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Harry Potter Lexicon Essays About Education

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I've had some amazing adventures in over a decade as a Harry Potter fan: reading and researching the books, visiting the sets of the film, enjoying Wizard Rock concerts, speaking at conventions, traveling throughout Britain discovering Harry Potter's world, and even writing two books. Over those years I've especially loved sharing my enthusiasm for Potter with fans at libraries, bookstores, and conventions. That's what this podcast is all about as well. I'll talk about canon sources (those wonderful Daily Prophet newsletters, for example), discuss the way the books work together to tell one glorious tale, and share some of my experiences wandering through Britain in search of Harry Potter's magical world. So come along as we wander through the magical world of the Harry Potter stories. ~~ Steve Vander Ark

  Name Description Released Price  
1CleanIs Dobby Really Necessary?In my latest re read of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets this question just hit me: Is Dobby really necessary to the end result of book 2? To be clear this is a different question than asking if he is essential to the plot.3/10/2018FreeView in iTunes
2CleanPrime NumbersDespite being a self-confessed math-phobic J.K. Rowling has certainly had some fun with numbers in the Harry Potter universe. In a previous episode we talked about wizard currency being built on prime numbers,3/7/2018FreeView in iTunes
3CleanOrder of the Phoenix Chapter 1Today 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 on3/3/2018FreeView in iTunes
4CleanIntroduction to the Chapter EpisodesSteve VanderArk here to let you know something new that’s coming to the Harry Potter Minute. Every couple of episodes, we’re going to share some thoughts on one particular chapter of one of the books. These chapter episodes will focus on one particu3/3/2018FreeView in iTunes
5CleanEpisode 30: Discussing The Harry Potter Lexicon MinuteEpisode 30 of our main Lexicon Podcast is shorter than usual and is all about discussing our new podcast, the Harry Potter Lexicon Minute. We started the episode by talking about the rich collection of essays on the Lexicon and the recent feedback we’3/3/2018FreeView in iTunes
6CleanThe Similarities Between Hermione and Moaning MyrtleDid you know that there are interesting similarities between Hermione Granger and Moaning Myrtle? In Philosopher’s Stone, Hermione is being bullied by Ron. She flees into the girl’s bathroom. There, she is attacked by a troll,2/28/2018FreeView in iTunes
7CleanWizard CurrencyYou may notice on the homepage of the Lexicon that it always shows the current exchange rate between a galleon and a range of different worldwide currencies. But did you ever wonder how J.K. Rowling came up with this seemingly confusing system of wizar.2/24/2018FreeView in iTunes
8CleanAre Hufflepuffs “good finders”?“Hufflepuffs are particularly good finders” If you’ve been part of the Harry Potter fandom you’ve probably heard this phrase throughout the internet but a lot of people don’t know where it comes from. In the Philosopher’s Stone the Sorting H2/21/2018FreeView in iTunes
9CleanHouse GhostsWhen did House Ghosts become a recognized part of life at Hogwarts? Nearly-Headless Nick celebrates the 500th anniversary of his death in Chapter 8 of Chamber of Secrets. In the following chapter, Professor Binns states that Hogwarts was founded more t.2/17/2018FreeView in iTunes
10CleanWho Can Take Away Points?The continuity editors of the Potter books surely earned their wages – other than things like math and dates, there are remarkably few inconsistencies in the Potter series.  But there is a small one in Order of the Phoenix that proved to be a lot of2/14/2018FreeView in iTunes
11CleanBarebone NamesChastity, 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,2/10/2018FreeView in iTunes
12CleanEpisode 29: “…and it was all just cabbage”Recorded in person and with an added panelist, we discuss Gamp's Law and the meaning of "sixteenth year"2/9/2018FreeView in iTunes
13CleanWhy Ottery St Mary?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 located2/7/2018FreeView in iTunes
14CleanPets at HogwartsEveryone is familiar with Ron‘s pet Scabbers, who turns out to be Peter Pettigrew, a traitor who sold out the Potters to Voldemort. What I’ve always wondered though, is how Ron was able to bring him to Hogwarts?2/2/2018FreeView in iTunes
15CleanBane Was Right All AlongToday 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 movements1/30/2018FreeView in iTunes
16CleanWhatever Happened to Sally-Anne?Did you know that one of Harry’s classmates apparently vanished between first and fifth year? I don’t mean “vanished” in the same way that Montague disappeared into a Vanishing Cabinet only to reappear a few weeks later.1/27/2018FreeView in iTunes
17CleanIntroduction to the Harry Potter MinuteHey, everyone, welcome to your Harry Potter Minute, sponsored by Magic Alley. I’m Steve VanderArk, creator and editor in chief of the Harry Potter Lexicon website. The Harry Potter Lexicon website has been in existence for almost two decades.1/27/2018FreeView in iTunes
18CleanEpisode 28: New Fan Theories!Episode 28 is finally here!  This episode (Recorded on November 25th) is all about a couple of recent fan theories we’ve come across lately.  We discuss the recent updates to the Lexicon, dissect the new cast photo,1/8/2018FreeView in iTunes
19CleanEpisode 27: The Hogwarts DeathtrapNew at the Lexicon Steve and Nick began Episode 27 by talking about the task of moving remaining content over from the old legacy site into the current, modern Lexicon.  We also talked about the ongoing work on the Timeline system.7/13/2017FreeView in iTunes
20CleanEpisode 26: Fantastic Beasts and the 2001 thirst for canonEpisode 26 of the Lexicon Podcast focuses on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (the schoolbook released in 2001 and a new edition released this week), and Quidditch Through the Ages (the book that was originally published along with Fantastic Bea.3/20/2017FreeView in iTunes
21CleanEpisode 25: The Horcrux ConundrumFor the majority of Episode 25, Steve and Nick puzzle over the topic of Horcruxes, and more particularly how they are created and when Voldemort created each of his Horcruxes.  Listen in as we end up with more questions at the end then we had at the be3/6/2017FreeView in iTunes
22CleanEpisode 24: J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World Loot Crate Unboxing (x2)Episode 24 is a little different than usual, it is actually 2 mini-episodes put into 1 (mostly because after recording the first J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World Loot Crate crate unboxing, I was so busy I didn’t have time to actually edit and post it)2/12/2017FreeView in iTunes
23CleanEpisode 23: Fantastic Beasts and the Wait for the Next MovieThe week Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them came out, Lexicon Tech Wizard Nick Moline just so happened to be on a business trip. On the way home, he stopped in Texas and together Steve and Nick (along with Steve’s wife Mitzi) watched the movie t12/4/2016FreeView in iTunes
24CleanEpisode 22: The One About DracoEpisode 22 of The Harry Potter Lexicon Podcast focuses on the character of Draco Malfoy. Steve and Nick start by talking about the latest news about the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie franchise,10/26/2016FreeView in iTunes
25CleanEpisode 21: Do Seers see alternate realities?Steve and Nick continue their discussion of Cursed Child, so here is your spoiler warning (which we didn’t quite get to mentioning until we had already been talking about cursed child quite a bit), don’t listen to this episode if you haven’t read10/16/2016FreeView in iTunes
26CleanEpisode 20: Is Cursed Child Good?Steve and Nick finally got a chance to sit down and talk about Cursed Child, some good, some not so good, and found it is very hard to steer away from the Time Travel rabbit hole.  So much stuff to talk about and we debate a few big issues on the story9/6/2016FreeView in iTunes
27CleanEpisode 19: The Grand Circle Tour of the LexiconOn this, our second Live episode of the Harry Potter Lexicon Podcast, Steve and Nick take the viewers on a tour of the New Lexicon and show off a bit of the new unique navigation and some of the special features that we’ve put our blood,7/26/2016FreeView in iTunes
28CleanEpisode 18: We’re LIVE!Episode 18 of the Harry Potter Lexicon Podcast is very special, for multiple reasons. Our first ever Live Podcast (with live Canon questions from the audience) Our first ever Video Podcast (don’t worry, you can still listen to audio!7/21/2016FreeView in iTunes
29CleanEpisode 17: Trademarks, Contracts, and ButterbeerSteve and Nick talk about live data on the new lexicon, which spawns a debate about wizarding currency.  Just how much is a Galleon “really” worth anyway?  We also try to make sense of the concept of Magical Contracts,7/18/2016FreeView in iTunes
30CleanEpisode 16: So How Does the Map Work Anyway?Steve introduces a new series with this episode to coincide with the new version of the Harry Potter Lexicon website, and also introduces a new co-host, Nick Moline. They discuss the new website, for which Nick is the programmer,7/8/2016FreeView in iTunes
31CleanEpisode 15: The one who is both brave AND cleverThe Harry Potter Lexicon podcast is back with a new series. In this episode Steve talks about Severus Snape (and calls him “Snake” by accident more than once), discussing how Snape changes from book to book until a moment of cruelty in book four ch6/19/2015FreeView in iTunes
32CleanEpisode 14: “It’s the Mirror all over again.”Steve talks about the upcoming Potter play, the latest Pottermore updates, various arcana from the Book of Spells, and sources which may or may not be canon. Then he finally tackles the complexities of the seventh book and explains why,1/3/2014FreeView in iTunes
33CleanEpisode 13: “The budding new baby hero!”Steve digs into the interview archives, discussing Rowling’s control of her story and her characters, then explores the murky challenge of finding name sources, discovers the not-so-murky Grimmauld Place in London,7/7/2012FreeView in iTunes
34CleanEpisode 12: “Why weren’t we told about this sooner?”Steve chats about Rowling’s take on “official” Harry Potter, then discusses different modes of storytelling in book five, fan recommendations for best re-reads, how Sectumsepra just might be necessary, and how Molly Weasley rocks long before her6/26/2012FreeView in iTunes
35CleanEpisode 11: “What happened to the whimsy?!”Steve marvels at the levels of the soundscapes on Pottermore, then bemoans expensive canon and Rowling’s lost website, reads a wonderful insight from a fan about the magic of books, then finds book five to be “really jarring on a number of levels6/13/2012FreeView in iTunes
36CleanEpisode 10: “This gap is where it all changed …”Steve starts “season two” of the podcast by reviewing the past nine episodes, then discusses new things on Pottermore, discovering Diagon Alley in London, how the world of Harry Potter changed during the gap between books four and five,6/8/2012FreeView in iTunes
37CleanEpisode 9: “The Dark Arts … are you TRYING to be bad?”Steve wonders about the numbers 1531 and 4157, then talks about December in the Harry Potter universe, what makes the Dark Arts dark (and where Crouch Jr. could have learned them), mixes up the spelling of a spell and forgets the order of Priori Incant12/3/2011Free

There is much we don’t know about wizarding education.

  • How do younger wizards and witches get educated in basic skills like reading and writing?
    • We see very little of this in the books, although obviously the kids entering Hogwarts have been trained in some of these basic skills or they wouldn’t be able to handle the classes the face at Hogwarts. Given the very medieval nature of the wizarding world, I suggest that most kids are trained either by their parents in basic reading, writing, and math, or are trained in small one-room schools with a relatively few children and one teacher. This training would cover the basics and enough pre-magic theory to produce kids who can function in wizarding society.
  • Do all children in the wizarding world go to Hogwarts? Are there other, less prestigious schools in Britain?
    • JKR says that Hogwarts is the only wizarding school in Britain for kids eleven and up. Perhaps that means that kids who don’t qualify for Hogwarts, people like Stan Shunpike for example, move immediately into trades where they become apprentices. They then learn the magic necessary for their station in life and that’s about it. If that doesn’t sound fair, remember that if they had more magical ability than that, they’d have been invited to come to Hogwarts. This fits in with a medieval-style culture, although it seems limiting to us
  • When do Hogwarts students learn the rest of what we consider to be essential parts of any curriculum, things like geography, literature, or foreign languages?
    • We do know of quite a few classes Hogwarts does offer, and these courses do cover a lot of what we would call a well-rounded education. Neil Ward on HP4GU gives us this list of classes and what traditional subject areas they cover:
      • Herbology = Botany/Gardening
      • Care of Magical Creatures = Zoology/Veterinary Science
      • Arithmancy = Arithmetic/Mathematics
      • Potions = Chemistry/Cookery/Pharmacology
      • Astronomy = (Astro)physics/Mathematics/Geography (of the Heavens)
      • Charms = Latin/Drama/Kinetics
      • DADA = Physical Education/Chemistry/Physics
      • Divination = Mathematics/Psychology/Philosophy/Lunacy
      • Ancient Runes = History/Logic/Mathematics/Linguistics
      • Transfiguration = Physics/Biology (bioenergetics)/Physical Education
      • History of Magic = History/Tolerance (of boredom)
      • Flying = Physical Education/Driving Lessons [U.S.: Driver’s Ed]
      • Muggle Studies = History/Sociology/Technology etc.

Most of these subjects would include use of English language in the writing of essays, but there are a few topics that don’t seem to be covered much at all: Terrestrial Geography (it’s no wonder that no one knows where anything is located), Modern Languages, English Lit, Art, Music and Sex Education spring to mind. Overall, the curriculum seems very science-heavy and could do with an injection from the creative arts. For example, I’d love to see the Sorting Hat coaching the Hogwarts’ School Choir—that would have so much comic potential.

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