... the perfect companion book to the Harry Potter Lexicon website!

The Lexicon:
An Unauthorized Guide to Harry Potter Fiction
The Lexicon

by Steve Vander Ark
with John Kearns, Lisa Waite Bunker, and Belinda Hobbs

The Lexicon is a 368-page encyclopedia filled with fascinating new insights that will delight readers of the Harry Potter books. To order your copy click here.

A handy reference guide to all the

  • characters
  • spells and potions
  • Hogwarts classes
  • creatures
  • terms
  • and more

from the world of Harry Potter!

The Lexicon book also includes etymologies, citations from the Harry Potter novels and other canon sources, background information, notes and commentary, and other information found nowhere else (not even on the Lexicon website!).

This book references not only the novels but also the Famous Wizard cards, the Daily Prophet newsletters, and other material. Fans will discover a wealth of information which will enhance their enjoyment of the Harry Potter books and add to their appreciation of the richness of Rowling's created world. The Lexicon makes a wonderful addition to anyone's Harry Potter bookshelf.

Sample entries:

Fat Friar, the
(Hufflepuff, medieval)
A wizard who was once a Hufflepuff and is now is their resident ghost. He is a jolly, friendly ghost who cheerfully wishes the first-years good day and hopes they'll be placed in Hufflepuff (PS7).
The image of a fat, jovial friar who cares a bit too much about the pleasures of food and drink is a familiar one in literature, particularly to anyone who remembers the character of Friar Tuck in the legends of Robin Hood. The religious orders which take the name ‘friar’ date back to the 1200s so the Fat Friar couldn’t have been the Hufflepuff ghost until that era. Of the four main Orders of the Catholic Church, the Augustinian ideals seem to most closely match those of Hufflepuff, and it is likely that the Fat Friar was a follower of Augustine. Augustinians do not seek out the exceptional or exclude those who are marginalized in society. They seek to build community founded on love and respect for all.

Flourish and Blotts
A bookshop in Diagon Alley that serves as the primary supplier of schoolbooks for Hogwarts students (PS5, CS4, PA4).
Both of the words in this shop’s name relate to writing. A ‘flourish’ is an embellishment or an ornamental stroke added to handwriting or calligraphy. To ‘blot’ ink is to use absorbent ‘blotting paper’ to dry the ink on a page. This was necessary before the introduction of ball point pens and would certainly be required of anyone using a quill and ink, as they do at Hogwarts.

The largest of the coins used by wizards, sometimes referred to as a gold Galleon. Along the edge are imprinted a row of numbers, which are the serial number of the goblin who made the coin (OP19). The Galleon is worth about five British pounds (CR). There are seventeen silver Sickles to the Galleon (PS5).
Galleons were large, sturdy wooden warships of the 16th through 18th centuries which were often associated with treasure. For example, the Spanish treasure fleet of that era which brought gold and other precious commodities back from the Caribbean included a large number of galleons.

Gaunt, Merope
(b. circa 1908 – d. 31 Dec 1926)
Daughter of Marvolo Gaunt and mother of Tom Riddle. Eighteen-year-old Merope was beaten down and abused by her father. Merope’s tragic life and death set the stage for the dramatic events of the next fifty years of Wizarding history (HBP10, 13).
The star named Merope is one of the Pleiades, a striking cluster of seven stars in the constellation Taurus. Merope was a character in Greek mythology, a nymph who was the daughter of Atlas, a Titan. Merope married a mortal, Sisyphus, the king of Corinth. She was so ashamed of this that she hid her face among the stars in the sky, which is why the dimmest star of the Pleiades bears her name.

Giant—speak their own language; some do not speak English, and possibly do not speak any human language (OP20).
Gobbledigook— Goblin language (GF24, DH15).
Mermish— Merfolk language (GF7); it sounds like horrible screeching if heard in air (GF21).
Parseltongue— The language of snakes which sounds like extended hissing (HBP10).
Troll— The Trolls' crude form of language consists of grunts (from the viewpoint of a human listener, at any rate), although some can be trained to speak a few words of English (PS10, GF7).
Unlike Tolkien, J.K. Rowling makes no effort to create the actual languages of her world. The only word given in the books from one of these languages is ‘bladvak’, which we are told means ‘pickaxe’ in Gobbledegook. Instead, the noises and sounds of the languages of magical creatures and races are described from the point of view of Harry, who doesn’t speak those languages himself.

(b. late 1920s, Slytherin late 1930s; Death Eater)
One of the earliest (c.1955) members of the Death Eaters (HBP20); attended Hogwarts with Tom Riddle (HBP17). Probably related to Rabastan and Rodolphus Lestrange, who attended Hogwarts with Severus Snape.
Bellatrix married into an ancient and aristocratic family. The family line originated in the Norman Conquest, with Roland Le Strange (‘the stranger’, since he was French). The Lestrange family coat of arms has the family motto: 'mihi parta tueri' ('I will fight for what is mine'). Seems a fitting motto for Death Eaters and Slytherins.

click here to order the book

Primary section editor: Steve Vander Ark.

Original page date 5-December-2008; Last page update 20-May-2009.