‘Harry Potter Lexicon’ author to visitWritten by Alissa Romstadt | | firstname.lastname@example.org
For fans in Harry Potter withdrawal, help is on the way. Steve Vander Ark, author of “The Lexicon: An Unauthorized Guide to Harry Potter Fiction” and “In Search of Harry Potter,” will speak at the Maumee Branch Library at 7 p.m. Oct. 1.
The presentation is “a chance for Harry Potter fans to get a little more indepth inside information,” said Nancy Eames, youth services coordinator for the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library. “True fans love to know as much as they can and this is an opportunity to get an inside scoop.”
“The Lexicon is basically an encyclopedia of the Harry Potter universe,” Vander Ark said. His book focuses on the content of the Harry Potter books, written by J.K. Rowling, rather than the movie interpretations.
Vander Ark also has a Web site, www.hp-lexicon.org, which he created in 2000 and is an online encyclopedia of all things Harry Potter, he said.
The Web site has many interesting features, including a timeline, readers’ guides and essays, Vander Ark said.
It even has some outdated essays because it is interesting to compare what people speculated 8 years ago to what happened in the later books, he said.
The book has more detail into the background of sources and over more than entries not found on the Web site.
“J.K. Rowling really goes out of her way to create and put layers of meaning into everything,” Vander Ark said. Every name has a meaning and a source.
“It’s sort of like a treasure hunt when you start to read Harry Potter and read some of the interesting things she’s done with her writings,” he said.
In addition to analyzing the characters and names in the books, Vander Ark has lived in Europe and sought out places with “that same magic as the Harry Potter places in the Harry Potter books,” he said.
His book, “In Search of Harry Potter,” is a travel memoir of visits to those places.
Vander Ark doesn’t know for sure if the places he found were Rowling’s actual inspirations, but he has found some similarities.
For example, there is a farm called the Burrows, which is a mile south of Ottery St. Mary in Devon, England, Vander Ark said. In the book, the Weasley family lives on a farm called the Burrows a mile south from Ottery St. Catchpole in Devon.
As a children’s librarian and writer, Vander Ark has always been fascinated by very richly detailed fantasy worlds. He also loves to take notes and keep track of details.
“I have a librarian’s mind for things like that,” Vander Ark said.
When he first started reading “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in 1998, Vander Ark intentionally avoided taking notes.
“I knew I’d get way too involved,” he said. “But when I started reading the second one I thought, ‘I have got to be taking notes,’ so I got out a notebook and went from there.”
Although Vander Ark has not met J.K. Rowling, he has visited the movie sets during filming, met the actors and even sat in Dumbledore’s chair in the Great Hall.
“It’s a lot of fun to do a Q & A,” he said.
As more fans continue to enjoy the books and write fan fiction, “it’s gonna be awhile before we run out of material to have fun with,” Vander Ark said.
Seating is available for the first 150 attendees at the Maumee Branch Library.
For more information, visit www.hp-lexicon.org.
Tags: Harry Potter