Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Books 37 - 39 of 2016: Short Stories from Hogwarts & Hogwarts: An Incomplete & Unreliable Guide

I forget when I first heard about these 'Pottermore Presents' ebooks. I know I got rather excited about them and then promptly forgot all about them until a fellow Harry Potter geek at work reminded me.

Thankfully by that point we had internet access at home so I was able to get them bought and downloaded that night (they were £1.99 each), though it then took me a little while to get them to open as they were in a format which seemed to default to a graphics programme on my Kindle. I had to download an alternative eReader app onto my Kindle before I could actually open and read them.

I'm reviewing these three books in  collective because they just go together. They're relatively short, 58 pages for the shortest (Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies) and 73 pages for the longest (Hogwarts: An Incomplete & Unreliable Guide); Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists clocks in at 60 pages, in case you were wondering. They contain a mix of unseen material from J.K. Rowling and curated pieces previously published on Pottermore.

The three books are all short enough that you can read them in one sitting. I began Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies on the 9th of September but had to stop part way through because I was falling asleep. I finished it and Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists the following day, then started the final book which was finished the day after that. If you were going on a long journey and or had nothing else to do but read, you could easily get through all three in one go.

Of the three, the second one I read was probably my favourite. This one had more that was brand new to me. I'm not sure if this was because I missed those articles on the Pottermore site originally, or if it did actually contain more brand new material.

The highlights of these three books were definitely the bits which were all new. In the first one that I read it was the information about how one becomes an Animagus (which I'm sure introduces whole new realms of possibility to writers of Marauders Era fan fiction). In the second I enjoyed the lengthy section on past Ministers for Magic, for one thing you could spot surnames which later crop up in the series as belonging to significant characters, for another, you can pretend you're reading an actual Hogwarts text book and channel your inner Hermione.

The last one of the three, Hogwarts: An Incomplete & Unreliable Guide, I just wish it had been longer. I almost wish that this could have been expanded out into a slightly longer book under the heading 'Hogwarts, A History' like the Fantastic Beasts and Quidditch Through the Ages books for Comic Relief. I especially liked the glimpse into the Hufflepuff common room, since that's somewhere we never go during the original book series, but I wanted to know more about the Room of Requirement and what happened to it after the Battle of Hogwarts.

Following the texts on each subject in the books are notes from J.K. Rowling herself. I love these. They're like little DVD extras where you get a nosy into the way she thinks and what some of the alternative ideas she was working on for certain characters in the stories. My favourites in these bits were always the parts where she explained the meanings behind character names and what influenced them. I just wish these, like the ebooks themselves, were longer.


  1. My friend is a Harry Potter nut! She would love these books so i have to look out for them and buy them for her birthday

    1. Definitely recommend them to her. As far as I'm aware, they're only available as ebooks. :-)


Let me know what you think. :-)