From alchemy to hippogriffs to veela, this guide to J. K. Rowling's novels explores the fascinating historical meanings buried within the names, characters, creatures, and places in Harry Potter's magical world. Chapter headings are intriguing questions such as 'Have Witches Always Flown on Broomsticks?' 'Why Would Chocolate Help After Escaping a Dementor?' and 'Are Any of the Famous Witches and Wizards Real?' and tabs in the margins of each chapter guide readers to specific subjects within. From Greek, Japanese, Indian, and Egyptian mythology to Joseph Campbell's writings on the hero archetype, this book leaves no stone unturned in its look at Rowling's extensive source material.