The Lexicon: An Unauthorized Guide to Harry Potter Fiction and Related Materials
Steve Vander Ark
RDR Books (2009)
Reviewed by McKenzie Tritt (age 15) for Reader Views (7/09)
“The Lexicon: An Unauthorized Guide to Harry Potter Fiction and Related Materials” by Steve Vander Ark and his team has finally been published after some trouble in court (read: a lawsuit). This book is a guide to all things Harry Potter, some far out and some quite obvious. It offers three-hundred and forty-five pages of encyclopedia-like text on all of the characters and terms of our most beloved series. It is organized alphabetically, making it easy to find a specific item, and it contains sources so that you can find where each description, as well as the part it plays in Harry Potter, is located. Plus, if it is in a Harry Potter book, “The Lexicon” will even tell you which chapter of the book it is located in!
“The Lexicon” is basically an encyclopedia of all things Harry Potter. Now, just a quick note – for all of those who were hoping for another book from J.K. Rowling, this isn’t it. This is an unauthorized guide to the books, not Rowling’s actually writing. “The Lexicon” is a good book because there are two ways to read it. You can read it cover to cover, like a normal book, if you want another dose of Harry Potter. You can also read it alongside the Harry Potter books and look up characters and terms as you progress. One of the cool things about this book is how the words are broken down. If possible, roots are provided for each word, and it often gives you some insight into what it means. For example, Nox, a spell which extinguishes light cast by Lumos, means ‘night’ in Latin. Pretty cool, huh? This book was great because of just how in-depth it was; it covered a variety of topics from characters to spells to potion ingredients. The descriptions were quick and witty, giving just the right amount of information.
“The Lexicon” was great for the above average fan of Harry Potter, but may not be what the normal fan is looking for. It is a lot of extra information on things that most fans wouldn’t really care about. If you are looking for a more in-depth guide, however, I think this one is a good one to check out. This would be a great tool for fan fiction writers! One thing I have heard, however, is that a lot of this information is available on the Lexicon website, a Harry Potter fan site. I believe that this book could go either way; you’ll love it or you won’t. I would recommend “The Lexicon” by Steve Vander Ark to super Harry Potter fans; it might be a bit too much for the average fan.