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The Magical World of Harry Potter: A Treasure of Myths, Legends, and… (2001)

by David Colbert

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Magical World of

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1,615219,056 (3.4)16
Explores the true history, folklore, and mythology behind the magical practices, creatures, and personalities that appear in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter books.

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» See also 16 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
I loved this book. It gave me a deeper look in the Harry Potter series and I began to see many connections to history and mythology. The author presented the information in a way that I could easily understand and still enjoy what he was telling me. I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the Harry Potter series. ( )
  bookscantgetenough | May 5, 2019 |
Read this review, and many more on my blog October Tune!

I really like non-fiction books about my favourite stories; like a Lexicon about Harry Potter, and the 3-Minute J.R.R. Tolkien biography that I read a couple of days ago. I don’t really remember how I found out about this book, but I bought it immediately because it interested me a lot.

This book answers a lot of questions that you might have asked yourself while reading Harry Potter.

Though personally I didn’t really feel like all the questions had been answered in my opinion, I liked it very much. All the questions were explained and ‘answered’ as good as they could, but I guess sometimes you just can’t give a good answer to a question. It might have also been that I read over the actual answer because there was just so much text and so much to learn, that I was eager to move on and read the next ‘chapter’.

This writer also refers a lot to other works, I have seen a lot of references to the Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis), the Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien) and His Dark Materials (Philip Pullman), but that’s probably because this author has written similar books on those three works (and I am very curious about his Tolkien book). I also liked reading how J.K. Rowling was inspired by mythology (Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Norse); for example, there is a goblin called Ragnok in Order of the Phoenix who was named after Ragnarok, the Norse apocalypse.

This book answers questions like: “Why is the number seven considered a magical number?”, “Who were the first British wizards?”, “Why would Sirius Black become a black dog?”, and all kinds of questions like that. This book was published long before the series was finished, and has been edited and republished a lot since. I read the complete version, the one that was published in 2007 after Deathly Hallows was published.

I did have the feeling a lot was missing though, the majority of the book only refered to the first five books (and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them, and Quidditch Through the Ages), but then I found out why. The questions about Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows were in a special section of the book, about forty pages before the book ends. There was a warning before it, in case someone hadn’t read the last two books in the series.

Though I like that warning, I did found it a bit of a shame that the last two books weren’t added to the rest of the book. That is also probably why some questions felt incomplete/unanswered. ( )
  october.tune | Nov 15, 2017 |
I love all things Harry Potter. This book fits in nicely with the rest of my collection. ( )
  Shahnareads | Jun 21, 2017 |
A perfect book for those who are into mythologies around the world. Not only you'll get to learn a lot of interresting information about magical creatures but also you'll get to realize how J.K. Rowling is incredibly intelligent. ( )
  Glaucialm | Feb 18, 2016 |
Author Colbert has written an interesting book detailing myths, legends and folklore that influenced J.K. Rowling's writing of the Harry Potter series. Most of the chapters deal with mythical creatures and how their origins played into the creation of many of Rowling's ideas. Dragons, unicorns, merpeople, griffins and Dementors are all explained as well as inanaimate objects such as mirrors, brooms and wands. I particularly enjoyed the chapter concerning the names of characters in the Potter books. Harry is a name that Rowling always liked and Potter comes from a childhood friend. Hermoine is fashioned after the Greek god Hermes, a gifted conversationalist. Many names come from nature as in Lily, Violet, Myrtle and some come from saints, Greek gods, historical figures and even geographical places. If you are a Potter fan you will enjoy this well researched reference book. ( )
  Ellen_R | Jan 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Colbertprimary authorall editionscalculated
Perez, RosaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Read myths with the eyes of wonder: the myths transparent to their universal meaning, their meaning transparent to its mysterious source.
The first of Joseph Campbell's Ten Commandments for Reading Mythology
For my nieces Emma, Lillian, and Molly, and my nephew Sam
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One of the pleasures of reading J. K. Rowling is discovering the playful references to history, legend, and literature that she hides in her books.
Did Alchemists Really Search for a Magic Stone?
Just what were alchemists trying to do?
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Explores the true history, folklore, and mythology behind the magical practices, creatures, and personalities that appear in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter books.

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