- Paperback: 260 pages
- Publisher: Hampton Roads Publishing; First Edition, First Printing edition (June 1, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1571744401
- ISBN-13: 978-1571744401
- Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.3 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,026,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Fact, Fiction, and Folklore in Harry Potter's World: An Unofficial Guide Paperback – June 1, 2005
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One of the best things about this book is its layout. For example: this Guide has one of the best tables of contents that I've seen in a reference book of this sort, and the index is equally wonderful. If it's mentioned in a Harry Potter book and Beahm's explored its deeper meaning and connections to our world, a reader will easily find any creature, item, term, or character she's looking for. In Beahm's last book, I found myself somewhat distracted by the numerous sidebars and inserts. In Fact, Fiction, and Folklore in Harry Potter's World: An Unofficial Guide, the sidebars and inserts are perfectly placed--they are unobtrusive but won't get overlooked, which is all to the good: they're wonderful asides to the main text and only help to enhance the reader's understanding of the connections between Rowling's world and the more fanstastic aspects of our own. The illustrations are also wonderful, offering the eye a place to rest and setting off the main text in a whimsical manner.
Finally, Beahm again demonstrates his ability to write informational prose in a thoroughly engaging manner. We learn a good deal about a great number of things in this Guide--without feeling like we're sitting in on a World Mythology or Mythology in Literature seminar conducted by someone like Professor Binns. Although it may seem that it would be difficult to make anything connected with Rowling and Harry Potter boring, such is definitely not the case. Large chunks of information, no matter how interesting their original source, are difficult for me to take in unless the writer can balance the perfect style and tone with the content. Beahm is a natural at this.
In reading Fact, Fiction, and Folklore in Harry Potter's World: An Unofficial Guide, I learned all sorts of things I'd never even guessed at without realizing that I'd learned them. And that alone is the best reason to recommend this book: I have a far greater appreciation for the care that Rowling has taken in creating Harry Potter's world--a world that invites the sort of exploration that Beahm does so well.
For even more INSIGHTS, CLUES and MYSTERIES, I also recommend to serious HP fans to read the newly released ULTIMATE UNOFFICIAL HALF-BLOOD PRINCE BOOK 6 TRIVIA BOOK by author Daniel Lawrence as it is a great guide to the HBP Book 6, Movie 4 and the new mysteries leading into Book 7. Authors Breahm and Lawrence are to be applauded for their works.
This is not a book to read start to finish in one sitting, as it is necessarily repetitive in the four sections (Fabulous Beasts, Wizards through the Ages, All Things in the Magical World, and Enchanting Places). It's better sampled in pieces at will, or used as a reference guide by clueless relatives or friends of rabid Harry Potter fans. Sometimes the explanations wander off topic a bit, but this does not prove to be too distracting, especially if one browses through the book instead of reading it in order.
Fact, Fiction, and Folklore might just as well be called Fact, Fiction, Folklore and Fantasy Literature. Beahm frequently refers to the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and to other fantasy works as well. If a Harry Potter fan is seeking suggestions of other books to read while awaiting book seven, this book could be mined for titles.
The artwork is delightful. I find Tim Kirk's whimsical drawings alone worth the price of the book.
I had made some of the real world connections to folklore and language that Beahm makes, but I learned many new things as well. I learned, for instance, that Nicholas Flamel was a real historical alchemist who lived six hundred years ago.
It is sometimes difficult to tell when the text about Rowling's fantasy world ends and the description of real world parallels begins, and my one real issue with the book is that it can't decide who its audience is. Devoted fan? Someone who hasn't read the books but might? Clueless friends and family of fans? Beahm's misguided efforts to avoid spoilers for people who have not read the books can leave information incomplete for those who have. This leads, for example, to an entry on Werewolves that does not mention Professor Remus Lupin. It would have been a better book if Beahm had stuck to the devoted fan as his audience. Still, this should not prevent fans from enjoying having this book in their collection.
It's going to be a long wait for the fourth movie and the seventh book. Harry Potter fans will find Fact, Fiction, and Folklore a good book to have on hand to provide a Harry fix during the interim.
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