Posted in Non-fiction, Research Aid

The Lexicon

At long last this book is available for purchase. I can tell this book was the subject of a lawsuit. (This is no criticism of the authors and contributors to this book. I know this was beyond their control). I agree with the reporter that said the title of the book sounded like a law book or something of that nature. Yeah, the “Related Materials” was definitely in the title of several of my law school books. The disclaimer on the bottom… Well, with the exception of myself and a handful of others, attorneys have never been known for writing anything worth reading. I could have come up with some more creative yet useful title and disclaimers. But I suppose O’Melveney Meyers has to pay all those big salaries, right! Oh that was mean. Strangely enough, I don’t feel repentant. On to the review.

As this book is reference guide, my plan was to re-read the Sorcerer’s Stone and look up any terms that I found- in short the Janet Sorensen approach. That didn’t work too well. I did something, I hadn’t done since I was 8 years old- I sat down and flat out read the first “chapter.” (Just in case you were wondering, when I was 8, I read a child’s dictionary from cover to cover. I recall being bored; my sister assures me that I was being a dork.) I digress. Once I got to B and C, I started jumping to the cross-references mentioned in the entries. I got lost in the reference rabbit trails for a couple of hours.

As I read it, I was amazed at the detail that went into the book. These four people categorized everything. I couldn’t believe the amount of little details I’d forgotten, i.e. the fact that one of the Gryffindor passwords was “banana fritters” or that Adalbert Waffling wrote Magical Theory. (Yes, Heinrich that was for you.) As well read as I am, I learned a few things that caused me to pause for consideration. For example the entry on the Centaur Bane contained some interesting tidbits on Centaurs in Greek mythology. They weren’t all like Chiron. Apparently they were more similar to satyrs (especially towards women) than I had realized. Vander Ark raises an interesting question as to what transpired after Umbridge was carried off in the Order of the Phoenix. When I originally read that part of the book, I agreed with the assessment given by the kids- she was just sulking. I assumed the worse that could have happened was that she was tied up and threatened. Don’t get me wrong, that is traumatizing. But Vander Ark’s additional commentary gives a more ominous undertone to Umbridge’s symptoms.

I think this is an invaluable book for anyone reading the Harry Potter series. But I think it is a “must have” for children reading this series. Many of the things in the book, adults will understand just by virtue of the fact that we’ve lived longer and have presumably read many of the classical and classic texts upon with J.K.Rowling relies. ( I say presumably because within the last few months, I met someone who never read anything by Charles Dickins in high school or college.) Children and teens on the other hand may miss out on the underlying themes and meaning. I really wish that more books I read when I was younger had a “lexicon” to go with them.

I’m looking forward to re-reading the series with this ready reference guide at hand.

So for those of you who bought it, what did you think?

Oh and for those of you ignoramuses who are thinking of writing a nasty comment like those found on the Barnes & Noble website for this book- I strongly advise you to THINK OTHERWISE. I do not suffer fools- period. You have been warned.

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