Friday, 6 July 2012

Review: The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter by David Colbert

The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter by David Colbert

Author:  David Colbert. Website, Goodreads
Published: (This edition) 1 January 2001 (Puffin) (Most recent edition) 1 November 2007 (Michael O'Mara Books)
Pages: 224
Buy: Amazon, Waterstone's, Book Depository

Source: Bought from The British Heart Foundation charity shop.

Description: (from The Book Depository)
J K Rowling's "Harry Potter" books have entranced millions of people all over the world. Ever wondered why chocolate is a good cure for a Dementor attack? Or maybe why Voldemort puts the 'Dark Mark' on Death Eaters? This title is an investigation of J K Rowling's work.

My Review:
I'm a huge Harry Potter fan and I love reading about the series (when I'm not reading the books themselves!) so when I spotted this book in a charity shop, I had to pick it up. The edition I have was published in 2001 and only focusses on the books that were released that time: up to Goblet of Fire and the companion books Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages. It's a completely unofficial guide, not associated with JKR or WB.

This book covers a wide range of areas, from name meanings to mythical creatures, giving an insight into where J.K. Rowling has taken inspiration from legend and exploring the fantastical elements she has used in the Harry Potter books.

Being a bit fan of the books I already know a lot of the little things that the more casual reader may not pick up on, but I learnt so much more of them from this book! In particular I was fascinated by all the information on myths and legends, as that's not a topic I know much about.

A selection of subjects covered in the book are Basilisks, alchemy, Egyptian legend, Green legend, name meanings, British wizards, Animagi, why wizards use wands etc. The information is easy to read and understand and gives a basic overview of each subject and its relevence to the Harry Potter books. Each subject has its own chapter and there are accompanying illustrations and definitions in the margins for easy reference.

I've linked to the later versions at the top but the information in this edition is still relevent today, but obviously misses out on things that are only mentioned in the later books. I found some of the information helped me understand other fantasy novels I'd read outside of Potter as well, which was a real bonus!

I'd recommend this for fans of Potter and other fantasy fiction, as an easy guide to those parts of fantasy fiction you want to know more detail about. It'll definitely help me get something extra out of the series next time I read it. It'll be very at home on my Harry Potter shelf as well!

Rating: 4*
Books like this: Ultimate Unofficial Guide to the Mysteries of Harry Potter by Galadriel Waters and Astre Mithrandir.

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