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HPW:CANON

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.

Canon tiers

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.


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.


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.

Examples of usage

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Notes

  1. 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. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Including the content no longer found on the current version of the website.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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).

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