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Review – Harry Potter: A Journey Through Divination and Astronomy

JK Rowling - Harry Potter A Journey Through Divination and Astronomy (July 2019) featured image
Harry Potter: A Journey Through Divination and Astronomy
Overall
9/10
9/10
  • Writing - 9/10
    9/10
  • Development - 9/10
    9/10
  • Overall - 9/10
    9/10
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Summary

Author: Pottermore Publishing
Book Format: Ebook
Pages: 74
Release Date: July 25th, 2019
Description:
The history of magic is as long as time and as wide as the world. In every culture, in every age, in every place and, probably, in every heart, there is magic.

This non-fiction short-form eBook features content which is adapted from the audiobook Harry Potter: A History of Magic – inspired by the British Library exhibition of the same name.

If you’ve gazed into the crystal ball you’ll have seen that you are about to enter a place of prediction and fortune-telling that makes up the subject of Divination in the real and wizarding world. From the use of bones and shells thousands of years ago, to peering into teacups in the parlours of Victorian England, for millennia people have strived to see what fate and fortune holds. Trying to read our destinies, the study of the night sky has fascinated people for centuries, from the star atlases of ancient China to the celestial globes of 17th-century Venice. Astronomy holds a special place in the wizarding world as a source of inspiration and identity for Harry Potter’s life at Hogwarts, and beyond.

This eBook short examines the colourful characters and curious incidents of the real history of magic, and how they relate to the Hogwarts lesson subjects of Divination and Astronomy from the Harry Potter stories.

Harry Potter: A Journey Through Divination and Astronomy

Just to be clear; Harry Potter: A Journey Through Divination and Astronomy was not written by J.K. Rowling. It’s inspired by the influences on her work. And it was published by Pottermore—so it is canon in that sense. But I don’t want people thinking that there are more Harry Potter books out there (or Harry Potter textbooks).

This ebook is one of four novellas that will focus on the real-life and historical influences that can be found in J.K. Rowling’s works. It’s the third one out in the series, with the last one focusing on Care of Magical Creatures.

JK Rowling - Harry Potter A Journey Through Divination and Astronomy (July 2019)
JK Rowling – Harry Potter: A Journey Through Divination and Astronomy (July 2019)

This whole series was inspired by the audiobook, A History of Magic. So a lot of the facts inside these will be repeats from the information provided there. Also, some of the inspiration for the series can be laid at the feet of the Harry Potter museum exhibit, something I’m sure all Potterheads would have liked the opportunity to go to.

Writing

Harry Potter: A Journey Through Divination and Astronomy is a factual novel. When it isn’t covering history, it’s talking about Harry Potter, either by citing quotes or talking about how J.K. Rowling developed elements in her series. But it still reads as fairly upbeat, and is not dry in the least.

Part of the reason the ebook doesn’t feel dry is that it doesn’t spend a ton of time on any one subject. You could consider that good or bad, depending on your perspective. If you’re looking for a deeper dive into the history of magic, this ebook isn’t for you. But it is a good starting point, if nothing else.

When they first announced the series, I was surprised that they had decided to lump some of the subjects together. But having read this ebook, I kind of get it. In the context of magic and Harry Potter, Divination and Astronomy really do go hand in hand.

It’s easy to forget how many real-life influences found their way into the world of Harry Potter. Ebooks like these are a good reminder. Even though this one only covered two course subjects, there was still a lot to go over. It’s no wonder people have found even the details of the series to be so memorable.

Development

Like the first two ebooks in the series, Harry Potter: A Journey Through Divination and Astronomy uses a few different writing techniques to tell its tale. Or to talk about the facts, as it were. Pulling in direct quotes from Harry Potter was a good call. It added context to the sources they talked about.

The ebook has two main parts, Divination and Astronomy. This helped with the flow of the book in general, and honestly will make it a good resource for looking up material later, should the need arise.

It was interesting to see what they did and did not choose to include in this ebook. There was a lot they could have worked with. And it was impressive how much ground they were able to cover, given that the ebook is a mere 74 pages.

Conclusion

Harry Potter: A Journey Through Divination and Astronomy is an interesting read for anyone hoping to learn a little bit more about some of the elements behind Harry Potter. If you’ve ever seen a reference in the series and wanted to know a bit more about it, this is a good starting point.

The ebook doesn’t do a deep dive into any one subject. But given the page count, I doubt that’s actually a surprise to anyone. It was a fun and interesting read, nonetheless, and is perfect for any Potterhead out there. Likely the only major disappointment for the series is that it will not be available in a physical format.


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About the author

Cat Wyatt

Cat Wyatt is an avid comic book reader, as well as a reader of novels. Her favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, though she's usually willing to try other genres as well. Cat collects Funko Pop figures, Harry Potter books (different editions), and has more bookshelves than she's willing to admit.

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