The HP Lexicon Podcast
The HP Lexicon Podcast
The Harry Potter Lexicon
The most compleat and amazing reference to the world of Harry Potter
OP36: Of Magic and Duels Part Two
In my last podcast, I talked about the first of two magic duels in chapter 36 of Order of the Phoenix, the one between Harry and Bellatrix. Now it’s time to move on to the main event, the massive duel between Albus Dumbledore and Voldemort. There is no other magical battle in the entire series to equal this one. The roller-coaster flow of spells and counterspells is wild and breathtaking. This is certainly one of the most exciting, most cinematic magical battles in the entire saga. This mighty duel is the centerpiece of the entire seven-book tale. We are most of the way through the middle book of the series. It’s the watershed moment, when the forces of good and evil collide and the fate of the wizarding world is at stake. But neither side wins, not yet. So what is the actual point? The most important aspect of this duel is to show how powerful truly high-level wizards are, and how powerless Harry is in this situation. Remember, up to this point Harry has seen himself as what I call “super-hero Harry.” He has begun to count on his abilities and his “special-ness” to be able to face Voldemort one day. And of course he does! Any of us would. If we have to fight a supervillain, we had better find our inner superhero or we’re toast. And toast it is. Harry gets a first hand look at just how powerful he will need to be in order to go toe to toe — or wand to wand — with Voldemort. He sees magic way beyond that which he has experienced, way beyond what he even thought possible. His abilities, while impressive for a fifteen year old wizard, are nowhere near strong enough for a flat out battle. Of course, we’re seeing it too. We’ve been wondering how this is all going to end and assuming there will be a huge showdown at some point. We have imagined Harry and Voldemort in a duel, something like that Priori Incantatem faceoff in the graveyard, and figuring that maybe, just maybe the twin wand cores would be the secret to Harry winning the day. But in this duel, there is little wand-against-wand spellcasting. The truly epic combat consists of all environmental effects and transfiguration. The most jaw-dropping spells completely bypass the kind of “spells meeting in midair” situation that allowed Harry to escape the graveyard battle. Instead we see the water from the fountain whipped into a liquid prison and streams of fire morphing into a serpent. We see Voldemort teleport from place to place and then completely dematerialize to take on spirit form and to possess Harry. Even Dumbledore has no defense against this last tactic, and Harry feels Voldemort take over, enveloping and consuming him. And then we get the first inkling of the kind of power which CAN defeat the Dark Lord. Harry’s heart is filled not with hate and aggression but with love for Sirius. And that power is what drives Voldemort away. Here’s how it’s described: He was gone from the hall, he was locked in the coils of a creature with red eyes, so tightly bound that Harry did not know where his body ended and the creature’s began: they were fused together, bound by pain, and there was no escape And when the creature spoke, it used Harry’s mouth, so that in his agony he felt his jaw move `Kill me now, Dumbledore…’ Blinded and dying, every part of him screaming for release, Harry felt the creature use him again… `If death is nothing, Dumbledore, kill the boy…’ Let the pain stop, thought Harry… let him kill us… end it, Dumbledore… death is nothing compared to this… And I’ll see Sirius again…
Jul 11, 2021
6 min
Of Umbridge and Macnair
Umbridge is one of those characters the reader is supposed to hate and despise, but she isn’t a Death Eater, she’s just a nasty person. Sirius sums this up well by saying “The world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters”, and Umbridge is the perfect embodiment of this maxim, showing the nuance that Rowling can give to her characters. Not everything is black and white, and characters can be antagonists without being associated with Voldemort. However, not every Harry Potter character has this depth. In the third book we are introduced to Macnair, the Ministry of Magic executioner who’s tasked with killing Buckbeak. The books show him as a little bit too bloodthirsty, and obviously, Harry, and us the readers, dislike him because of what he’s there to do. Surely this is just narrator bias though, right? Nope. In the next book we learn that he’s literally a Death Eater too. And in Rowling’s original outline of the fifth book, he’s the most mentioned death eater after Lucius. If he’s not a good person, even if only from the limited viewpoint of the protagonist, then clearly he must be a Death Eater and Rowling confirms this. Some characters really are that one dimensional.
Jul 6, 2021
2 min
OP36: Of Magic and Duels Part One
In this podcast we’re going to take a look at the incredible magical duels in chapter 36 of the Order of the Phoenix. Before we get to the main duel in the chapter, however, that between Voldemort and Dumbledore, we learn a bit about the Unforgivable Curses when Harry and Bellatrix have their own duel in the Atrium before Voldemort appears. After killing Sirius, Bellatrix runs away through the Department of Mysteries and into the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic headquarters. Harry chases after her, consumed by righteous anger. Once he catches up to her, he fires off the Cruciatus curse in her direction, knocking her off her feet. But she isn’t affected the way he would have expected. He has cast the spell incorrectly. Here we see something very interesting. The spell clearly involves more than the words and the wandwork. In some ways it mirrors the Patronus Charm, which requires happy thoughts. In this case, Harry’s anger, fierce though it is, doesn’t provide the needed “energy,” if you will. Here’s how the book describes it: Hatred rose in Harry such as he had never known before; he flung himself out from behind the fountain and bellowed, “Crucio!” Bellatrix screamed: the spell had knocked her off her feet, but she did not writhe and shriek with pain as Neville had &#8211; she was already back on her feet, breathless, no longer laughing. Harry dodged behind the golden fountain again. Her counter-spell hit the head of the handsome wizard, which was blown off and landed twenty feet away, gouging long scratches into the wooden floor. “Never used an Unforgivable Curse before, have you, boy?” she yelled. She had abandoned her baby voice now. “You need to mean them, Potter! You need to really want to cause pain &#8211; to enjoy it &#8211; righteous anger won&#8217;t hurt me for long &#8211; I&#8217;ll show you how it is done, shall I? I&#8217;ll give you a lesson -” The intention must be there, not just the emotion of hatred, but an actual desire to cause pain. Perhaps this is why the Curses are considered as evil as they are: they are specifically caused by evil emotions. Rowling actually has another larger reason for this exchange, a reason which comes into play at the very end of the series in the confrontation between Harry and Voldemort in chapter 36 of Deathly Hallows. You see, the key to that confrontation and indeed, the key to the overarching plot of the entire series, is Harry’s intentions in that moment. He is facing Voldemort, the cause of all the pain and suffering and sadness in not only his life but that of so many others in the Wizarding World. He has every reason to be filled with hate and anger. He has every reason to want to make Voldemort suffer and die with dramatic vengeance. In other words, he has every reason to want and be able to use the Unforgivable Curses on Voldemort. And here, in chapter 36 of Order of the Phoenix, we see that he has learned how to use one of them, the Cruciatus Curse, from a true mistress of inflicting pain, Bellatrix Lestrange. He has learned his lesson well. He has clearly mastered the Imperius Curse, as we see when he uses it to control <a href="https:...
Jul 3, 2021
6 min
Season Three is Here!
Season Three is Here! Hello, everyone. Back in January, 2018, I created a new short-form podcast called The Harry Potter Lexicon Minute. I had planned on a shorter title &#8212; The Harry Potter Minute &#8212; but discovered that there was already a podcast with that name, so I added the Lexicon’s name. The podcast ran for over 160 episodes, through November of 2019. I added a few more episodes in the summer of 2020 during our 25th anniversary Canon Celebration.  And now I’d like to welcome you all to a new season of the Harry Potter Lexicon Minute podcast. This time around I’ll be finishing up my series on Order of the Phoenix, which stopped at chapter 35 back in September of 2019. I’ll add to my Canon Thoughts series, and maybe investigate a lingering Potter mystery or two. Some of our other editors have been working on scripts as well. I’m aiming for one or two episodes a week for at least the rest of the summer. So make sure you subscribe wherever you get your podcasts so you won’t miss a single one. I and the rest of the Lexicon team are really looking forward to sharing our enthusiasm for the Wizarding World with you. Thanks for listening!
Jul 2, 2021
1 min
Half-Blood Prince 7-24 Canon Celebration
Summer is over and it is time to return to Hogwarts. Harry has lessons with Professor Dumbledore to look forward to. He becomes surprisingly talented in Potions class and works hard as the new Captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch Team. But what is his classmate Draco Malfoy actually up to? Ready or not, here we go! Podcasts: Fifty Years Ago by Steve VanderArk Pince and Prince by hpboy13 Episode 25: The Horcrux Conundrum by Steve VanderArk and Nick Moline Horcrux Deaths by Steve VanderArk Reader&#8217;s Guides: These guides were originally written in 2005 and 2006. Since that time, a few edits were made here and there but basically the text remained the same. To get ready for this Canon Celebration, our editors have been revising each one. We&#8217;ve added fan artwork to the Guide which illustrates the text. At the bottom in the Commentary section we&#8217;ve added a gallery of additional artwork. So even if you&#8217;ve read our guides before, please give them another look. And if you&#8217;re doing a re-read of the books, have the Guide to each chapter open as you go! I&#8217;m sure you&#8217;ll find a lot of information you didn&#8217;t know. Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 7 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 8 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 9 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 10 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 11 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 12 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 13 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 14 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 15 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 16 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 17 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 18 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 19 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 20 <a href="https://www.hp-lexicon.
Nov 22, 2020
6 min
Order of the Phoenix 1-9 Canon Celebration
Everything turns a bit darker in Book Five. Lord Voldemort has returned. Dementors show up in unexpected places. And Harry is unhappy, even when he has re-joined his friends before the end of the summer. Ready to find out why? Let&#8217;s go! Podcasts: Encore Presentation: OP 1: Drought by Steve VanderArk OP 2: Kneazles by Steve VanderArk OP 3: Why Not Side-Along Apparition? by Steve VanderArk OP 4: Discovering Grimmauld Place by Steve VanderArk OP 5: I Don&#8217;t Think I Like This Book by Steve VanderArk OP 6: Drawing Room Delights by Steve VanderArk OP 7: The Ministry of Magic by Steve VanderArk OP 8: Sweet Victory Forshadowed by Steve VanderArk OP 9: What is a &#8220;Flint?&#8221; by Steve VanderArk OP 9: Lucius? I Remember Him by Steve VanderArk The Twins&#8217; O.W.L.s by hpboy13 Number Twelve by Selena Gallagher Portraits by Eileen Jones The Photograph and the Boggart by Abby Koop Seeing is Believing by Eileen Jones Episode 3: &#8220;There&#8217;s an Elf Head Hanging Outside the Window&#8221; by Steve VanderArk Episode 10: &#8220;This Gap Is Where It All Changed&#8221; by Steve VanderArk Reader&#8217;s Guides: These guides were originally written in March of 2002. Since that time, a few edits were made here and there but basically the text remained the same. To get ready for this Canon Celebration, our editors have been revising each one. We&#8217;ve added fan artwork to the Guide which illustrates the text. At the bottom in the Commentary section we&#8217;ve added a gallery of additional artwork. So even if you&#8217;ve read our guides before, please give them another look. And if you&#8217;re doing a re-read of the first book, have the Guide to each chapter open as you go! I&#8217;m sure you&#8217;ll find a lot of information you didn&#8217;t know. Reader&#8217;s Guide to C...
Oct 18, 2020
2 min
Goblet of Fire 1-10 Canon Celebration
We now start Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, a book with several exciting events for Harry and his friends to experience. We go back to the Weasleys and attend an international event where a disaster takes place. What more can happen? If you&#8217;re ready to find out &#8211; on we go! Podcasts: Canon Thoughts: Goblet of Fire by Steve VanderArk Fifty Years Ago by Steve VanderArk The Weasleys and Ottery St Catchpole by Steve VanderArk GF 1: Mysteries and Surprises by Susan GF 2: Looking Cool by Susan GF 3: Writing by Hand by Susan GF 4: A Lot of Long Sentences by Susan GF 5: Looking Back and Forward by Susan GF 6: Foreshadowing &#8211; Lovegoods and Apparition by Susan Wizard Currency by Selena Gallagher The Changing Quidditch World Cup Schedule by Nick Moline Everything you&#8217;ve wanted to know about Socks by Morag Traynor Reader&#8217;s Guides: These guides were originally written in March of 2002. Since that time, a few edits were made here and there but basically the text remained the same. To get ready for this Canon Celebration, our editors have been revising each one. We&#8217;ve added fan artwork to the Guide which illustrates the text. At the bottom in the Commentary section we&#8217;ve added a gallery of additional artwork. So even if you&#8217;ve read our guides before, please give them another look. And if you&#8217;re doing a re-read of the first book, have the Guide to each chapter open as you go! I&#8217;m sure you&#8217;ll find a lot of information you didn&#8217;t know. Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 1 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 2 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 3 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 4 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 5 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 6 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 7...
Sep 20, 2020
5 min
The History of the History of the Wizarding World
In the early 2000s, Harry Potter fans debated the possible range of dates for the saga. Small clues like the reference to a PlayStation in book four were discussed in detail. &#8212; Since the PlayStation wasn’t available until December 1994 in Japan and September 1995 in Europe, some argued that the events of Goblet of Fire couldn’t have happened until after that time. Some toyed with the idea that Uncle Vernon might have gotten his hands on a Japanese version while on a business trip, but that would still make book four have to happen no earlier than 1995. Others argued that Rowling’s world doesn’t have to match the real world &#8212; and clearly doesn’t in a lot of other ways &#8212; so the date of the PlayStation shouldn’t be a determining factor when dating events in the Potter universe. And the debate raged. You can find some of the essays written during that time here on the Lexicon.  Far more compelling was the fact that Nearly Headless Nick celebrated his 500th Deathday in October of the second book. The cake at the party listed the date of his actual death as being the 31st of October in 1492, which would date the first half of the second book to 1992. I held that opinion, especially since that would mean that the first books take place during the actual years Rowling was writing them in the early 1990s. The debate went on for years and it wasn’t until the release of the Black Family Tree in 2006 that Rowling finally stated in canon that the year of Draco’s birth, and therefore also Harry’s, was 1980. This settled the arguments once and for all. Harry’s school years therefore were from 1991 through 1998. This was verified in the novels themselves, which many fans consider to be the highest form of canon, when the dates on the gravestone for Lily and James Potter were revealed in the seventh book.  Before then, Rowling had been particularly cagey about coming right out and giving specific years for things. Even when it would have been easy to slip in a date, she chose not to do so. In Order of the Phoenix, for example, the prophecy that Neville, Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, and Luna discovered in the Department of Mysteries was labeled with the date when it was spoken by Trelawney. However, instead of stating it outright, Rowling describes it this way: “In spidery writing was written a date of some sixteen years previously…” (OP34). By the time that fifth book was published in 2003, the Lexicon had already included a very detailed timeline of the Wizarding World. I had compiled it over the course of two years, from 2001 to 2003. The amount of information available to be included was enormous, but most of it wasn’t from the Harry Potter novels. Oh no, there were several other amazingly detailed sources of historical information available back then, all written by Rowling herself.  Back in 2001, Rowling published two little books for charity which we now refer to as the Schoolbooks. They were Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. These two books were filled with Rowling’s quirky humor. They were also filled with historical information about the Wizarding World.  In 2003, Electronic Arts released a video game based on Chamber of Secrets which featured a series of Famous Wizard cards which players could find and collect. Rowling wrote the information for those cards and once again, the text was loaded with puns on the names and clever humor in the descriptions. And, like the Schoolbooks, the cards were chock-full of historical information about the Wizarding World.  When the Schoolbooks were published, I immediately began taking notes and making lists. My notes evolved quickly into a detailed timeline, starting in ancient times and running to the present. This timeline caught the eye of Warner Bros who borrowed it as the official timeline to be included as part of the Extras on the DVD of Ch...
Sep 12, 2020
7 min
Prisoner of Azkaban 1-5 Canon Celebration
Welcome to the third book in the series, The Prisoner of Azkaban! Many fans consider this to be their favorite Harry Potter novel. Harry is another year older, another face-off with Voldemort under his belt. What could be in store for him and his friends this year? Let&#8217;s crack the new adventure open and find out! Podcasts: Canon Thoughts: Book Three by Steve VanderArk Chocolate by Selena Gallagher Pets at Hogwarts by Ashmita Shanthakumar Reader&#8217;s Guides: These guides were originally written in March of 2002. Since that time, a few edits were made here and there but basically the text remained the same. To get ready for this Canon Celebration, our editors have been revising each one. We&#8217;ve added fan artwork to the Guide which illustrates the text. At the bottom in the Commentary section we&#8217;ve added a gallery of additional artwork. So even if you&#8217;ve read our guides before, please give them another look. And if you&#8217;re doing a re-read of the first book, have the Guide to each chapter open as you go! I&#8217;m sure you&#8217;ll find a lot of information you didn&#8217;t know. Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 1 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 2 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 3 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 4 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 5 Calendars Fitting the books into the real-life calendars isn&#8217;t easy! In fact, it&#8217;s impossible. But that didn&#8217;t stop us: Day by day calendar of events in the book Essays Where Does the Name &#8220;Knight Bus&#8221; Come From? by Morag Traynor and Susan Harry&#8217;s Things by Morag Traynor Interesting Artwork We have hundreds and hundreds of pieces of fan artwork in our collection. Some subjects get a lot of depictions &#8212; Diagon Alley is a favorite topic, for example, and, well, of course it is! But there are a few pieces which illustrate more unusual moments in the text. Here are some examples: Wendelin the Weird enjoyed being burned so much that she allowed herself to be caught no less than forty-seven times in various disguises. (PA1) Harry had never met a vampire, but he had seen pictures of them in his Defence Against the Dark Arts classes, and Black, with his waxy white skin, looked just like one. (PA3) Percy pompously greeting Harry &#8211; and Fred &amp; George going over the top imitating him (PA4) Artwork Challenge
Aug 23, 2020
5 min
Chamber of Secrets 6-12 Canon Celebration
Welcome to the fifth installment of our celebration series! We&#8217;ve been warned not to return to Hogwarts, met some new allies and foes, and accidentally broken one of the most fundamental rules of wizarding society. What a way to start the school year! Ready to have some fun exploring what&#8217;s next? Here we go! Podcasts: CS 6: Howlers, Mandrakes, and Muggleborns by Eileen Jones CS 7: Mudbloods and Murmurs by Eileen Jones CS 8: Ghosts by Eileen Jones CS 9: Filch by Eileen Jones CS 10: Harry, Draco and Quidditch by Eileen Jones CS 11: Loyalty by Eileen Jones CS 12: In Dumbledore&#8217;s Office by Eileen Jones Reader&#8217;s Guides: These guides were originally written in March of 2002. Since that time, a few edits were made here and there but basically the text remained the same. To get ready for this Canon Celebration, our editors have been revising each one. We&#8217;ve added fan artwork to the Guide which illustrates the text. At the bottom in the Commentary section we&#8217;ve added a gallery of additional artwork. So even if you&#8217;ve read our guides before, please give them another look. And if you&#8217;re doing a re-read of the first book, have the Guide to each chapter open as you go! I&#8217;m sure you&#8217;ll find a lot of information you didn&#8217;t know. Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 6 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 7 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 8 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 9 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 10 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 11 Reader&#8217;s Guide to Chapter 12 Calendars Fitting the first book into the real-life calendars isn&#8217;t easy! In fact, it&#8217;s impossible. But that didn&#8217;t stop us: Day by day calendar of events in the book Essays Troubles with Time by Steve VanderArk Hogwarts Ghosts by Mike Gray How Do Duels Work? by Hugo Costa Paes Interesting Artwork We have hundreds and hundreds of pieces of fan artwork in our collection. Some subjects get a lot of depictions &#8212; Diagon Alley is a favorite topic, for example, and, well, of course it is!
Aug 2, 2020
4 min
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