We are celebrating 20 Years of the Lexicon with a Twentieth Anniversary Canon Celebration!
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Steve VanderArk

Posted by in Lexicon Podcast
This is an encore presentation of an episode from June, 2011 Steve talks about Pottermore misconceptions, how Rowling changed the online world once before, cool and interesting sources of canon information, Galleons changing the world, the late Quidditch match in book one, and other bits of Potter lore. Links:… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
This is an encore presentation of an episode from March, 2018. Mister Tibbles? Mrs Norris? Why do the animals owned by Squibs seem to have similar names? And particularly human-sounding names at that? In chapter two of Order of the Phoenix, we meet Mrs Figg… Read More
Posted by in Characters
Quotes from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (UK ed.) Compiled by Lori Damerell ‘My dear Friar, haven’t we given Peeves all the chances he deserves? He gives us all a bad name and you know, he’s not really even a ghost…’ (PS7) ‘Peeves,’ Percy whispered to… Read More
Posted by in Website news
I know it seems like nothing changes around here. That’s only partially true. I say partially because things don’t change fast since everyone working on the site does it in their spare time and on a volunteer basis. So real life being what it is, that means that big changes… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
This is an encore episode from February 10, 2018. Chastity, Credence, and Modesty may have seemed like strange names to viewers of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but they are rooted in the Barebone family’s Puritan past. Not only is the Barebones’s… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
This is an encore presentation of an episode from February of 2018. Why do we assume that Ottery St Mary, an actual town in south Devon, is the same village as the one called Ottery St Catchpole in the books? There are a couple of good reasons… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
This is an encore podcast episode originally aired in January of 2018. Did you know that one of Harry’s classmates apparently vanished between first and fifth year? I don’t mean “vanished” in the same way that Montague disappeared into a Vanishing Cabinet only to reappear a few weeks later. I… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
Pottermore is no more. I guess having the name “Potter” in the title was too limiting, since now the website is called “Wizarding World” and encompasses the “Fantastic Beasts” films as well as the Potter books and films. My reaction? Whatever. I loved Pottermore for Rowling’s… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
Eleven years ago, after the publication of the last Harry Potter novel and, as far as we knew, the end of canon, I wrote a piece for the Lexicon entitled “Puzzles, Mysteries, and Loose Ends” in which I discussed the things we still didn’t know and the questions which… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
Chapter 35 of The Order of the Phoenix describing the Battle of the Department of Mysteries is certainly one of the most action-filled passages in any of the books.Rowling takes us on a wild ride indeed. When the book first came out, we fans read it with quite… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
An idea came to me during a re-read of Deathly Hallows. I believe that there is evidence of a magical force in the Wizarding World that I am calling “convergence.” It’s a plot device, I know, but if we think within the story, it seems that there is something in… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
It’s the first of September and in the Wizarding world, children starting at age eleven will board the Hogwarts Express at King’s Cross Station to travel north to Scotland, and the new school year will begin. I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk about some of the interesting facts… Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion / Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
Today we’re going to talk Horcruxes. Specifically, how they’re made. I started thinking about this subject when I read a particularly interesting passage from Half-Blood Prince. Here’s what caught my eye: Dumbledore says that Voldemort “seems to have reserved the… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
At the end of the last chapter, Hermione launched an impromptu plan to free herself and Harry from Umbridge, who had caught them using her office fireplace to talk to someone. Hermione’s plan was to pretend that they were talking to Dumbledore, telling him that the powerful secret… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
Hermione says something very important in chapter 32 of Order of the Phoenix, something which helps define the overarching plot of the entire seven-book series. When Harry is frantically describing the vision he had of Sirius captured and tortured by Voldemort in the Department of Mysteries, Hermione tries to… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
Chapter 31 of The Order of the Phoenix is entitled “O.W.L.s.” Let me just say that the concept of these examinations is still a bit hard for me to grasp. I realize that the OWLs and NEWTs are the Wizarding World equivalent of some sort of test that British… Read More
Posted by in Website news
UPDATE: Search is fixed now Unfortunately, our server has developed problems which don’t lend themselves to simple, quick fixes. We’ve tried Reparo and Expecto Patronum and even tried to feed it chocolate, but to no avail. So it looks like we’re going to have to switch to a new server. Our faithful… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
Hey, everyone, Steve VanderArk here. This is a special announcement for listeners of our Harry Potter Lexicon Minute podcast. As you may have noticed, we’ve been taking a short break for the past week or two. The podcast isn’t ending — we’ll be back with more episodes here… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
We’ve reached chapter 30 of Order of the Phoenix and as always, there’s a lot to talk about here. The castle is in chaos. The students are in full rebellion against Umbridge, and the teachers are too apparently. Filch is having to transport students across the… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
There is so much to love in chapter 29 of Order of the Phoenix. The focus if the first part of the chapter is Harry’s meeting with McGonagall to discuss plans for his future, memorably attended by Umbridge. At the end of the chapter, we watch Fred and… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
Early interviews with J.K. Rowling followed a very familiar pattern. The interviewer would tell the tale of the poor, penniless single mother who wrote the first Harry Potter book in cafes because her flat wasn’t heated. Much of this story was exaggerated, by the way. Then they would ask the… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
I’m enjoying my re-read of Order of the Phoenix so much … It’s not really that I’m surprised very often. After all, I’ve read the book so often that each sentence feels as familiar as a my favorite pair of slippers. It’s just that even after all these… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
Over the almost twenty years of the website’s existence, we have been challenged for our use of Rowling’s interviews as canon. That’s perfectly understandable, especially since we make a point of NOT including the Potter films. Why one and not the other? There is an obvious response, that those films… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
“Fifty years ago, at daybreak, on a fine summer’s morning … “ That’s from chapter one of Goblet of Fire, as you probably already knew. That’s when Tom Riddle Senior and his parents were mysteriously killed in their mansion near Little Hangleton. Frank Bryce, the caretaker,… Read More
Posted by in About Sources / Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
Today I’m going to talk a little bit about book two, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. For me in the US, this book came out in 1999. Reading it firmly convinced me that I was going to fall in love with the Harry Potter series. I started taking… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
Today I’m going to start a series talking about each canon source, giving my thoughts about it and maybe sharing some memories from my twenty years of being a Harry Potter fan. We’ll start with book one, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Now you’ll notice I used the American… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
Chapter 26 of Order of the Phoenix is completely packed. I mean it, this chapter is like a rich tapestry. I’ll just wander through the text, pointing out things here and there. It starts with Hermione’s delightful explanation for Harry of Cho’s behavior during their disastrous date, which includes… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
Two very important things happen in chapter 25 of Order of the Phoenix. I’m not talking about Harry’s disastrous date with Cho, which, let’s face it, is just horrible. I cringe as I read it and yes, I do recognize those kinds of awkward moments… Read More
Posted by in The Films / Website news
You might be here on the Lexicon looking for information about the characters, things, creatures, events, etc. from “Crimes of Grindelwald.” If so, you might have to have to wait a week or so for everything to appear. We have a spreadsheet of 143 entries which need to be added… Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion / The Films
The dates for each of these events is derived from a close read of canon sources, including the scripts for Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. 1881 Albus Dumbledore is born c. 1883 Gellert Grindelwald is born c. Read More
Posted by in The Films
Here are some helpful resources you might need if you’re researching the new film. We’ll update this with other resources over time. Timelines: Integrating the Dumbledore, Grindelwald, and Voldemort Timelines Timeline: The Rise of Grindelwald The Fantastic Beasts Saga Timeline Characters: Newt Scamander | timeline Gellert… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
And now we’re to chapter 24 of Order of the Phoenix. This is not one of my favorite chapters of the book. I’m struck again how much I dislike certain characters, in this case Snape and Sirius. And since I know that this is the last time we’ll… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
On a couple of previous podcasts, I have talked about Ottery St. Catchpole and the Burrow. I’ve discussed why we identify the town with Ottery St. Mary in Devon, near Exeter. I talked about the relationship between the town and the Burrow, located, according to the books,… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
Let me just start out by saying that I cry easily. Just ask my wife. I cry at sappy commercials with fathers sending their daughters off into the world while remembering every father-daughter dance and scraped knee. So you’d think that reading the Harry Potter books, especially the first time… Read More
Posted by in Canon discussion / Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
In chapter 22, we are introduced to St Mungo’s hospital. But we are also introduced to two other new ideas, one of which remained a mystery to fans even after the last book was published. One of these new ideas is the fact that the portraits of previous headmasters… Read More
Posted by in Website news
A few days ago, Entertainment Weekly posted “A definitive timeline of every Harry Potter Horcrux.” I sure wish they’d research these things better before publishing them. Because they’re a mainstream magazine and because they’ve clearly been given a certain level a special access to the Fantastic Beasts team, fans… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
While I read these chapters, I always look for something interesting to record a podcast about. When I read chapter 21, no one thing stood out as the topic to discuss, but a couple of tidbits did catch my eye. I’ll run through them for you. First, I hadn’t… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
There are a number of new Harry Potter games coming out. They’re all mobile games, but my favorite Harry Potter game came out quite a few years before there was such a thing as a smartphone to play it on. Way back in 2001, Wizards of the Coast released a… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
I love this chapter. Rowling is on top of her game here. I talked about her skill at writing conversations in a previous episode, and she’s at it again in this chapter. The nuances of the conversations, first between the Trio and Hagrid and then between Hagrid and Umbridge, are… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
Chapter nineteen starts on a high note: Harry felt as though he were carrying some kind of talisman inside his chest over the following two weeks, a glowing secret that supported him through Umbridge’s classes and even made it possible for him to smile… Read More
Posted by in Harry Potter Lexicon Minute
I thoroughly enjoyed chapter 18 of Order of the Phoenix, so much so that I had trouble picking out one thing to talk about in this podcast. The text is just so rich with wonderful conversations and characterizations — just read through that marvelous scene with Peeves throwing… Read More