Mystified by Muggles? Curious about Quidditch? Can’t tell Hogwarts from Hogsmeade? If you’re one of the few people who still haven’t read J.K. Rowling’s hugely successful books about the young wizard Harry Potter, here’s an eclectic guide to his enchanted world.
MUGGLE Mortal, non-wizard.
HOGWARTS Top school for sorcerers-to-be. Courses include Transfiguration, Herbology, Divination, Defense Against the Dark Arts, and Care of Magical Creatures. Nearby Hogsmeade is the only non-Muggle village in Britain.
THE MONSTER BOOK OF MONSTERS Required reading for the class Care of Magical Creatures. This book bites but is easily tamed with a little spine stroking.
QUIDDITCH Most popular wizard sport. A mishmash of soccer, basketball, and field hockey, it is played on flying broomsticks, natch.
FORBIDDEN FOREST On the Hogwarts grounds. Home of giant meat-eating spiders and philosophizing centaurs.
SIR NICHOLAS DE MIMSY-PORPINGTON, A.K.A. NEARLY HEADLESS NICK Aptly named ruff- and tights-clad ghost. One of many resident spirits at Hogwarts.
VOLDEMORT, A.K.A. YOU-KNOW-WHO, A.K.A. HE-WHO-MUST-NOT-BE-NAMED Evil sorcerer; Harry Potter’s nemesis.
DEATHDAY PARTY Ghosts’ birthday equivalent. Featuring freezing rooms and black candles. Finger food includes rotten fish, fungus-covered peanuts, and a tombstone cake.
DIAGON ALLEY Non-Muggle shopping mall, including Flourish and Blotts bookshop, Ollivanders wand store (”Makers of Fine Wands since 382 b.c.”), Eeylops Owl Emporium, and Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions.
MINISTRY OF MAGIC’S ACCIDENTAL MAGIC REVERSAL DEPARTMENT The magic world’s Men in Black. Responsible for keeping Muggles blissfully ignorant of wizards’ presence.
KNUTS, SICKLES, GALLEONS Wizard money. There are 29 bronze Knuts to a silver Sickle, 17 Sickles to a gold Galleon.
BERTIE BOTT’S EVERY FLAVOR BEANS Charmed answer to Willy Wonka’s Everlasting Gobstoppers. Every Flavor means you’re as likely to taste spinach, liver, tripe, sprouts, curry, grass, vomit, and earwax as you are chocolate or blueberry.
HOWLER Screaming letter that parents send to scold kids at boarding school. Bursts into flames when finished.
REMEMBRALL Marble-size glass ball that turns red as a reminder that you’ve forgotten something (though it does not specify what, exactly).