Thursday, 15 September 2016

Hogwarts an Incomplete & Unreliable Guide by JK Rowling

Hogwarts an Incomplete & Unreliable Guide by JK Rowling is a short collection of essays about the Harry Potter universe, which I believe were mostly taken from material posted on the Pottermore website. It's one of three such short collections, each grouped according to a different loose theme. I had long been hoping that the original stuff Rowling posted on Pottermore would be collected in some sort of Harry Potter almanac (like the Discworld guides) because I couldn't be bothered reading it in website form. These books are almost the answer to that desire, aside from the part where they're split into three ebooks rather than a fancy print edition, alas. (One day…)

Pottermore Presents is a collection of J.K. Rowling’s writing: short reads originally featured on pottermore.com. These eBooks, with writing curated by Pottermore, will take you beyond the Harry Potter stories as J.K. Rowling reveals her inspiration, intricate details of characters’ lives and surprises from the wizarding world.

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.

This was a fun read. A collection of essays about various aspects of Hogwarts. Although they're not proper stories, they still evoked the world of Harry Potter very convincingly. Nowhere was this more evident than in the brief interludes/introductions written by the Pottermore editor, between Rowling's essays. Never more than a few sentences long, they were so jarringly inferior to Rowling's writing that I cringed every time I read one.

But that was really the only bad thing about reading this booklet. It was otherwise filed with interesting information, some of it familiar, most of it fleshing out details that didn't come up in the Harry Potter series. My favourite tidbit was about what wizards used to do before they copied Muggle plumbing. Which really raised more questions than it answered, especially for a parenthetical in the Chamber of Secrets entry.

I would definitely recommend this to fans of the Harry Potter books. Don't go it expecting stories though, this is strictly background world- and character-building stuff.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: September 2016, Pottermore
Series: Pottermore presents, one of three standalone volumes (so far) that can be read in any order
Format read: ePub
Source: purchased from Pottermore website

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