Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter/Introduction
Welcome to the Muggles' Guide to Harry Potter, a collaborative effort towards providing an extensive guidebook to the Harry Potter series. This book is under development at Wikibooks, a site providing a collection of open-content textbooks. Anyone can edit this book, and all who are interested in helping out the project are encouraged to be bold and dive right in to make this one of the most useful books on Harry Potter anywhere.
What This Book Will Cover
This book is intended to provide in-depth analysis and specific detailing of all things in the Harry Potter series. Readers should be able to learn more about the characters, places, events, and magic than what is merely present in the books. Critical commentary on each chapter, character, place, and event is provided in an effort to help the reader better understand detailed content and realize possible underlying connections to a greater storyline. It is also intended that the book will shed some light on the story-telling techniques used, and offer some analysis, if possible, into why the series proved so popular.
This book is meant to cover only the actual series, the seven books that make up the actual story. There are a number of additional publications that are only indirectly related to the main story; some of these are:
- A number of issues of The Daily Prophet were issued to fans, containing short "news stories" about happenings in the Wizarding world. Apparently copyright by J. K. Rowling, the events these newspapers cover are outside the events of the main story and thus are not covered here.
- "Chocolate Frog" candy was produced for a while, containing Famous Wizard cards; additionally, a Famous Wizards trading card game was produced at one point. These cards were written by the author of the series. In at least a few instances, the text from these cards has enhanced understanding of the series, and thus has been referenced in this work.
- Three books were published to raise money for charity. The charity, named "Lumos" after the spell, was set up originally by the author.
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, by "Newt Scamander", which has details of magical creatures that improve our understanding of the role they play in the main books, is included in this study.
- Quidditch Through the Ages has little to tell us that we cannot learn through the primary seven books, and so is largely excluded. Some information from this book appears in the article on Quidditch.
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard includes some information that sheds light on some characters and some magic in the main story arc. This information is included in this study.
- The author's web site contained rather a lot of authoritative information about the overlooked corners of the wizarding world. While much of its content is irrelevant to our study, those areas that cast some illumination on the books and on the creative process are referenced herein.
- The author has assisted in creation of a web site, Pottermore, that contains additional information about the events in the seven books. Where information on this site is germane, notably for background on characters, places, and events, it has been included here.
- Various interviews with the author have appeared, both during production of the books and afterwards. Transcripts of these interviews have appeared on some fan sites. Where these interviews have improved understanding of the books, they have been referenced, though it is not always possible to provide links.
This book will explicitly not cover the Harry Potter films, theatre production, video games, fan fiction, or other authorized or unauthorized works in the same fiction universe.
Where To Start
This book is built to handle several different levels of readers of the Harry Potter series. Therefore, most pages in the book contain indications of where you should stop reading based on your specific level of reading:
- Beginner - Readers who are new to the Harry Potter series in general. This part of the page should be used by readers who have read only a small amount of the Harry Potter books or are just interested in a general overview of the background and biographical information.
- Intermediate - Readers who have read most of the Harry Potter series and are clued in to many of the principal characters and places. Analysis for characters, places, and events and detailed summaries of the books.
- Advanced - Readers who have read all of the series and are looking to develop detailed knowledge of much of the books' content and realize the greater picture. A slight step up from the intermediate level, almost every topic in the book is covered, providing a comprehensive view of the series.
Note that the individual chapter summaries are marked with a generic "spoiler warning". A summary cannot be as well-written as the original work, so we highly recommend that rather than reading the summary for story elements, the student should first read the chapter in the book. The summary is meant only as a reminder of the events in the chapter in question, to assist the student in analysis of the story elements and techniques. The spoiler warning placed at the head of each chapter summary is meant to reinforce this.