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The Harry Potter Lexicon website has been in existence for almost two decades. Over that time, J.K Rowling thrilled us with her magical creation — in novels, interviews, on her websites, on Twitter, and more.



And here at the Lexicon, a small group of dedicated fans have worked very hard over all those years to catalogue all the magical details she revealed. The Lexicon website has always been seen as the gold standard for careful research and faithfulness to Rowling’s created world, all because of these amazing fans.



Now we editors of the Lexicon would like share some of what we’re so passionate about in a new way. So we’ve creating this podcast as a way for you to hear from us. It’s called the Harry Potter Minute, and in it you’ll hear the voices of our editors sharing a few of the many little things which delight us about the Wizarding World. We are fans from all over the globe who love to spend our time keeping track of the interesting details and obscure references which make Rowling’s work so rich and wonderful.



In each podcast, one to two minutes in length, we’ll talk about anything from cool trivia and interesting canon passages to the latest Wizarding World news. We might share something that’s stuck in our heads as we researched the books or maybe recall some event from the history of Harry Potter fandom.



The podcasts will come out a couple of times a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We hope you’ll join us! And we’d love to hear from you as well. Feel free to use the comment section on the blogpost for each podcast to post your thoughts.



Special thanks go to Felicia Cano who gave us permission to use her amazing artwork of Hermione reading a book for the logo.

Harry Potter Lexicon Minute The Harry Potter Lexicon

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The Harry Potter Lexicon website has been in existence for almost two decades. Over that time, J.K Rowling thrilled us with her magical creation — in novels, interviews, on her websites, on Twitter, and more.



And here at the Lexicon, a small group of dedicated fans have worked very hard over all those years to catalogue all the magical details she revealed. The Lexicon website has always been seen as the gold standard for careful research and faithfulness to Rowling’s created world, all because of these amazing fans.



Now we editors of the Lexicon would like share some of what we’re so passionate about in a new way. So we’ve creating this podcast as a way for you to hear from us. It’s called the Harry Potter Minute, and in it you’ll hear the voices of our editors sharing a few of the many little things which delight us about the Wizarding World. We are fans from all over the globe who love to spend our time keeping track of the interesting details and obscure references which make Rowling’s work so rich and wonderful.



In each podcast, one to two minutes in length, we’ll talk about anything from cool trivia and interesting canon passages to the latest Wizarding World news. We might share something that’s stuck in our heads as we researched the books or maybe recall some event from the history of Harry Potter fandom.



The podcasts will come out a couple of times a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We hope you’ll join us! And we’d love to hear from you as well. Feel free to use the comment section on the blogpost for each podcast to post your thoughts.



Special thanks go to Felicia Cano who gave us permission to use her amazing artwork of Hermione reading a book for the logo.

    Encore Presentation: OP2 – Kneazles

    Encore Presentation: OP2 – Kneazles

    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 properly for the first time. She’d turned up in book one as the seemingly insignificant neighbor lady who minded Harry when the Dursleys were out. She was mentioned again in Goblet of Fire, although readers at the time weren’t sure it was the same person. Dumbledore asks Sirius to alert folks he refers to as “the old crowd” and includes someone named Arabella Figg in the list. Fans spent a lot of time speculating whether Arabella Figg could possibly be the same person as the batty old babysitter of Philosopher’s Stone. Which of course she was.

    In book one we learn that Mrs Figg is a cat-lover. She forces Harry to look at photos of all the cats she’d ever owned, which included Tibbles, Snowy, Mr. Paws, and Tufty. That’s MISTER Tibbles, as we learn in Order of the Phoenix.

    According to Rowling, these animals are not simply cats. She said on her old website that Mrs Figg’s cats are actually cat-Kneazle cross breeds. In other words, they’re magical animals. Rowling makes clear that they function as support animals for Squibs, rather like service dogs do for us Muggles. She wrote:

    Filch has carved himself a niche at Hogwarts and Arabella Figg operates as Dumbledore’s liaison between the magical and Muggle worlds. Neither of these characters can perform magic (Filch’s Kwikspell course never worked), but they still function within the wizarding world because they have access to certain magical objects and creatures that can help them (Arabella Figg does a roaring trade in cross-bred cats and Kneazles …). — JKR

    These magical helpers do a lot more than just slink around and cuddle. Mrs Norris is described this way in book one:

    She patrolled the corridors alone. Break a rule in front of her, put just one toe out of line, and she’d whisk off for Filch, who’d appear, wheezing, two seconds later. — PS8

    Mister Tibbles was also capable of reporting to Mrs Figg. He related to her what had happened with Mundungus Fletcher. Clever creatures indeed! Here in chapter two of Order of the Phoenix, one of those clever creatures sets in motion a hilarious sequence where we and Harry discover that his old babysitter was part of the Wizarding world all along.

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    Encore Presentation: OP1 – Drought

    Encore Presentation: OP1 – Drought

    This is an encore presentation of an episode from March, 2018.

    Today we’re spending a little bit of time with chapter one of Order of the Phoenix.

    From the very beginning, we’re introduced to the theme of drought. Rowling writes:

    Cars that were usually gleaming stood dusty in their drives and lawns that were once emerald green lay parched and yellowing — for the use of hosepipes had been banned due to drought.

    This chapter takes place on the second of August, 1995. And Rowling is spot on with the whole drought thing. In fact, in the summer of 1995 there actually was a pretty severe drought in England and hosepipe bans were a very real thing.

    In story terms, the drought mirrors the complete lack of contact Harry has with the Wizarding World at that time. He is experiencing an emotional “drought,” if you will, which sets the tone for the entire book.

    And why did Rowling inflict this emotional starvation on her main character? Because at the end of book four, Harry feels like he’s at the top of his game. He’s a champion, a hero. He’s defeated a dragon, proving his worth among students much older than he is. He has learned about his wonderful family — his father the Quidditch champion and his mother who was so loved by everyone. He’s a Quidditch sensation himself. He has even faced off against Voldemort and survived. Harry sees himself as becoming what I like to call “Superhero Harry,” capable of anything. Maybe capable of defeating the Dark Lord once and for all.

    In book five, we’re going to see all of that stripped away. No matter how powerful Superhero Harry might become, he would never be able to stand against Voldemort. He needs to become a new type of hero, one who relies on something other than fighting prowess and his “saving people thing,” as Hermione calls it.

    That transformation is what Book Five is all about.

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    Encore Episode: Barebone Names

    Encore Episode: Barebone Names

    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 church named for Salem, Massachusetts, but also the family seems to be descended from Bartholomew Barebone, an anti-magic no-maj with roots in early Puritan colonists in North America.  Rowling writes about this in her “History of Magic in North America” on Pottermore.

    Overtly-pious sounding names like Verity and Abstinence were common among Puritans. One plentiful source of peculiar Puritan names was a real-life family with the surname Barebone. A particularly notable member of this family was the Puritan Preacher and Member of Parliament Praise-God Barebone, who lent his name to the Barebone Parliament – which immediately preceded the beginning of Britain’s time as a Puritan-run Protectorate.

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    Encore Episode: Why Ottery St Mary?

    Encore Episode: Why Ottery St Mary?

    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 for this. For one thing, the name “Ottery” means that the town is located along the River Otter, a small river in south Devon. If Ottery St Catchpole isn’t Ottery St Mary, it has to be located very, very near to it.

    Another clue is the fact that quite a few places in the stories are found in that immediate area. Rowling attended university in Exeter, which is located there. She set a significant part of the stories in that corner of Britain and borrowed a lot of names. If you look at the map, you’ll find Buddleigh Salterton near Exeter, which lends its name to Budleigh Babberton, where Slughorn had been hiding out in a Muggle house. You’ll also find Chudleigh, the home of the Chudley Cannons — spelled differently so it’s not quite the same name but very close, just like Ottery St Catchpole. It does make sense that Ron would be a fan of the local Quiddtich team. You’ll also find the town of Dawlish there, whose name Rowling borrowed for the Auror, John Dawlish.

    The most important clue is also the coolest, I think. If you drive a mile or so south of Ottery St Mary, exactly where the books say you’d find the Weasley homestead, you’ll find a farm called The Burrow Hill Farm. No kidding. I visited that very farm while researching my book In Search of Harry Potter. Weird thing is, my GPS quit on my just as I drove down the little lane that led to the farm.

    I can’t help but suspect that Rowling used that name intentionally. As I said, she spent several years here going to university, so it is certainly possible that she saw that name — Burrow — and saw it as the perfect name for the home of the Weasley family, even describing it as being in the exact same place just south of the village … whose name she also borrowed.

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    Encore Episode: Bane was Right All Along

    Encore Episode: Bane was Right All Along

    This is an encore broadcast of an episode if the Harry Potter Lexicon Minute from November 2018.

    Today I’d like to talk to you about how, in the end, Bane didn’t need to get mad.

    When Bane gets mad at Firenze for saving Harry, he says “…we are sworn not to set ourselves against the heavens. Have we not read what is to come in the movements of the planets?” Bane thinks that Harry should have died at the hands of Voldemort in “The Forbidden Forest.” This is the title of chapter fifteen in which this incident happened.

    Harry even suspects that Bane felt that way. “Bane thinks Firenze should have let Voldemort kill me… I suppose that’s written in the stars as well.”

    During the Battle of Hogwarts, when Harry decides to sacrifice himself, he goes to “The Forest Again” – chapter 34 of The Deathly Hallows. And even if he didn’t really die because of his mother’s powerful love, everyone thought he was dead for a little while.

    So Bane reacted too quickly. What he read in the stars did, in fact, play out – just six years later instead of that night in First Year when Harry and the others served their detentions.

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    The Photograph and the Boggart

    The Photograph and the Boggart

    In chapter nine of Order of the Phoenix, Rowling does a lot of really poignant foreshadowing for the coming war against Voldemort. In re-reading it, I found new meaning in Harry’s confused anger after Moody shows him the photograph of the original members of the Order. This interaction is so closely followed by Mrs. Weasley’s distressing boggart that I had not previously given it substantial thought, but here are Harry’s thoughts from his brief respite between shocks:

    He did not know why he had received such a shock; he had seen his parents’ pictures before, after all, and he had met Wormtail… but to have them sprung on him like that, when he was least expecting it… No one would like that, he thought angrily….

    And then, to see them surrounded by all those other happy faces… Benjy Fenwick, who had been found in bits, and Gideon Prewett, who had died like a hero, and the Longbottoms, who had been tortured into madness… all waving happily out of the photograph forevermore, not knowing that they were doomed…. Well, Moody might find that interesting… he, Harry, found it disturbing….

    It’s no secret that Harry spends much of Order of the Phoenix responding to the chaos surrounding him with bursts of rage, which are often misdirected. The photograph Moody shows him is a clear visual representation of how quickly war can destroy lives. Harry knows he is in the calm before the storm, and he is terrified that one day soon, everyone who was celebrating Ron’s and Hermione’s new prefect status moments before could meet tragic ends. But Harry cannot deal with that kind of anxiety, so he redirects it into anger toward Moody, whose paranoia probably prevented him from correctly anticipating Harry’s feelings. Moody is described as being “evidently… under the impression he had just given Harry a bit of a treat,” but the photo just reaffirms Harry’s worst fears and reminds him of what he has already lost.

    Moments later, Harry happens upon Mrs. Weasley, whose boggart is shifting between the lifeless forms of Ron, Bill, Mr. Weasley, Fred and George, Percy, and Harry, in turn. It’s clear that Mrs. Weasley has also been dwelling on the losses she may face during the war. But what struck me most upon re-reading this scene is Sirius’ reaction:

    Sirius was staring at the patch of carpet where the boggart, pretending to be Harry’s body, had lain.

    Certainly, this would upset Sirius. It might even be the same form his own boggart would take–although dementors would not be a bad guess either. I think in seeing the boggart of Harry’s dead body, Sirius’ resolve to protect Harry at all costs is fortified, and that foreshadows his own death at the end of the book.

    On a final note, I want to say that I think Sirius’ death is what snaps Harry out of his anxiety-fueled rage. In Half-Blood Prince, he is charming and charismatic, if a bit melancholy at times. His fear has become reality, and rather than “shut [himself] away or…crack up,” as he tells Dumbledore Sirius wouldn’t have wanted him to do, he pushes through it with acceptance and resolve.

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