hogwartsIf there’s one thing we can say about J. K. Rowling (and there are many things, many of which I don’t agree with), it’s that she is one of the finest world-builders of all time. While there are some suggestions that she makes up things on the fly – and maybe a couple of things she has – it always seemed very clear to me that there was a plan in place from the beginning. When you read back and notice Sirius Black getting a name check in the first chapter, two whole books before he turns up, or see the innocuous mentions of the Vanishing Cabinet long before it comes into its own in the sixth book, it’s obvious that she knew a lot more than she was putting in the books.

With the advent of the website Pottermore, we were promised more information on some of the series’ characters and concepts, and she certainly delivered, although you’ll never please all the people all the time and there’s much call for information on main characters like Sirius Black and Neville Longbottom, whereas we’ve often ended up with that on blink-and-you’ll-miss-them characters like Celestina Warbeck and Professor Kettleburn. Nonetheless, if she has this level of information on those characters, she must be able to produce massive tomes on some of the core characters. However, even some die-hard fans found it hard to navigate through the site to get their hands on the new information, so it’s now here and available to us all. While the information is free to read on Pottermore, the three new ebooks, which I’m dubbing here the Pottermore trilogy but have no official grouped title, are cheap to download and contain a little extra too. They were released yesterday and by the time I’d finished breakfast this morning, I’d read them all. The full titles of the three are:

  • Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide
  • Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists
  • Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies

The first listed is, as you’d expect, all information about the school itself, telling us more about the Hogwarts Express and the creation of the hidden platform at King’s Cross, the Sorting Hat, the ghosts, the grounds and some of the school’s more peculiar artifacts such as the Mirror of Erised. The second, Power, details information about the Ministry of Magic (including a list of all Ministers) and those who seek or have been granted great power of one kind or another, including Umbridge, Slughorn and Quirrell. Peeves is also discussed in detail here, simply I think for the purposes of alliteration in the title. The final book, Heroism, is primarily about some of the most important and influencial secondary characters, McGonagall, Lupin and Trelawney, but also has some extra information about things associated with them, such as werewolves and seers.

Are the books worth getting? Yeah, sure. There isn’t a great deal of extra content unfortunately, but we get the full guide on how to become an Animagus, and find out more about Slughorn’s history. If you’re a die hard fan, then of course they belong in your collection, but as I said above, most of the information is available on Pottermore for free. People seem to be slating Rowling for now charging for it, but the original hasn’t been removed, so it’s still completely accessible for everyone. No one is making them buy these books.

I personally love the extra information she has stored up about her world, and I always get excited when there is anything extra revealed. There were rumours once of an encyclopedia about everything, but if these books teach us anything it’s that that is going to be one enormous book. And if it ever emerged, I’d devour the thing in one sitting. Until that day, we shall make do with these rather brilliant little bonus books.