Wednesday, August 12, 2020

MuggleNet Releases Magical Character & Spell Companion Books (Review)

MuggleNet has been one of the primary resources for all things Harry Potter since 1999. From the latest news to fan-inspired activism, the site equips witches and wizards alike to dive deep into the wizarding world to think, create, and discover the magic of the series. 

Outside of the online sphere, MuggleNet and their individual writers have published several books as companion pieces for the series from MuggleNet.com's What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7 to The Life and Lies of Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore by Irvin Khaytman. For the first time in almost a decade, the organization recently released two new books that are great for new and alumni Hogwarts students.

MuggleNet’s Unofficial Harry Potter Character Compendium and The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook expand on the storied legacy of Harry Potter by offering an encyclopedia of the characters, spells, and charms that fans have grown up loving. The former contains synopsis on all the characters featured in the series, and the latter provides background on the spells, charms, and jinxes they use in class, at work, and on the battlefield. I was lucky to be sent copies of both  for review.

Please Note: I received this set of books for review. Opinions are my own. I do not receive commission if you click on any of the links in this post. If you'd like to send me a product to review, check out my work with me page. Thank you for supporting my site!

MuggleNet’s Unofficial Harry Potter Character Compendium

MuggleNet’s Unofficial Harry Potter Character Compendium

MuggleNet’s Unofficial Harry Potter Character Compendium is an expansive encyclopedia of more than 700 characters who have appeared in the books, film franchises, and official hubs like WizardingWorld.com. It was written by the site’s staff Sophia Jenkins, Chelsea Korynta, Catherine Lai, Marissa Osman, Richa Venkatraman, Kat Miller, and Felicia Grady.

Instead of scouring or struggling online wiki of characters, this compendium is easy to use and find who you are looking for. The table of contents is listed alphabetically of where each letter begins and the extra chapters of additional content. The book is an indispensable source of who’s-who in the wizarding world. 

Major characters such as Hermione Granger, Professor Slughorn, and Remus Lupin receive a few page biographies showcasing their involvement in the overall series’ plot. Meanwhile, smaller characters, many mentioned in passing, are covered with facts such as the book they appear in, wand type, achievements, appearance, and more. Outside of brief character bios, several chapters include additional info about wider topics such as the four Hogwarts houses, all of the wizards who’ve received chocolate frog cards, and Quidditch teams through the ages. The research for every character is evident in the vast amount of information included from character-to-character to showcase their impact within the Harry Potter series.

The exclusive Barnes and Noble edition (not reviewed here) includes an additional 17 pages including a full spread on the Gryffindor Quidditch team, a pull-out poster-timeline tracking the movements of the Deathly Hallows, more info on characters not included in the books, and individually penned essays on who the “real hero” of the Harry Potter series is. 
 
The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook

The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook
It’s safe to say that most Harry Potter fans memorize spells from the series – the most popular ones that are uttered in the films or ones that are attached to exciting and personal moments for the characters in the books. 

Did you know that the Time Turner contains the Hour Reversal Charm? Or remember that the spell Hermione taught Harry to navigate the Triwizard Tournament maze was known as “Point Me?” I consider myself a passionately knowledgeable fan of the series, but it’s these little details that reminded me of the vast attention-to-detail throughout the series. Going beyond ‘simple’ incantations verbalized in the series, The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook is one-stop-shop for all things bewitched, stunned, and stupefied. It was also written by the editors at Media Lab Books before their partnership with MuggleNet.

Similar to MuggleNet’s Unofficial Harry Potter Character Compendium, the other half of this duology contains synopsis for spells and charms. The book opens with distinguishing the differences between verbal and nonverbal spells, wand types, and wand cores. And then the following chapters are broken up into Spells, Charms, Curses, Hexes, and Jinxes, and Enchanted Objects. Every topic is broken up alphabetically, and the most popular or recognized spells include a graphic of the pattern to wave your wand – there is more to Swish and Flick than what Professor Flitwick taught Harry and his peers in their first year. 

The only distinguishable difference between MuggleNet’s Unofficial Harry Potter Character Compendium and The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook is the ‘handwritten’ notes included in the spellbook. Similar to the companion books that J.K. Rowling released for Comic Relief and her Lumos charity, this spellbook offers annotations if a spell was used as a jinx, different pronunciation, and other fun comments.

The books' designs feature with a smooth velvet-like cover and embossed titles. The inside is easy to navigate with a variety of fancy fonts for titles and info, a backsplash of watercolor, and graphics for the additional chapters. Unlike some companion titles for the books of films, there can be an overwhelming amount of information or behind-the-scenes details when a “modest” encyclopedia will do. MuggleNet’s latest releases are handy for offering succinct pieces of the puzzle to J.K. Rowling’s expansive wizarding world. 

Perhaps it’s the nitpicky bookworm inside, but I also enjoyed how the books are the same size with similar features. Often compendiums within the same series will differ too much in their aesthetic and organization, and these two make it easy to find what I’m looking for and refresh my memory of characters or spells. It's nice that they are a genuine set, even if you can buy them individually, and it'd be fun to see more versions the cover various locations, objects, etc.

If you’re searching for two stunning companion books, I highly recommend MuggleNet’s Unofficial Harry Potter Character Compendium and The Unofficial Ultimate Harry Potter Spellbook. They are perfect for readers of all ages whether you're just starting their journey at Hogwarts or are returning to the series after a long departure. You can purchase both books separately at your preferred retailer including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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