Since there are different sources of information for Harry Potter canon and sources do, on occasion, conflict with one another, the following guide is to be used on the Harry Potter Wiki. In order to simplify the different areas that exist as sources for canon information in the Harry Potter universe we have devised a three tier system summarised below. Please remember any type of fanon, information created by fans using the Harry Potter characters, is not considered canon at all and must be marked as such, unless made canon by a legitimate source.
Although there are different levels of canon, this does not mean relevant information cannot be included in situations where there are conflicting canon sources. Ambiguous continuity should always be noted. If an "official" canon source has been chosen, (e.g. J. K. Rowling has said that a fact was a mistake and it was meant to be something else), the information from the conflicting source should still appear in the article in the "Behind the scenes" section.
Basically put, everything is canon unless specifically contradicted by a "higher" source.
Tier One: J.K. Rowling
This tier only contains all the material proved to be coming from J.K. Rowling herself. She either wrote the following sources herself, was involved in writing/developing them and/or stated to consider them as canon herself. Texts in their original language, J.K. Rowling's British English and editions of the books with her corrections and extra material are the most valuable but American English editions may occasionally have more material, for example Dean Thomas's description was left out of the British edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone after the intervention of her editor (you can see the differences between editions of the books here). Most of the sources below include some content not coming from Rowling herself such as book covers or illustrations; this type of content is excluded from tier-one. Only the visual arts J.K. Rowling created herself as well as her own pronunciation, intonation, etc. (from videos and audio recordings of her reading her writings or talking about their content for example) belong to this category. When J.K. Rowling contradicts herself, the newest source is to be taken as the "most" canon. If published, the Encyclopaedia of Potterworld should belong to this category.
- The seven Harry Potter novels:
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
- The Scholastic’s Collector's Edition (published in November 2000) includes a pen-and-ink drawing by J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter at no.4 Privet Drive (which was then published on Pottermore) with its explanatory note that has never been released through another source.
- The Scholastic’s Special Anniversary Edition (published in October 2008) includes a drawing by J.K. Rowling of Severus Snape (which was also shown in Harry Potter and Me) with its explanatory note that has never been released through another source.
- The Bloomsbury 20th Anniversary Editions will include fact files, profiles of characters and line illustrations exclusive to each Hogwarts house.
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
- The 2014 Bloomsbury Children Edition includes an information about Koldovstoretz that has never been released through another source.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
- The Hogwarts Library books (companion books to the seven novels):
- Quidditch Through the Ages
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- The editions published prior to 2017 included a foreword "by Albus Dumbledore".
- The 2017 Edition will feature a new foreword "by Newt Scamander" and information about 6 new beasts.
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard
- The Limited Collector's Edition includes a reproduction of her handwritten introduction and illustrations from J.K. Rowling that have never been released through another source.
- Short texts set in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World:
- Content from J.K. Rowling published in Pottermore Presents:
- Other content and statements pertaining to J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World from:
- Original scripts for films and plays set in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World:
- Any other element (from other sources) that can be proved to be coming from J.K. Rowling herself
Tier Two: Based on J.K. Rowling's work
These sources do not contain information directly from the "mouth" of J. K. Rowling, but they are projects based on works by her, and in which she was involved in some capacity at some point.
- Book covers and illustrations not created by J.K. Rowling.
- The eight Harry Potter films:
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (film)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
- Other films set in the Harry Potter universe:
- The eight Harry Potter films:
- Official books about the making of the films:
- Harry Potter Film Wizardry
- Harry Potter Page to Screen: The Complete Filmmaking Journey
- Harry Potter Limited Edition
- Harry Potter: The Creature Vault
- Harry Potter: The Character Vault
- Harry Potter: The Artifact Vault
- The Case of Beasts: Explore the Film Wizardry of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Art of The Film
- J. K. Rowling's Wizarding World: Movie Magic Volume One: Extraordinary People and Fascinating Places
- Exhibitions about the making of the films:
- Theme parks based on the Harry Potter universe:
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child's script (only the story was co-developed by J.K. Rowling and considered canon by her but she did not write the play)
Tier Three: Licensed
These sources are where J. K. Rowling or Warner Bros. (the makers of the Harry Potter films and her primary licensee) licensed the use of elements of the Harry Potter universe to a third-party.
- Video games
- Video games based on the eight Harry Potter films:
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (video game)
- Other video games based on the Harry Potter universe:
- Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7
- LEGO Dimensions (Fantastic Beasts story levels and open world & Harry Potter open world)
- Fantastic Beasts: Cases from the Wizarding World
- Wonderbook: Book of Spells (Some elements are written by JKR and therefore are Tier 1 canon)
- Wonderbook: Book of Potions
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child's production, including casting and sets.
- Video games based on the eight Harry Potter films:
- Trading cards based on the Harry Potter universe:
- Other official merchandise
Examples of usage
- Oliver Wood mentions in the Philosopher's Stone film that he took a Bludger to the head in the first few minutes of his first ever Quidditch game. This is never mentioned in the books. Is it canon according to our guide? Yes, since there is no evidence from the books to say that it didn't happen.
- The Harry Potter games contain a spell known as Avifors to change statues into birds. Is this canon according to our guide? Yes, since there is no evidence to suggest that such a spell doesn't exist. This can generally be applied to most spells/items from the games.
- In the Goblet of Fire film, Krum attacks Fleur in the Maze during the Triwizard Tournament. Is this considered canon? No, because the book, a higher source of canon, specifically states that Crouch/Moody did it. However, it should be noted in the "Behind the scenes" section.
- Mafalda is a cut character from an early draft of Goblet of Fire. Is she canon according to our guide? Yes and no. The fact that she exists may be considered canon, but anything about her intended part in the story cannot be considered canon because it did not happen in the books.
- In the games, are the various challenges/levels considered canon according to our guide? Yes and no. Levels like the Glacius Challenge from the Prisoner of Azkaban game should not be considered canon since it is highly unlikely that the students would be put in danger like that. However, challenges like helping to assemble Dumbledore's Army for their first meeting in Order of the Phoenix could conceivably be considered canon because they usually involve helping out with a task to free the student up to attend.
- ↑ The 2014 Bloomsbury Children Editions features a map of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry drawn by Tomislav Tomic based off of Rowling's original sketch and end matter from Pottermore for each book in the series that were created to summaries relevant areas of the online experience and attract the Harry Potter readership back to pottermore.com. The first two books in the series were given two double-page spreads in order to educate the readers about pottermore.com and its functionality in detail. The remaining five books were given single double-page spreads. The Harry Potter Enhanced Editions iBooks have annotations written by J.K. Rowling from Pottermore to give you insights into the world of Harry Potter.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 Including the content no longer found on the current version of the website.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Canon from her Twitter account, documentaries, interviews and articles she did not write herself may have been provided without a time of reflection as long as when Rowling is working on a book, a text or an article and may contradict information from other sources of canon. Her exact quotes are also most valuable than reports of her comments.
- ↑ J.K. Rowling is credited for "Words and Creative Thoughts" in Wonderbook: Book of Spells while her website said that she wrote "spell descriptions and stories". J.K. Rowling is credited "for her creative contribution and writing" in Wonderbook: Book of Potions, a press release said she created Zygmunt Budge, the Wizarding Schools Potions Championship and its location especially for Book of Potions. It seems like she was less involved in Wonderbook: Book of Potions compared to Wonderbook: Book of Spells but both games include texts not coming from her. Distinction between the parts from J.K. Rowling herself and the parts from the developers is not possible.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Only the story was co-developed by J.K. Rowling and considered canon by her (J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) on Twitter: "The story of #CursedChild should be considered canon, though. @jackthorne, John Tiffany (the director) and I developed it together.") but she did not write the play.
- ↑ The script was written by Rowling but it was edited to match the final theatrical release of the film. Some scenes were edited or deleted, the actors ad libbed lines, etc.
- ↑ For example, J.K. Rowling wrote letters to some of her fans containing new information and created/approved/was involved in the creation of some original content for non tier-one canon's sources such as the Harry Potter video games, the film series (for example, some Black family members appears only on the version of the Black family tree tapestry shown in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and were not included on the version of the tree which J. K. Rowling gave to a charity auction in 2006, according to director David Yates, Rowling provided the filmmakers with a copy of the Black family tree going back eight generations; so the filmmakers presumably received a more complete version of the tree than the one auctioned off, which only goes back six generations), the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, etc. if it ever happened that one specific element can be proved to have been originated directly from J.K. Rowling herself (or at least that she considers it canon) then this one element can be added to the tier-one. Unpublished/unused material Rowling created (such as early drafts, cut content, proof copy, the script of deleted scenes from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film), changes editors forced her to do, or ghost plots) have a specific status (see Examples of usage № 4).