Book #53

Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide by JK Rowling

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.

My favourite of the three. I can't begin to explain how many times I've longed to explore that castle, or find out more about its inhabitants, whether ghost, portrait, or otherwise. This is our version of Hogwarts: A History, and I'm so glad to have it.

One of the biggest plot holes in the series involves the time turner, and Rowling addressed this graciously:

She admits she went into the time travelling business "too light-heartedly", hence the various discussions between Dumbledore and Hermione on the dangers of letting anyone see you time travel, and the later destruction of the Ministry's collection of time turners. Rowling's explanation of the five hour limit patches up a lot of these plot holes.

I was so fascinated to read of some of the things that didn't make it into the novels, particularly Nearly Headless Nick's ballad detailing his death, and the names and characters of some of the ghosts who didn't make the final cut. The decision to magic up a train and use it to transport the students to Hogwarts was also an absolute jewel, with Muggles from Hogsmeade 'forgetting' they had a train station, and railway working Muggles in Crewe wandering around for weeks with the strange feeling they'd misplaced something important, but never realising it was an entire train.

The best thing about Hogwarts, of course, is its founders (i.e. Salazar) and its origin. Reading about the main man and his creation of the Chamber of Secrets, alongside the Gaunt family's in-school boasting of their knowledge of the chamber, made my Slytherin heart beat with joy. I bet I could open it with a bit of practice if someone could just distract Myrtle.

Fangirl ramblings, I know. My only criticism would be that it just wasn't enough. I won't be satisfied until all 1,000 pages of Hogwarts: A History are written. I'd pay about 300 quid for it.