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

4.6 out of 5
30 review

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

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The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter: A Treasury of Myths, Legends, and Fascinating Facts PDF, ePub eBook 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. T 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.

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

  1. 4 out of 5

    Eric Boot

    I read another book about Harry Potter recently (The Sorcerer's Companion) which was pretty boring. This book contained so much fun facts and interesting information about my favourite book world. I just loved it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cintia

    I read this book when I was a kid, if I remember correctly, I would be around 12 years old. Back then everything that had Harry Potter related to it was a must read (and it still does, but that's another day's tale). And although this book wasn't authorized by J. K. Rowling, it contains an amazing, impeccable research. It covers from The Sorcerer's Stone to The Goblet of Fire, as it was written when those four were the only published books yet. I learned a lot of mythology and literature, from a I read this book when I was a kid, if I remember correctly, I would be around 12 years old. Back then everything that had Harry Potter related to it was a must read (and it still does, but that's another day's tale). And although this book wasn't authorized by J. K. Rowling, it contains an amazing, impeccable research. It covers from The Sorcerer's Stone to The Goblet of Fire, as it was written when those four were the only published books yet. I learned a lot of mythology and literature, from all over the world. But as someone who read Harry Potter as a child, it killed the magic a bit... It is like when the magician reveals his tricks. But still, very good. *If you like what you read, you can find me in my blog for more reviews and other articles: http://abookandateacup.blogspot.com.ar/*

  3. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie S.

    This book is very informative. It identifies all of the elements in the Harry Potter books that come from actual literature or history. It tells the origin of many names and words in the books. It also shows how many of the creatures such as hippogriffs, manticores, and sphinxes are actually mythical creatures that have been around for a long time. It also points out many things you would not have noticed in the books. For example, in book one, the Mirror of Erised isinscribed with the words "Er This book is very informative. It identifies all of the elements in the Harry Potter books that come from actual literature or history. It tells the origin of many names and words in the books. It also shows how many of the creatures such as hippogriffs, manticores, and sphinxes are actually mythical creatures that have been around for a long time. It also points out many things you would not have noticed in the books. For example, in book one, the Mirror of Erised isinscribed with the words "Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi". Just gibberish or some dead language like Latin right? Wrong. This book points out that backwards, the words read "I show not your face but your hearts desire." Interesting, eh? Read this book for even more interesting things you didn't know about the Harry Potter world.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Miss

    A collection of old legends which could make any mythology fan happy. No doubt, some facts, for example, what name 'Sirius' means or why James' Animagus is a deer (stag) is well known. From the mythological side - associations between the Magical World and history were nicely collected. I have never seriously thought about J. K. Rowling writing technique and how she uses many folk details in her books. Re-reading "Harry Potter" will be more interesting next time.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Shahreen

    This was one hell of a ride ! It was a treasury of myths, legends, and fascinating facts indeed. The author took his time to research on some very interesting aspects, and I loved how he brought them together. This book was published after the fourth book of the Harry Potter series, so it only covers the references from the first four books. I wish there were more from the rest of the books. Lastly, J. K. Rowling, take a bow, woman! Not even in my wildest imagination I would ever thought that you This was one hell of a ride ! It was a treasury of myths, legends, and fascinating facts indeed. The author took his time to research on some very interesting aspects, and I loved how he brought them together. This book was published after the fourth book of the Harry Potter series, so it only covers the references from the first four books. I wish there were more from the rest of the books. Lastly, J. K. Rowling, take a bow, woman! Not even in my wildest imagination I would ever thought that you have used this much references from history and mythology. Even the names of the authors of the textbooks have some hidden meanings. You are awesome. ^_^

  6. 5 out of 5

    Hafsa Sabira

    I must say I am impressed at how much work Rowling did for this book. This book is like a puzzle for all those who love their history and mythology. The clues are set in the pages and the reader has to search everything. This just increased the fun 10 times more. I have read the series 2 times but now I am tempted to read once again to see whether I can figure out more references hidden in the books. Hats off Rowling. And thank you Colbert. I am just so lucky to have come across the book and rea I must say I am impressed at how much work Rowling did for this book. This book is like a puzzle for all those who love their history and mythology. The clues are set in the pages and the reader has to search everything. This just increased the fun 10 times more. I have read the series 2 times but now I am tempted to read once again to see whether I can figure out more references hidden in the books. Hats off Rowling. And thank you Colbert. I am just so lucky to have come across the book and read it. This book is a must read for the Potterheads.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nusrat Mahmood

    definitely a fascinating read for all the potter heads. once more I'm impressed by JKR for her enormous research behind writing the whole HP series!!!

  8. 4 out of 5

    PurplyCookie

    Every HP fan would definitely need (or desire) a companion book just to wade through all the literary, religious, fantastical and mythological references and innuendos Rowling made in all of her seven books. The book aptly describes itself as a "treasury of myths, legends and fascinating facts" regarding the world of Harry Potter and it wasn't that far off in its self-description. It is a great tribute to Rowling's works; consisting of around 50+ questions aiming to dig deeper at an innocent rema Every HP fan would definitely need (or desire) a companion book just to wade through all the literary, religious, fantastical and mythological references and innuendos Rowling made in all of her seven books. The book aptly describes itself as a "treasury of myths, legends and fascinating facts" regarding the world of Harry Potter and it wasn't that far off in its self-description. It is a great tribute to Rowling's works; consisting of around 50+ questions aiming to dig deeper at an innocent remark or passing remark made in the books. Some questions and issues asked here that intrigued me the most were: ~ Does Dumbledore Trust Divination or Doesn't He? ~ Why Doesn't Dumbledore Fight Voldemort? ~ Was the Real Flamel a Successful Alchemist? ~ Why are Mirrors Magical? ~ Which of Voldemort's Cohorts Comes from India? ~ How Did Seven Become the Most Magical Number? ~ What's J.K. Rowling's Idea of a Hero? ~ Is Harry's Story About Religion? Take note that the book does not pretend to offer a deep analysis of Rowling's motives or thought process, but does give us the background to further appreciate her work. Think of it as a quick course in mythology and history as related to the Harry Potter books. It may be a tad redundant to those who are already well-versed in these areas (such as myself) but it is always a good thing to refresh one's fond memories of religion and mythology. However, there are reasons why I'm not giving this book a five star rating. There were a few long-winded entries (the history of the Order of the Phoenix comes to mind) that should've shelved. Mainly because of a few oversights (and hopefully they may be adressed in future additions) that keep this book from being the perfect guide to the world of Harry Potter. There are a few inaccuracies in terms of the merging together of Latin and Greek words as interpreted from the names and spells used by Rowling in the books. There were also some painfully obvious questions that weren't addressed even in this updated edition. I would expect a lot more from David Colbert, who has actually studied mythology, though, considering the book states he researches by "reading randomly in the library", it's not too surprising his book is sometimes inaccurate. Lastly, there were just parts of the book where the author did not really answer the question he himself posed! His pseudo answer just went around in a complete circle and rectified it by quoting from well-known works like that of Shakespeare's! Still, these oversights cannot deny the fact that this book is a very informative guide to the contents of Harry Potter books. I was delighted to finally get the distinction between the following: A charm is a bit of temporary magic that can be good or bad; a jinx will bring bad luck, but nothing serious; curses and hexes involve evil; and spells are serious magic that last a long time. Each entry is accompanied by various illustrations drawn in purple ink (this is what's been missing in Rowling's "Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them". 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. Did you know, for instance, that medieval witches gave plants the names of animals (and their parts) to make their recipes/potions even more disgusting than they actually are? It would've never crossed my mind. I truly appreciated the discussion on the use of the Latin language (and its translations), specially that of the spells. If only my Latin subjects back in my university days were half as interesting, then I would have actually learned something. "Radicitus, comes!" What is staggering is how much effort Rowling did give in making sure that her fans and readers are kept amused and interested by the names she has given to her fictional characterd places (both in the world of Muggles and of in and out of Hogwarts). She was able to come up with such names by drawing inspiration from geography, foreign languages (she seems especially fond of using French and of course, Latin), literature, history, religion and mythology, saints, flowers and plants and from thin air. The most enthralling bit for me would undoubtedly be the discussion of the question "What Makes Harry a Universal Hero?" where Colbert made extensive use of scholar John Campbell's "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" to accurately describe Harry's journey as a hero (having three stages: Departure, Initiation, and Return) and of his universal appeal to all types of audiences. If you're a writer then this is definitely an enriching read for you. I'm positive that readers of this book will soon be clamoring for collections of Greek, Japanese, Indian, and Egyptian mythology (my interests as a child growing up) as well as copies of "The Sword in the Stone", "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "The Canterbury Tales" to discover the sources of their favorite Harry Potter books. As for myself, I'm thinking of (if I can get my hands on them, that is) purchasing: "The Encyclopedia of Fantasy" by John Clute and John Grant "Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns and Goblins" by Carol Rose Book Details: Title The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter Author David Colbert Reviewed By Purplycookie

  9. 4 out of 5

    Christian

    Interesting and well-researched but at times boring an irrelevant.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Daisy

    The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter is a book that decodes all the sneaky hints, carefully chosen names, and adapted retellings from the one and only Harry Potter series. It points out links between things in J.K. Rowling's series and aspects of classical mythology, ancient folklore and classical literature, and well as simple plays on modern language and culture. As a huge nerd about mythology, not to mention Harry Potter, this book was right up my street. Reading it has seriously magnified my a The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter is a book that decodes all the sneaky hints, carefully chosen names, and adapted retellings from the one and only Harry Potter series. It points out links between things in J.K. Rowling's series and aspects of classical mythology, ancient folklore and classical literature, and well as simple plays on modern language and culture. As a huge nerd about mythology, not to mention Harry Potter, this book was right up my street. Reading it has seriously magnified my appreciation and admiration for the genius behind the Harry Potter series. I think it possibly would have worked better if it was a picture book, with colour illustrations and text boxes and stuff, but it worked this way too. I wouldn't call it perfect, but I learned a lot about Harry Potter and how his world came to be (my favourite fact being how Diagon Alley came from the word 'diagonally', the direction the street runs, and how Knockturn Alley is named so because you wouldn't want to go there 'nocturnally'), so for that I have to credit David Colbert. If there was one thing I could change, I would add pronunciations for some of the old names and stuff, but that's just a small thing. A very worthwhile read for any Potter fan, especially if into mythology (a fondness for Shakespeare wouldn't go amiss either - he crops up quite a bit).

  11. 4 out of 5

    Barbi Faye (The Book Fae)

    The world of JK Rowling was created with real Muggle world references to loads of myths, rich Muggle history, legends, and popular literature. The book illuminates the background that went into the creation of the much beloved Harry Potter world, and where some of her influences came from. An interesting read for fandom fans! Lotsa info!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kaila Stevenson

    I read this book when I was about 10 years old, and it was AMAZING. I had just finished Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix wasn't coming until the summer, and I needed more. I learned a lot of the lore behind characters' names there, the language origins of various spells, and had my first glympse into the marvelous world of magical mythologies. The author's voice is incredibly accessible, even--and, perhaps, especially--to a youngin' like I was when I first read the book. I highly recommend thi I read this book when I was about 10 years old, and it was AMAZING. I had just finished Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix wasn't coming until the summer, and I needed more. I learned a lot of the lore behind characters' names there, the language origins of various spells, and had my first glympse into the marvelous world of magical mythologies. The author's voice is incredibly accessible, even--and, perhaps, especially--to a youngin' like I was when I first read the book. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the foundations of the Harry Potter universe or just wants a really sparkly addition to their personal collection. :)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Miranda

    Wonderfully informative and succinct. Yet, perhaps, too brief sometimes.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carmen Maloy

    This book was a great one for those who find words and the origin of words and ideas fascinating. This book opened up the mind of J.K. Rowling in terms of where she found references and words and changed them to fit her story. As many of the words or word roots and ideas have corrolations in myths and legends, the words and names that the Harry Potter series uses strikes a chord with adult readers as well as young readers as they are already familiar in oue own history and vocabulary. The compar This book was a great one for those who find words and the origin of words and ideas fascinating. This book opened up the mind of J.K. Rowling in terms of where she found references and words and changed them to fit her story. As many of the words or word roots and ideas have corrolations in myths and legends, the words and names that the Harry Potter series uses strikes a chord with adult readers as well as young readers as they are already familiar in oue own history and vocabulary. The comparison of Harry Potter and Cedric Diggory to the Knights of the Round Table, the history of Avada Kedavra and the "real" famous chocolate frog wizards all make you appreciate the attention to detail in Rowling's world - and some of the factoids are pretty insightful. My only complaint about the book is that, with the publication of "Order of the Phoenix", "Half Blood Prince," and "Deathly Hallows" it's gotten a bit outdated. I'd like to see a revised version from David Colbert one of these days. But generally a great book and a must-read for HP fans.

  15. 5 out of 5

    melydia

    The name is somewhat misleading; this is a cute mini-encyclopedia of the real mythological roots of many aspects of the Harry Potter books. While I didn't learn a whole heck of a lot of new information, I would definitely recommend this book to any Harry Potter fan, especially younger ones. The writing is friendly without being dumbed down, the articles are short but concise, and the breadth of information is impressive. If nothing else, it instilled in me a renewed interest in mythology, and th The name is somewhat misleading; this is a cute mini-encyclopedia of the real mythological roots of many aspects of the Harry Potter books. While I didn't learn a whole heck of a lot of new information, I would definitely recommend this book to any Harry Potter fan, especially younger ones. The writing is friendly without being dumbed down, the articles are short but concise, and the breadth of information is impressive. If nothing else, it instilled in me a renewed interest in mythology, and the extensive bibliography and notes provide a good jumping-off point for further research. On note: the copy I read was written between the releases of Goblet Of Fire and Order of the Phoenix, and thus is it full of spoilers from the first four books and contains a sprinkling of (sometimes misguided) predictions for the latter three volumes. There is a revised version, but I don't know if it covers the entire series. Keep that in mind when reading.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tessa

    Interesting little facts and connections. There was a lot I already knew, but also quite a lot I didn't know, which surprised me for a book written that long ago (2001, after the release of Goblet of Fire).

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jeeth Suresh

    An excellent guide into the world, and history of Harry Potter. However, it seemed a bit unrealistic that J.K. Rowling is so in tune with these histories...I think that this is speculation on a massive scale, and aims only to try to phantom the world of Potter... Oh well.

  18. 4 out of 5

    ✯ Victoria ✯

    This book was interesting I guess but it definitely wasn't the best book I've ever read xD

  19. 5 out of 5

    Finn

    While JK Rowling may not have endorsed this book, it has an incredible rich content of fascinating information with regards to the world of Harry Potter. The book doesn't cover the Deathly Hallows but that's not a problem (not to me anyway). I learned quite a few things, in fact, that I didn't know before reading this book, about the world of Harry Potter and how the real world, myths and legends influenced names and creatures, and places and stories. I would definitely reccommend this book to any While JK Rowling may not have endorsed this book, it has an incredible rich content of fascinating information with regards to the world of Harry Potter. The book doesn't cover the Deathly Hallows but that's not a problem (not to me anyway). I learned quite a few things, in fact, that I didn't know before reading this book, about the world of Harry Potter and how the real world, myths and legends influenced names and creatures, and places and stories. I would definitely reccommend this book to any Potter fan out there.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Albeit the subject of the author's concern is interesting, the insight I attained by squandering my time in reading this book is lacking and not novel in comparison to the knowledge I already retained on these topics.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Devashish Sharma

    Not my cup of tea. The only thing the author did was to search for words from the different languages and explain their meanings. Not interesting enough , feels like I am reading an academic book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Eskimo Princess Jenkins

    interesting

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Full review here on TotalTeenFiction 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. Th Full review here on TotalTeenFiction 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!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Katie Brock

    I'll be writing up a more detailed review later on on my blog (link in my bio). Although this book is interesting about the facts and myths surrounding Harry Potter- my version is a little out of date, only featuring book 1-5, so there are some elements to it that make you think "Huh"- because I know what happens in the next books. It's well researched though, I can give David Colbert that- although not all theories are his own, he has clearly considered a lot of magical history to inform the read I'll be writing up a more detailed review later on on my blog (link in my bio). Although this book is interesting about the facts and myths surrounding Harry Potter- my version is a little out of date, only featuring book 1-5, so there are some elements to it that make you think "Huh"- because I know what happens in the next books. It's well researched though, I can give David Colbert that- although not all theories are his own, he has clearly considered a lot of magical history to inform the reader of the wizarding world pre-Harry Potter. It's quite simple and patronising the way language is used but I think that's probably because it's aimed at younger readers. I did read it when I was the target age, and I enjoyed it as much now as I did back then. Expanding the universe of Harry Potter is always a good thing. Still unsure if my rating is a 4/5 or a 3.5 but I'd still recommend this book if you want to learn more about the names and creatures in Harry Potter, or if you're interested in the myths of magic and witches and wizards. It's quite a quick read if you have some spare time, and it's laid out alphabetical so it's easy to flick to the section you want with ease. I'm curious to what the updated version includes! Hopefully- Horcruxes.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Yuè

    This book was fun. I can't say that it was amazing or anything, because it was just really informative. Some subjects and explanations are more interesting to read than others. For example: the part explaining the names of characters was interesting, I couldn't stop reading, but this explanation for the source of magic bored me. This was written before OotP and you really notice it. Every time they talk about Sirius, I just sat there like Oh, hun. Also, I read this in Dutch. I am used to both Du This book was fun. I can't say that it was amazing or anything, because it was just really informative. Some subjects and explanations are more interesting to read than others. For example: the part explaining the names of characters was interesting, I couldn't stop reading, but this explanation for the source of magic bored me. This was written before OotP and you really notice it. Every time they talk about Sirius, I just sat there like Oh, hun. Also, I read this in Dutch. I am used to both Dutch and English versions of Harry Potter (really, trust me when I tell you that some names are so different in Dutch), but the last couple of YEARS I've done everything in English so it was a bit weird. Ah well...

  26. 4 out of 5

    Vijeta

    This is a must, must read for Harry Potter fans. It tells you that there lies so much symbolism at the core of the story. There are references to Greek, Norse, Celtic myths, to Christianity, to Pagan rituals. There are allusions to legends of yore, the Arthurian in particular. Rowling devises each name with a purpose. Almost everything has a basis in something. So, without further ado, go read it if you love the world of Harry Potter as much as I do.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jerecho

    This book contains a lot of information about the books of Harry Potter. From names of wizards and witches, to the magical and non magical places alike. Even reference to plants and animals used in potions, herbology and magical creatures. And it gives a lot of explanation about of why things is like that and what is in this magical world. A twinkling four stars, for even in magical worlds perfect is uncommon.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I happened across a copy of this at the library book store the other day. It was a nice collection of little factoids and explanations of historical and literary and mythological allusions in the Harry Potter series. It only dealt with the first 4 books, but was full of interesting things I didn't know and memory refreshers on stuff I had forgotten. Will pass it along to a friend.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    I thought this book was an amazing read for any Harry Potter fan. It is full of hidden meanings and origins of many different names, beasts, and items in the Harry Potter series. After reading this book I have an entire new respect for J.K. Rowling, and I already thought she was pretty amazing!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Being a huge Harry Potter fan, I'll read pretty much anything that focuses around the magical world. This was an interesting book that talks about and explains in detail the creatures and studies within the Harry Potter books - such as goblins, alchemy, divination and witches.

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