The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter: A Treasury of Myths, Legends, and Fascinating Facts by J.K. Rowling
Anyone who has read the Harry Potter books is aware that author J.K. Rowling infuses her stories with references to mythology, literature, history, and legends. Even if you don't know exactly what a manticore or a griffin is, it's likely that many readers have at least a vague sense of the existence of these creatures in ancient lore. Inspired by Rowling's suggestion to a young fan to "go and look it up," author David Colbert did quite a bit of investigation himself. The result is the fun, entertaining, and enlightening Magical Worlds of Harry Potter.
From alchemy to hippogriffs to veela, Colbert explores the fascinating meanings between the lines and buried within the names of characters and places in all the Harry Potter books. Chapter headings include such intriguing questions as "Have Witches Always Flown on Broomsticks?" "Why Would Chocolate Help After Escaping a Dementor?" and "Are Any of the Famous Witches and Wizards Real?" A small purple tab in the margin of the first page of each chapter guides readers looking for specific subjects: Divination, Goblins, McGonogall, Owls, Voldemort, Wands, etc. Curious readers will learn the link between Hagrid's pet dog, Fluffy, and the mythological Greek sentry to Hades, Cerberus. And they'll get a taste of scholar Joseph Campbell's theories on heroism, with Harry as the hero, of course. The true magic of this book is that it will surely inspire Harry Potter fans to delve deeper into the various areas it explores. Readers will soon be clamoring for collections of Greek, Japanese, Indian, and Egyptian mythology, as well as copies of The Sword in the Stone, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Canterbury Tales, and Paperback edition.
From School Library Journal
Grade 5 & Up--A book for librarians and teachers to introduce fantasy, mythology, and folklore; a good reference source; and a title that will appeal to Harry Potter's multitude of fans. The 53 entries, most of them two to six pages in length, are arranged in alphabetical order by a highlighted keyword. For example, words such as "Alchemy," "Animagus," "Grindylows," "Voldemort," and "wizards" are defined, traced to their usage in other tales, and given an expanded description. Some see-also... Paperback edition.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Okay, but only skims each subject., August 18, 2003
from Chapel Hill, NC USA
The reason I bought this book was because I was taking Latin in school. Realising that the spells were in Latin, I wanted to find out more. However, it only covered about five spells, which was a severe disappointment to me. What this book does, is give an introduction to many things that Rowling has incorporated into the Harry POtter books. This could be viewed in two ways: 1) It is intended as a book that will get you interested in the genius of Rowling, not as a book intended to go in depth on subjects. 2) It is a poor attempt to get money off of Rowlings fame, and only covers what is commonly available. Myself, I think that it is somewhere in between the two. It is oviously at least 50% to get money, as Colbert has another book for LOTR. Both of these have come out at the same time as the movies, leaving no doubt that that was what probably sparked the beginning of them. However, this book does give some very interesting information, espessially since some of it is from a web site that Warner bros ordered to shut down (I never got to this site in time, though from what I gather, it was very informative). All in all, I would suggest this to people who are not HP addicts, but people with a casual interest in finding out more. Any hard core addict would find this a severe disappointment, as most of it can be found online. However, it is nice that it is put all together into one book.