The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter: A Treasury of Myths, Legends and Fascinating Facts

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9780141314815: The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter: A Treasury of Myths, Legends and Fascinating Facts

J.K. Rowling fills her books with references to history, myths, legends and literature. This text presents the stories behind the stories. It includes encounters with wizards like Circe and Merlin, and real-life alchemists of the middle ages. Adding to the experience are writers as varied as William Shakespeare, Gustave Flaubert, Charles Dickens, Ovid, John Donne, J.R.R. Tolkien and Ursula K. Le Guin.

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Review:

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 Treasure Island, to discover the sources of their favorite Harry Potter books. (All ages) --Emilie Coulter

About the Author:

Formerly a head writer for “Who Wants to be a Millionaire,” David Colbert, author of The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter and The Magical Worlds of The Lord of the Rings, is best known as an author of the acclaimed Eyewitness history series. A graduate of Brown University, he studied anthropology and mythology and has spent much of his life in libraries.

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David Colbert
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