Original Concept: J.K. Rowling
Released: June 27th, 2019
Harry Potter: A Journey Through Potions and Herbology ebook in a series of four coming out this summer, all focusing on the real-life and historical elements behind the world of Harry Potter.
Before I start my review, I want to be a bit clear about this series. I’ve been seeing a lot of people confused online, so I feel this is important to note; these are not Harry Potter ebooks, nor were they actually written by J.K. Rowling. They were written by Pottermore, and inspired by the History of Magic novel that came out.
Each ebook in the series takes one or two school subjects taught at Hogwarts, and then focuses on the past and influences that J.K. Rowling pulled from in order to enrich her world. This series is perfect for anyone that wants a starting point for research. But it may not be in depth enough for those seeking a lot of details about these influences.
I love the choice to combine Potions and Herbology in Harry Potter: A Journey Through Potions and Herbology. These two feel like a really natural pairing, for obvious reasons. I was always a bit sad in Harry Potter that they didn’t discuss more of the classes outside of the main ones (Potions, Charms, Transfiguration, etc). But again, that’s probably just me.
The half of this ebook focused on Potions was fascinating. It covered everything from apothecaries to leechbooks (which I never really knew much about), bezoars, and even the philosopher’s stone. It didn’t go to in depth in any of these subjects, but it was a great starting point for further research.
The second half of the ebook focused on Herbology, and I was actually a little bit surprised by how much research J.K. Rowling had done for her series. I should rephrase that, I mean that I’m surprised by how many references and connections were made in her series. I hadn’t realized just how many of the details were based on cultural and historical references.
It covered some of the obvious, like the tools and things like that. It did eventually get a bit more out there, covering things like mandrakes and gnomes. On the whole I really enjoyed reading about all of these elements.
What I especially loved about this ebook were the inclusion of graphic and images, as well as quotes from the series to give context. Together these elements really brought the ebook to a whole new level, and made it really interesting. Though I did especially enjoy some of the making of facts, like what sourcebooks J.K. Rowling used, or the images she drew in preparation.
Harry Potter: A Journey Through Potions and Herbology is the second ebook in the series. Harry Potter: A Journey Through Charms and Defense Against the Dark Arts came out at the same time; Harry Potter: A Journey Through Divination and Astronomy is coming later, and Harry Potter: A Journey Through Care of Magical Creatures is last.