‘The Sorcerer’s Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter’ by Allan and Elizabeth Kronzek

Background photo by Eduard Militaru

If you love all things Harry Potter and are especially intrigued by the series’ lore, this book’s for you.

The Sorcerer’s Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter — written by professional magician Allan Zola Kronzek and his daughter Elizabeth Kronzek, a historian with a master’s in Renaissance history from Princeton — is an unofficial compendium of the true history, folklore, and mythology that inspired J.K. Rowling’s mega-popular universe.

From the book description:

Wands and wizards, boggarts and broomsticks, hippogriffs and herbology, all have astonishing histories rooted in legend, literature, or real-life events dating back hundreds or even thousands of years. Magic wands, like those sold in Rowling’s Diagon Alley, were once fashioned by Druid sorcerers out of their sacred yew trees. Love potions were first concocted in ancient Greece and Egypt. And books of spells and curses were highly popular during the Middle Ages.

…and here’s an excerpt from Amazon’s editorial review:

Harry Potter aficionados: remember when Buckbeak, Hagrid’s pet Hippogriff, was put on trial by the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures? This crazy idea was not invented by J.K. Rowling. In fact, from medieval times all the way up to the 19th century, animals and even insects were often charged with crimes, arrested, imprisoned, tried, convicted, and sometimes executed.


From astrology to Grindylow to reading tea leaves to witch persecution, this fascinating volume gets to the bottom of every magical mystery connected with Hogwarts. Readers learn the unusual method by which premodern Europeans protected themselves from the cry of the uprooted Mandrake, involving a loyal dog and a rope. (Professor Sprout’s solution was to have her herbology students wear earmuffs).

Hermione probably knew, when she was hexed by Draco Malfoy so that her teeth suddenly grew past her chin, that hexes originated in Europe. But did she know the connection between hexes and the folk magic of the Pennsylvania Dutch?

Though you shouldn’t go in expecting a real page-turner like Rowling herself might have written, this is a well-researched reference guide that offers a nice introduction to folklore, especially for kids.

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