Book Review: Hogwarts - An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide
By: J.K. Rowling
Published By: Pottermore
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Page Count: 79
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Middle Grades/Young Adult - Fantasy
This final edition in the Pottermore Presents series focuses on the famed wizarding school, Hogwarts. While readers know so much about the castle from the HP series, it was fun to get an insiders look into the hallowed halls.
Chapter One focuses on the journey to Hogwarts. There is specific information on King's Cross Station and a glimpse into Rowling's thoughts about the subject. I liked that in this book we not only got tidbits about Harry's world, but we also got to understand some of Rowling's intentions behind specific choices. The idea to use Platform Nine and Three-Quarters was inspired by actual history involving Boudicca, an ancient British queen. I like that actual history inspired magical locations in the series. Another segment of this chapter gives more detailed thoughts from Rowling about Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. From this point, readers will learn more about The Hogwarts Express.
Chapter Two focuses on the sorting process for first year students at Hogwarts. The chapter opens with an in depth glimpse at the famous Sorting Hat. I was shocked to learn that in the earliest drafts of HP, the sorting hat does not exist. Rowling tried several methods of house sorting before landing on this idea, which is one of my favorite aspects of attending Hogwarts. (I just know the hat would put me in Ravenclaw where I belong.) Readers will also be introduced to the rare incidence of Hatstall which impacted Harry Potter himself. I never knew there was a name for the sort of conundrum the hat deals with while trying to place Harry in the correct house. It was great fun to see who was almost a Hatstall and the other two characters from the series who were true Hatstalls like Harry.
Chapter Three focus on the castle and its grounds. Both of these locales have provided vast amounts of fodder to fuel my daydreams since I opened the first novel in the series. The first segment focuses on a location that is not mentioned at length in the series and never glimpsed throughout the films: the Hufflepuff Common Room. The Hufflepuffs live off the same corridor as the Hogwart's kitchens which seems just and fitting somehow as food can be such a comfort and I think of Hufflepuffs as the supportive friend sorts. The common room and dorms are located underground which makes perfect sense as the house is represented by a badger. I loved trying to visualize the Hufflepuff quarters in my mind; it sounds absolutely lovely. I'm glad the Hufflepuffs finally got to see what Rowling envisioned for them in spite of it never making it into the books. The next segment in this chapter revolves around The Marauder's Map. It was intriguing for me to see that Rowling had second thoughts about Harry having the map in his possession for so long. Readers will also get a glimpse into The Great Lake in this chapter. Aside from its role in The Goblet of Fire, I know little about this location, but have always found it to be a mysterious presence lingering in the background. Newt Scamander was surely enamored with The Great Lake as it is the home of numerous species of magical creatures. I can only imagine the fun he had exploring its shores and depths when he was a student at the great school.
Chapter Four focuses on the lessons at Hogwarts. Details are provided about specific class subjects which allowed me to craft my ideal Hogwarts schedule as I read. If you choose to be an overachiever like Hermione, there is also a segment on the Time-Turner to help you navigate to multiple classes happening at the same time. I don't think I would want to mess with time, so I will leave that to Hermione.
Chapter Five focuses on the castle residents. The chapter opens with an in depth look at the ghosts who reside in the castle. I wish that Edmund Grubb had made it into the books. He is mentioned in Rowling's comments as part of her original notes and he sounds hilarious. The next segment of this chapter focuses on the function of ghosts in the Potter world at large. The third segment gives more insight into Nearly Headless Nick. Next, the Hogwarts Portraits are given their time in the spotlight; these are a fascinating bunch to say the least. Sir Cadogan will also be given time in this chapter.
Chapter Six focuses on the secrets of the castle. This chapter includes segments on the Mirror of Erised, the Pensieve, The Philosopher's Stone, The Sword of Gryffindor, and The Chamber of Secrets.
This is a must read for any Potter fan!
One Last Gripe: I would have liked more information on the Forbidden Forest in the chapter on the grounds.
Favorite Thing About This Book: I loved learning more about the ghosts of Hogwarts and how ghosts function in Harry's world
First Sentence: We begin just as any witch or wizard on his or her way to Hogwarts would - at London's King Cross.
Favorite Character: Nearly Headless Nick
Least Favorite Character: I didn't have one.
Hogwarts An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide takes you on a journey to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You’ll venture into the Hogwarts grounds, become better acquainted with its more permanent residents, learn more about lessons and discover secrets of the castle . . . all at the turn of a page.