Thursday, July 30, 2009

Steve Vander Ark and The Lexicon

Now it's time to talk about more Azkatraz!

Really it's just about one person and a book. But first a couple of announcementish things...

Stay tuned to the blog (you can follow us here, too) for a few exciting bits coming up. Ragu has been granted access (be scared!) to the blog and he'll be posting some reviews. We also have trivia coming up. We'll post literary trivia and trivia from episodes of the show. There will be prizes we'll announce later so keep watch and make sure to play.

I'm really happy that I get to review a new book by Stephanie Kuehnert called Ballads of Suburbia. She's also graciously agreed to do an interview for the podcast. We can all look forward to that.


Before I get into the rest of it, I have to make a little statement about my previous blog entry about Azkatraz. I happened to review a certain Mugglecast rockstar which sparked a bit of drama, to the Twittered power. While I'm not going to apologize for posting my opinion on my own blog, I am sorry that things got kind of out of hand. For any of you who read the last one and were upset at all about it, the aforementioned rockstar and I have had words and there are no hard feelings on either side. So now I can get back to the business of books...

My favorite session this year at Azkatraz was the one I went to presented by Steve Vander Ark. It was enjoyable and funny. We got to tease about the Harry Potter books that we all know and love - reminding those of us privileged enough to attend the session that it's okay to have fun with Harry Potter, too. Yes, there are scholarly discussions to be held but sometimes we shouldn't take it all so seriously! I think that true fans should be able to see and understand some of the sillier bits in the series.

And Steve Vander Ark said something that made me look at the movies in a different way, too. I haven't really liked the movies for many reasons, but one is that, as adaptations, they suck. He happened to answer someone's question about the movies by saying that he loves the movies... they're wonderful fanfiction.

It was easier for me to watch the newest movie with this little tidbit in mind. Thinking of them, not as adaptations of canon, but of works of fanfiction. I'm happy to be able to enjoy the movies now!

The presentation made us all laugh and then he had to go and makes us get all teary, too. I guess I didn't realize how many hateful things were said about him until he stood up and thanked us all for giving him a warmer reception than he expected. With the lawsuit over the original lexicon, mud was slung and people were angry. But it's important to remember that Steve Vander Ark is still an amazing fan and he has a wealth of Harry Potter knowledge. It was truly a pleasure to experience the convention with him there.

I picked up a copy of The Lexicon, which was published after some changes were made. And he signed it for me. Yay!

This book is amazing. I've flipped through it more than a few times and I've looked a couple of things up. The level of detail is so great. The book is an encyclopedia of Harry Potter with entries from "Abbott" through "zoological column." Steve Vander Ark clearly did his research with the information about various names and even wand woods. What more could we ask for? (Besides an encyclopedia from Ms. Rowling herself - although I'm pulling for a publication of Hogwarts: A History...)

The comprehensive guide is really the perfect companion for the series. I love the entries where we also get paragraphs from Steve. If you have the book already, read the Snape entry. Truly wonderful! Then, just riffle through it while closing your eyes, stop and glance at whatever page you land on. I bet you'll find something you didn't know about Harry Potter.

I guess that's probably more of a commercial than a book review... but that's okay. Hey, it's my blog, right?

Until next time, go read something good!

~ Vilate

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