Rowling's material without adding much information); these range from etymologies to pedestrian analyses (of Harry's reliance on the "Expelliarmus" spell versus Voldemort's on the Killing Curse: "In the end, J.K. Rowling writes Harry as a person not of violence and murder, but of compassion and mercy-of love"). The Lexicon Web site still exists as a comprehensive, updated-and free-resource; while the print edition does differ in its content, its advantages are hard to discern. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Midwest Book Review
THE LEXICON: AN UNAUTHORIZED GUIDE TO HARRY POTTER FICTION AND RELATED MATERIALS was famous before it ever appeared in print: J.K. Rowling sued over the original book in 2007, and this new book is in full compliance with a judge's ruling regarding an earlier manuscript. It's the first encyclopedia to the entire Harry Potter series, offering the missing index and including explanations of hundreds of words invented by Rowling. With its extensive citations and details, THE LEXICON is the perfect accompaniment to any library already strong in Harry Potter fans.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School–This work serves as a companion to J. K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” books (Scholastic). It begins with a brief list of abbreviations that are used throughout the series and an explanation of date usage in the Lexicon. The remainder of the book contains alphabetical entries explaining characters, wizarding terms and phrases, and geographic locations (both real and fictional). Each entry has a brief description and a reference to the first time the term is mentioned in the novels. Character entries also include dates relating to the characters’ lives and important positions they may have held, if known. Additional descriptive information beyond the connection to Harry Potter is included in italics when the term’s origin outside of that universe is included or if further noncanonical explanation is required. It should be noted that the Lexicon is not a complete “Harry Potter” encyclopedia as many of the characters’ fates remain undisclosed to preserve the experience for first-time readers. That being said, this volume will serve as a quick reference guide for enthusiasts of the series and as a good companion for teens writing fan fiction.–Kelliann Bogan, Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH
Kirkus Reviews
His publisher having lost 2008's courtroom battle against J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers over an initial print version of his popular fan site's encyclopedia of everything Potter, Vander Ark offers a revised second take. The alphabetical, short-entry structure remains, but the text has been rewritten to create more distance from its source material. As a result, potential spoilers have been minimized; instead of "[fighting] against the Death Eaters in the Battle of Hogwarts," for instance, the hostile centaur Bane "eventually took sides and fought against the Death Eaters." There are also no plot summaries, and, with the exceptions of Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, none of the canonical HP titles or films rate full entries. Come to that, neither do Muggles, including Rowling. Nonetheless, stealing a march on all competitors by treating The Tales of Beedle the Bard (2008) as a separate title, this wins points for currency, and all but the most obsessive readers will find it unexcelled for ease of use as a quick reference guide. (source list) (Reference. 10-adult)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571431363
  • Publisher: RDR Books
  • Publication date: 1/16/2009
  • Pages: 347

Meet the Author

Steve Vander Ark grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He studied library science and media management at Grand Valley State University and worked as a school media specialist for many years. Vander Ark founded the Harry Potter Lexicon website in 2000. The internationally respected Lexicon site attracts an annual audience of over 25 million and is one of the most widely quoted and used sources of information on the Potter novels. Vander Ark has keynoted major academic conferences on the Harry Potter novels including Sectus in London, Patronus in Copenhagen, Lumos in Las Vegas, and Prophecy in Toronto.
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