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In Search of Harry Potter Hardcover – November 6, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Methuen Publishing Ltd (November 6, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0413776670
  • ISBN-13: 978-0413776679
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.6 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,430,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Steve knows way more about Harry Potter than anyone ever should and loves sharing what he's discovered with fans all over the world. He's the webmaster and editor of the Harry Potter Lexicon website, the premier reference source about the world of Harry Potter, and a popular presenter at Harry Potter events. His podcast (ingeniously entitled "The HP Lexicon Podcast") takes listeners on an entertaining ramble through the Harry Potter books.

As a teacher and librarian, Steve has also led seminars about technology in education and about literacy and teaching writing. He presents for groups of middle school kids his own take on "Nine Reasons NOT To Read A Book". Somehow Steve has also found time to be the resident director for a theatre company and has directed everything from dinner theatre to full musicals.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Mary Monkoski on November 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Of the many wonders of the Harry Potter series, J K Rowling's suggestion that gateways to her enchanted world exist right under unsuspecting muggle noses is certainly alluring. Tucked behind an inauspicious doorway we meet a toothless innkeeper by the name of Tom. With a tap or two of a magical umbrella an overlooked brick wall transforms into a portal to the bustling Diagon Alley. Kings Cross Station, the most famous of these magical portals, is so readily identified with the Potter series it now bears a signboard marking the location of platform 9 ¾. Locating the rest of these magical landmarks, however, requires a painstaking analysis of the text. Fortunately for devoted Potter fans, this investigation has been done with the meticulous devotion of the man well noted for this ability, Steve Vander Ark, in his new book "In Search of Harry Potter".

The book provides a detailed explanation of Vander Ark's year long journey through London,the West Country and Scotland searching out locations for Privet Drive, St Mungo's, the Burrow, the Ministry, Hogwarts, Spinner's End, Godric's Hollow and numerous other magical landmarks. The Godric's Hollow section was particularly fascinating complete with a rather stunning find on a gravestone in the little village identified in this book. This little village is likely to be on the map for Potter fans planning a tour to England and Scotland any time soon. The search for Godric's Hollow is illustrative of the meticulous analysis that made Vander Ark's website distinctive. He synthesizes all known elements provided in the books on Godric's Hollow and incorporates the rigorous investigations of John Kearns to narrow down the only plausible location for the fictional home of James and Lily Potter.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne Kimsey on December 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This is the book for those who enjoy tracking down the real-life inspirations for the places found in the Harry Potter books. Lexicon webmaster Steve Vander Ark has written a definitive guide for following "traces" of magic all over the United Kingdom.

An armchair traveler will appreciate the energy of Steve and his companions, including essayist Tim Ledbetter (whose work is included at the back of the book) as they sleuth out the locations of the most obscure references in the books. I especially enjoyed the search for #12 Grimmauld Place, which had to be exactly four storeys tall, with both a grassy square in front, and a black door. (Although the serpentine door knocker and resident House Elf were not required.)

In his travels, Steve becomes a "Seeker," looking for the places where the worlds of the everyday and magic seem to collide. Join him on a walk through the Surrey countryside to find suburban Little Whinging, Harry's hometown. That section has my favorite line of the book: "It dawned on me. Little Whinging wasn't boring . . . the Dursleys were." Later he visits busy Charing Cross Road in London to find the door to The Leaky Cauldron. Could it be hidden behind a large potted palm? (Or is that a Devil's Snare in disguise?) While studying an abandoned store building that resembles the facade of St. Mungo's Hospital, Steve wonders which window hides the department of Werewolf Research. And in the North Country, he takes a stroll up an old-fashioned cobblestone street beside a canal, imagining the exact route taken by Narcissa and Bellatrix on their visit to Snape's home at Spinner's End, with an old mill tower in the distance.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By dorcas_meadowes on January 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is the Muggle's Guide to that place in England where the real and the literary intersect. And because the author knows the material from the Harry Potter books so well, he is able to point out places that fans would find uncannily familiar and dear to their hearts. With an American tourist's fired-up curiousity towards all-things-Brittania, Steve Vander Ark is the perfect guide across the landscape. This book is worth buying just for the sections on London train stations and their historical past, so railroad fans take note! A fun book from beginning to end, and a real sentimental journey for fans.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gaspodia on January 3, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I rarely buy companion books, but was drawn to this one both by its fabulous cover and by the short extract I'd read online. The book takes you on a fascinating journey through the places that could have been potential sources of inspiration for Rowling when she created the magical world of Harry Potter.

As a UK resident, I found myself nodding vigorously in agreement at the places suggested by Vander Ark. He's got it spot on in most cases and his enthusiasm and inspired guesswork carry you through the book at an energetic pace.

His excitement on finding little clues and in following up on them is catching and I found myself wanting to visit these places too. I had been hurrying past a disused hospital almost every day for 2 years until I read Vander Ark's book and his persuasive view that it might be the inspiration for St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries - now I look at the hospital with fresh eyes and I no longer scurry past, but instead stare at it and think "what if"...
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