THE SORCERER'S COMPANION A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter

by Allan Zola Kronzek and Elizabeth Kronzek

We're all familiar with Harry Potter and his magical world - a world of potions and spells, pet owls, and flying broomsticks. But did you know that magic potions were outlawed in ancient Rome? Or that owls were said to be loyal companions of medieval wizards, relied upon for their keen powers of observation and their ability to memorize formulas and spells? Or that witches were once thought to fly on pitchforks and shovels instead of broomsticks?

These and the other legends, myths, and historical events that inspired Harry's world can be found within the pages of THE SORCERER'S COMPANION A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter (Broadway Books; September 18,2001; $15.00; Trade paperback original). Authors Allan Zola Kronzek, a professional magician, and Elizabeth Kronzek, an editor, writer, and Renaissance historian, can discuss:

How much of the Harry Potter series came from J.K. Rowling's imagination, and how much of it is based in real-life history, mythology, and folklore.

The history and beliefs behind the most popular forms of divination -the art of telling the future-including tarot card reading, palm reading, crystal-ball gazing, astrology, numerology, dream interpretation and tea-leaf reading.

The real-life histories of the strangest, scariest, and most fascinating creatures mentioned in the Harry Potter books, from elves and hippogriffs to basilisks and grindylows.

The origins of magic, and how magic has overlapped with religious beliefs and practices, scientific inquiry, medicine and healing, and entertainment throughout the ages.

How amulets such as rings, pendants, and pouches of herbs were used in the past, and are still used today, to ward off disease, misfortune, and evil spirits. How talismans, objects believed to have supernatural powers, evolved into modern-day good luck charms like rabbits' feet and lucky socks.

The true history of the Sorcerer's Stone-featured in Warner Brothers' forthcoming film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone-which was once thought to offer eternal life and limitless wealth, and the story of the real Nicholas Flamel, who would be 656 years old today if he had succeeded in creating the elusive stone.

Filled with fascinating stories, insights, and historical trivia about magical beliefs and practices, THE SORCERER'S COMPANION is an irresistible guide to J.K. Rowling's phenomenally popular world of magic. The Kronzeks are a charming father and daughter team, eager to share their findings with the millions of children and adults who are enchanted with Harry and his fantastic universe.

"One of the great pleasures of reading the Harry Potter books comes from the extraordinary richness of the magical universe they contain-fashioned partly from J.K. Rowling's seemingly boundless imagination and partly from the vast collective lore of magic from around the world."

-From the Introduction to The Sorcerer's Companion

It's no secret that kid wizard Harry Potter has the world under his spell. Children and adults alike are enchanted by the magic, wizardry, and mythical creatures contained in J. K. Rowling's unprecedented bestsellers. Now, while fans wait impatiently for the next installment in the Potter series and for the November 16 release of the Warner Bros.' movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Broadway Books has come up with the next best thing to a semester at Hogwarts: a complete guide to the real-life history, mythology, and folklore that inspired Harry's world.

Written by Allan Zola Kronzek, a professional magician, and Elizabeth Kronzek, a Renaissance historian, THE SORCERER'S COMPANION: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter (Broadway Books; September 18, 2001; $15.00; trade paperback original) enables readers to explore magical references from the Harry Potter series and find a wealth of information. Who was the real Nicholas Flamel? How did the Sorcerer's Stone get its power? From Arithmancy to Zombie, this treasure trove of magical lore reveals the historical origins of potions, spells, hippogriffs, wands, boggarts, broomsticks, and more.

Alphabetically organized for ease of use, each entry includes an overview of its magical subject, its roots in history, mythology, or literature, and fantastic illustrations straight from a medieval wizard's library. Among the rich collection of magical folklore from around the world readers will discover:

• Tea-Leaf Reading, a custom that began in China during the sixth century and is taught at Hogwarts by Professor Trelawney. This method of divination requires knowledge of how to prepare a teacup for a reading, as well as the mastery of the meanings of dozens, if not hundreds, of images that might appear in the cup.

• How to resist the seductive Veela, a female spirit of Eastern European folklore who often appears as a beautiful young girl with long, flowing hair. Young men who fall under a Veela's sway traditionally become dazed and forget to eat, drink, or sleep, often for days.

• The origins of the modern-day Bogeyman, a descendant of two other malicious spirits, the Scottish bogle and the English bogie, and a relative of Professor Lupin's Boggart. A boogieman is described as a supernatural being who lurks under the bed, in closets, and in any other dark and scary place. Today the boogieman is often called on to frighten children into good behavior.

• How Transfiguration (from the Latin trans, meaning "across," and figura, meaning "shape") appears in myths and fairy tales from around the world. Cinderella's fairy godmother transfigures a pumpkin into a coach and mice into horses. In the classic tale "Beauty and the Beast," a handsome man becomes a repulsive ogre. Transfiguration can be an unpleasant experience-just ask Draco Malfoy, once transfigured into a bouncing ferret!

• How the ancient Roman ancestor of the terrifying Hogwarts Basilisk was said to set fire to bushes and break stones apart merely by breathing on them. According to the historian Pliny the Elder, the creature's venom was so powerful that if a rider on horseback killed a basilisk with a spear, the venom would rise up through the spear, kill the rider, and then kill the horse as well.

For anyone interested in history or folklore, or for any of Harry Potter's millions of fans, THE SORCERER'S COMPANION is a must-have guide. As the authors write in their Introduction, "We feel more secure knowing how to recognize a demon and what to do if attacked by a ghoul (never, ever hit him twice). We hope all of this information is as interesting to you as it is to us. You never know when you might need it."

About the Authors Allan Zola Kronzek and Elizabeth Kronzek are a father-and-daughter team who share a love for magic, history, and, of course, Harry Potter. Allan Kronzek is a full-time professional magician, lecturer, and educator. His presentations "The Art of Fooling" and "A Magician Among the Spirits" have been featured at colleges, museums, and libraries throughout the New York area, and he is a frequent guest and visiting artist at elementary and middle schools. Allan lives in Sag Harbor, N.Y. Elizabeth Kronzek is a professional writer and editor. She received her master's degree in history from Princeton University, with a specialty in the art and culture of Renaissance Europe. Elizabeth lives in Philadelphia.


A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter

Allan Zola Kronzek and Elizabeth Kronzek
Broadway Books
September 18, 2001; trade paperback original
$15.00; 0-7679-0847-8

For more information on THE SORCERER'S COMPANION, please visit the Broadway Books website at

Allan and Elizabeth Kronzek will be our guests on 21st Century Radio on 11 November 2001 at 7 PM Eastern. To listen live, click here.

To order this book, click here.

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