The Lexicon: An Unauthorized Guide to Harry Potter by Steve Vander Ark
This is the second time Steve Vander Ark has produced a Harry Potter Lexicon, which is an encyclopaedia of the characters, spells, object and places from JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series with reference to the chapter and book in which they are mentioned.
Vander Ark runs the Harry Potter Lexicon fan site and this is a book version of the material available online. As I say, this is his second offering, the first Lexicon he produced became the subject of a lawsuit brought by Warner Bros. and JK Rowling, who objected to the level of material taken from the Potter books, saying it was ‘in direct contravention to Ms Rowling’s repeated stated intention to publish her own companion books to the series’. Subsequently, the Lexicon was cut down and published in 2009, carrying hefty disclaimers both on the front and back covers claiming no affiliation with those who hold the copyrights.
JK Rowling said it was nothing more than a rearrangement of her own material, and this is where the problem lies. It is just a list of people, places and things from Harry Potter and its related publications. For example, the Dark Force Defence League has the explanation of being ‘An organisation which fights against the Dark Arts’. If you are a Harry Potter fan you are already going to know this, and if you are not, you are not going to be bothered. Sometimes some interesting facts are included, such as the original word in Latin a spell may have come from or the historical context of a name used for a character but this is not enough to make it worth buying this book.
The Lexicon has clearly been put together by people who really love Harry Potter, and whether or not Vander Ark should profit from using another author’s material is a wide-ranging debate, but personally I have not found any artistic merit in this book that makes its production worthwhile. Unless you write fan fiction for example, why are you going to need to know where Rabastan Lestrange first appears? On the back cover it says that Vander Ark ‘frequently keynotes academic conferences on the Harry Potter novels’. I do not know what he lectures on at these conferences, but it has to be more than listing things from Harry Potter, so why has he not produced a work expanding on this?
With Christmas approaching I can see its appeal as a gift for a serious Harry Potter fan who would like a reference guide to the world of Harry Potter, and there is some astonishing attention to detail included – for example in the entry under ‘firewhisky’ it mentions that there is one occasion in the books where it is spelt ‘firewhiskey’ – which could well appeal to people who love these sort of facts. However, for the majority of more casual Harry Potter fans I cannot really see what this would give them apart from an occasional historical fact about the real world origin of a name or item, which is not enough to justify the original price tag of $24.95. Unfortunately I think this book holds more interest as an example in the debate of copyright law than as a publication in itself and the only person who would do an encyclopaedia of Harry Potter justice would be JK Rowling herself, who could then expand upon the world she has already created.
This The Lexicon: An Unauthorized Guide to Harry Potter book review was written by Cat Fitzpatrick
Have you read The Lexicon: An Unauthorized Guide to Harry Potter?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
The Lexicon: An Unauthorized Guide to Harry Potter reader reviews
3/10 from 1 reviews
There are currently no reader reviews for this book. Why not be the first?
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Ursula Le Guin
As a young dragonlord, Ged, whose use-name is Sparrowhawk, is sent to the island of Roke to learn the true way of magic. A natural magician, Ged becomes an Archmage and hel...
The Kingkiller Chronicle
"I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my l...
Harry Potter is an ordinary boy who lives in a cupboard under the stairs at his Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon's house, which he thinks is normal for someone like him wh...
Year of the Unicorn
Far from the besieged home of Simon and Jaelithe, in peaceful Norsdale, we meet Gillan, who longs to leave her dull life in a secluded country abbey. But when her wish come...
Sixteen-year-old Neryn is alone in the land of Alban, where the oppressive king has ordered anyone with magical strengths captured and brought before him. Eager to hide her...
The Empire has declared war on the small, were-ruled kingdom of Aydori, capturing five women of the Mage-Pack, including the wife of the were Pack-leader. With the Pack off...
The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School
When her mother finds her sleeping on the ceiling, Amy Thomsett is sent to Drearcliff Grange School in Somerset. Although it looks like a regular 1920s boarding school, Amy...
The Lightbringer Trilogy
Gavin Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. His strength, wit and charm are all that preserve a tenuous peace. But Prisms never last, and Guile knows exac...
The Saga of Recluce
LE Modesitt Jr
Young Lerris is dissatisfied with his life and trade, and yearns to find a place in the world better suited to his skills and temperament. But in Recluce a change in circum...
Raymond E Feist
Crydee, a frontier outpost in the Kingdom of the Isles. An orphaned young boy named Pug becomes a master magician’s apprentice and two world’s destinies are for...
Memory Sorrow and Thorn
A war fueled by the dark powers of sorcery is about to engulf the peaceful land of Osten Ard--for Prester John, the High King, slayer of the dread dragon Shurakai, lies dyi...
Enter the kingdom of Lur, where to use magic unlawfully means death. The Doranen have ruled Lur with magic since arriving as refugees centuries ago. Theirs was a desperate ...
The Night Circus
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterl...
The Chaoswar Saga
Raymond E Feist
The Darkness is coming… The Kingdom is plagued by rumour and instability. Kingdom spies in Kesh have been disappearing - either murdered, or turned to the enemy side...
The Toy Sorcerer
Trapped as a mortal in a dimension where human dreams become reality, Alice Towers endures a journey of unmerciful persecution and excruciating self-discovery. Guided by an...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
Best of 2016
Stranger of Tempest
Lynx is a mercenary with a sense of honour; a dying breed in the Riven Kingdom. Failed by the nation he served and weary of the skirmishes that plague the continent's prin...
A warrior prince, a talented spy. A quest to free an enslaved people begins.Crown Prince Aven Lanuken wants something more than a trophy for a future wife. He wants a woman wh...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
Paris was supposed to save Hallie. Now... well, let’s just say Paris has other ideas. There’s a strange woman called The Chronometrist who will not leave her alone. Garbled warnings from bizarre creatures keep her up at night. And there’s a time portal in the keg room of the bar where she works. Soon, Hallie is tumbling through...
A corrupted city. A dark dream of power. Luke is a prisoner, condemned for a murder he didn’t commit. Abi is a fugitive, desperate to free him before magic breaks his...
The Fifth Empire of Man
Rob J Hayes
The Pirate Isles are united under Drake Morrass’ flag, but the war has only just begun. There’s still a long way to go before he’s able to call himself Ki...
Ian C Esslemont
After the disappointments of Li Heng, Dancer and Kellanved wash up on a small insignificant island named Malaz. Immediately, of course, Kellanved plans to take it over. To ...
Age of Swords
Michael J Sullivan
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhunes make it all but impossible to unite against the co...
A Time of Dread
The Ben-Elim, a race of warrior angels, once vanquished a mighty demon horde. Now they rule the Banished lands. But their dominion is brutally enforced and their ancient en...
The Last Dog on Earth
Adrian J Walker
Every dog has its day... And for Lineker, a happy go lucky mongrel from Peckham, the day the world ends is his: finally a chance to prove to his owner just how loyal he can...