The Sorcerer's Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter

The Sorcerer's Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter

by Allan Zola Kronzek, Elizabeth Kronzek


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307885135
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 10/19/2010
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 246,909
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Allan Zola Kronzek is a professional magician and educator who lectures on the history of magic and conjuring. A frequent visiting artist at elementary and middle schools, he is the author of A Book of Magic for Young Magicians: The Secrets of Alkazar. Elizabeth Kronzek, his daughter, is a writer, editor, and historian. She holds a master’s degree in Renaissance history from Princeton University.

Read an Excerpt

The Sorcerer's Companion

A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter, Third Edition
By Allan Zola Kronzek


Copyright © 2010 Allan Zola Kronzek
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780307885135

If you're like most Harry Potter fans, you probably know that Harry's prized possession is his broomstick, Hermione's favorite subject is arithmancy, and a magnificent creature called a hipogriff helped Sirius Black evade capture. But did you know that wizards were once thought to fly on pitchfoks, arithmancy is an ancient form of fortune-telling, and the hippogriff was first mounted by the legendary knights of Charlemagne? Or that Professor Dumbledore's friend Nicholas Flamel, creator of the Sorcerer's stone, was a real person?

So quickly do the astonishing adventures of Harry and his friends fly by that we rarely have a moment to consider the wealth of real mythology, folklore, and history that shimmers just beneath the surface. One of the great pleasures of reading the Harry Potter books comes from the extraordinary richness of the magical universe they contain--fashioned partly from J.K. Rowling's seemingly boundless imagination and partly from the vast collective lore of magic from around the world. Potions and charms, giants and dragons, cauldrons and crystal balls--all have intriguing and often surprising histories going back hundreds and sometimes thousands of years. Magic wands like those sold in Diagon Alley were once fashoned by Druid sorcerers out of the sacred yew tree. Love potions are traceable to ancient Greece and Rome. And books of spells and curses--required reading at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry--were highly popular (and much frowned upon) during the Middle Ages.

The Sorcerer's Companion allows the curious reader to look up anything "magical" from any of the first four Harry Potter books and discover a wealth of fascinating and unexpected information. How did the Sorcerer's Stone get its power? What were the first magic words? Did J.K. Rowling dream up the terrifying basilisk, the seductive veela, or the vicious grindylow? And if she didn't, who did? The Sorcerer's Companion has the answers.

The history of magical beliefs is vast, and in writing this book we had to leave out far more than we put in. Barely mentioned are the rich traditions of magic and mythology of China, Africa, India, Japan, Australia, and South America. Rather we have limited our focus to those aspects of lore directly related to Harry's world. Nearly all of the magical practices at Hogwarts are rooted in the Western magical tradition, which emerged from the ancient empires of the Middle East, Greece, and Rome. Imaginary creatures like the centaur, the manticore, and the unicorn come from the same rich tradition. Many other magical beings, such as elves, gnomes, goblins, hinkypunks, and trolls, have their roots in the folklore of northern Europe and the British Isles.

When we first began writing The Sorcerer's Companion we asked Harry Potter fans what subjects interested them the most. Some wanted to know more about spells, charms, and curses. Others were eager to learn about boggarts, red caps, or the difference between witches and hags. We expect you, too, will have your own particular interests and will follow them as you choose. This book is not intended to be read straight through in alphabetical order, although it certainly can be. You might want to start with the Magic entry for an introduction to this fascinating subject. But you can actually start anywhere--and chances are, you'll end up everywhere.

In each entry, we've tried to provide an overview of the subject and its roots in mythology, folklore, and history. Whenever a word appears in bold, that means it has its own entry. Following most entries, you'll find a symbol and an abbreviation indicating one place in the Harry Potter books where the subject appears. "SS 5/71," for example, refers you to Harry Potter and the Sorcer's Stone, chapter 5, page 71. CS refers to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, PA refers to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and GF refers to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. All references are to the American editions.

In researching The Sorcerer's Companion we learned many curious things we never expected to know, like how to read tea leaves, get rid of goblins, safely harvest mandrake root, and use arithmancy to choose a breakfast cereal. We feel more secure knowing how to recognize a demon and what to do if attacked by a ghoul (never, ever hit him twice). We hope all of this information is as interesting to you as it is to us. You might never know when you might need it.


Are you unusually susceptible to colds and infections? Do you have a tendency to attract the wrong kind of attention? Are you plagued by bad luck? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, an amulet might be just what the doctor ordered. In fact, centuries ago, an amulet was what the doctor ordered--to ward off disease, avoid misfortune, or chase away evil spirits.

An amulet (from the Latin word amuletum, meaning "a method of defense") is an object thought to magically protect its owner from harm. Amulets can come in any size, shape, or material. Indeed, when Hogwarts is struck by a mysterious epidemic of petrification, Neville Longbottom tries to protect himself with an amulet made from a smelly green onion! amulets range from small pendants, rings, and pouches of herbs (worn around the neck to prevent disease) to sizable statues and wall hangings intended to protect the entire household, building, or village. The ancient Babylonians liked to wear tiny, jewel-encrusted clay cylinders to ward off evil spirits. The Romans collected sculptures of Priapus, the god of luck and fertility, and many Americans still hang lucky horseshoes over their doors to guard against misfortune and unwelcome visitors.

Amulets have been present in virtually every society since the beginning of recorded history. The earliest amulets were probably just chunks of stone or metal whose bright colors or unusual shapes suggested they might have magical properties. (In India and Thailand, pieces of pink coral are still used to ward off the evil eye.) Over time, however, it became customary to make amulets in the shape of animals, god and goddess figures, and magic symbols. Images of horns and hands (symbolizing fertility and life) and drawings or carvings of the human eye (suggesting eternal watchfulness) appear on amulets throughout the world. Many amulets also have magic words, short spells, or the names of gods written on them.

Although their appeal is nearly universal, amulets are most closely associated with the ancient Egyptians, who wore them everywhere--even to the grave. It was customary for mummies to be buried with dozens of beetle-shaped amulets called scarabs. These small stone figurines, named after a real type of Egyptian beetle, were supposed to prevent the deceased person's soul from being eaten by Ammit the Devourer--a dreadful part-lion, part-hippo, part-crocodile who guarded scales of justice in the Egyptian afterworld. Apparently, the more important a person was, the more scarabs he took to the afterworld. When King Tutankhamen's body was unearthed some eighty years ago, over 140 amulets were found tucked away in the wrappings of his mummy! Other common Egyptian amulets like the ankh (an Egyptian hieroglyph symbolizing life) and the wadjet (commonly known as the Eye of Horus) served more practical purposes: protecting living Egyptians from death, disease, and the evil eye.

Unfortunately, amulets do have their limitations. For instance, they can only protect you from specific dangers for which they are designed. A scarab may scare Ammit the Devourer, but it's useless against vampires, hinkypunks, and treasure-hungry archaeologists. And if you're going to do battle with the forces of evil, it's important not to confuse amulets with their close cousins, talismans. Unlike enchanted swords, invisibility cloaks, and other classic talismans, amulets do not endow their owners with magical abilities. An amulet cannot be used as a weapon, only as a shield. So if you're planning some epic adventure--like slaying a dragon--you should probably swap your lucky rabbit's foot for the sword of Sir Godric Gryffindor. But if you prefer to stay home where it's nice and cozy, nothing beats an amulet for keeping hostile forces at bay.

CS 11/185


Excerpted from The Sorcerer's Companion by Allan Zola Kronzek Copyright © 2010 by Allan Zola Kronzek. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Amulet: The Evil Eye1
Astrology: Disaster and Disease10
The Zodiac15
The Meaning of the Planets18
Basilisk: The Basilisk Today21
Boggart: The Bogeyman24
Cat: Cat Tales28
Charm: "Charmed, I'm Sure"36
Crystal Ball41
Curse: Licensed to Curse44
The Mummy's Curse47
Dark Arts48
Demon: How to Recognize a Demon52
Divination: The Mantic Arts56
A Brief History of Tarot63
Dragons: Dragons of the East65
Elf: The Elf's New Clothes73
Fairy: The Tooth Fairy76
The Cottingley Fairies79
Fairy Rings81
Flying Carpet82
Forbidden Forest84
Hippogriff: Animals on Trial108
Invisibility Cloak113
Leprechaun: The Farmer and the Leprechaun117
Magic Mirror: Mirror Superstitions145
Magic Wand: The Magic Club149
The Caduceus153
Magic Words: A Little Hocus Pocus157
Mandrake: Mandrake Safety159
Mermaid/Merman: Mermaid Relatives168
Morgana: The Fata Morgana172
Nicholas Flamel177
Red Cap197
Runes: Rune Casting198
Sorcerer's Stone: The Making of the Stone210
The Faking of the Stone215
Tea-Leaf Reading224
Three-Beaded Dog230
Toad: Toadstones232
Unicorn: Hornswoggled242
Werewolf: "Real" Werewolves250
Witch: The Witch's Familiar254
Witch Persecution: Why Were Witches Women?259
Illustration Credits281

Customer Reviews

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Sorcerer's Companion 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think that this is one of the many great books of Mythology! No, I take that back, this is THE:' Best Mythology Book out...Although, I havent read the second edition yet, so that might be more up to date, but this is one hell of a book.....GREAT! But, if you are expecting for it to talk about Harry Potter, it doesn't. It talks about mythology, such as Tarot cards, Crystal Balls, and teaches you how to read tealeaves. I recommend this book to anyone who like Mythology. But a word of advice, don't fool around with it if you dont know what your doing. Things could get...'messy' P.S. The Titles you also enjoyed part, cut off alot of what I said, so here is the rest: Finding the God in Harry Potter (I just like to read these because I think its intresting how the world of harry potter relates to the God alot of People in the 'Real' World believe in) Mythology, The Hidden Myths in Harry Potter: Spellbinding Map and Book of Secrets, The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter: A Treasury of Myths Legends and Fascinating Facts, The Science of Harry Potter: How Magic Really Works, and Faith Journey through Fantasy Lands: A Christian Dialogue with Harry Potter, Star Wars, and the Lord of the Rings (agian i just find these interesting) Thanks for reading this...I hope you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading this
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book. I loved it. It had information on most fo the magical creatures and other topics from the Harry Potter books. I would have liked more topics and more information, but it's still good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book really is a wonderful compliment to the Harry Potter books, because it allows the reader to research many concepts introduced in the books and learn about the folklore and history surrounding them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked some, but parts were boring. I thought it was more Harry Potter related.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was out of this world. I have read other HP Explantion Books but non were quiet this good. Everyone who wants to learn more about mythical creatures should reas this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MAGIC IS REAL! who r u kidding? R u crazy? Ur crushing little kids dreams here! Saying magix isnt real! People if u do most recwnt for the searches. Ull know what im talking about. DUDE! MAJIC IS REAL! IVE SEEN IT HAPPEN UNDER MY OWN NOSE! TAKE MY WORD FOR IT! *mumbles stuff under breath* Anyway. I think this would be helpful. I love Harry Potter. Oh and um people. If that one review saying magic isnt real crushed u. Magic iiiiiisssss real. Seen it happen with my own to eyes. So always live up to ur dreams peeps! Peace -mya B. Kid critic
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book full of info behind the scenes of JK Rowling's ideas.
Robert Dorsey More than 1 year ago
I loved the book, it had loads of info. It even had stuff that wasn't in the books or was rarely talked about. LONG LIVE HARRY POTTER!!!!!!
Alexis Garelli More than 1 year ago
Amazing this book opened up all the mysteries of harry potter!!! By it u will be hooked
Ally King More than 1 year ago
Read the sample, and you'll be hooked! Even the sample has enough info to keep u going until u buy it.
LiodilesaysRAR More than 1 year ago
i really liked this book. i first picked it up at the library, because i thought it would have thorough, direct explanations of what happened in the harry potter books. after i read a few pages, i was kinda dissapointed. but as i read on, i realized that not only does the book explain things that happened in harry potter (not directly, though), it talks about other types of magic too. and so, i liked the book even more. i would suggest buying this book and keeping it. because u'd probably go back to this book again, and again, to find out more stuff.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is a great book to read while reading the Harry Potter series. If you like magical books like Harry Potter then you should read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is awasome i give it 5 stars it is the best book i have ever read great reference stuff!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is filled with all the Harry Potter information you can imagine! I loved it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book! I learned how to do arithamancy and now I do it 24 7. I even put them in my Valintine cards
Guest More than 1 year ago
They got info from other non-fiction books! Non-Magic believers BEWARE!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been reading the Harry Potter books over and over again and always wonder if J.K Rowling made all of the stuff up. If so how does everything work? This book gives me all the answers in the world, Harry Potter world. All of my questions are answered in a simple book. I think that anyone with questions about Hinkypucks or Arithmacy should read this book.
aimless22 on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Published after the fourth Harry Potter book, this book serves a reference to the magical creatures, practices and beliefs that populate the series about the young wizard. Arranged alphabetically, one can easily look up Broomstick, Magic wand and veela. It is interesting that the author has described some of the ancient beliefs that many of the magical creatures are rooted in.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wasnt that good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please if so comment your nam and if you want i wull share my books with you
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It keeps you going until you buy it. This is first on my list. I learned Arithmancy, and found out that I have the same results as Hermione!!!!! Ignore the hatin' reviews caus ethis book is "Bloody brilliant" as Ron would say
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are, you NEED this book! Its amazing and covers everything on how to do arithmancy to the origins of magic and the years witches were really, truely persecuted. A must read.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have the actual book. Well, HAD the actual book. My hormone crazed twilight loving lunitic of a cousin BURNED IT with her moms lighter in their fireplace. If she even TRIES to burn my nook....