So You Want to Be a Wizard Trainer?
by Mona Morsy
Wands out, everybody!
Unless you were raised on some remote island far from civilization, you have probably heard of Pokémon. You read that right, Pokémon. One of the things I loved most about the Pokémon franchise when I was a kid was the Pokédex. It was a red, handheld electronic catalog that, when turned on, would provide you with all the knowledge you needed as a Pokémon Trainer. You could look up the various Pokémon, their powers, and their weaknesses.
Wouldn’t it be cool to have something similar for Harry Potter? To be able to walk about with a small electronic encyclopedia of all things Harry Potter in the palm of your hands? Got stumped on a character? Don’t know what Diagon Alley looks like? You could just open this up and have all your questions answered. Well, Tiger Electronics (TE), the makers of the Pokédex, must have heard my wishes because this is exactly what they delivered.
In 2001, TE released the magical Harry Potter Book of Spells, an electronic encyclopedia covering characters, creatures, and spells from the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The Book of Spells is in fact in the shape of a small book with Harry Potter on the front cover. You can customize the Book of Spells with your name and notes and even utilize the built-in planner and calendar.
Similar to the Harry Potter Trading Card Game that I spoke about in the previous article, the art from merchandise around this same time was so captivating. I loved how the merchandise such as toys, action figures, electronics, etc. were all detailed from what we pictured from the books. The “PotterDex” is a perfect example of this as the technology is basic with Tiger Electronics’s cool “high-resolution dot matrix” capabilities showcasing the various characters and locations.
When you power up the Book of Spells, you are shown the iconic Harry Potter logo and Hedwig flying across the small screen. There is a keyboard laid out beneath the screen and on the right-hand side are some buttons needed to get around this wizarding tool. If you decide to search for some characters, you can push the lightning-shaped “enter” button once you hover over that option. You can then use the keys to search for the witch or wizard you wish to read about.
It is organized by last name, so if you wanted to see who Albus Dumbledore is and show your friends, you would select “D” to bring up those characters who have “D” in their name. Once you select Albus Dumbledore, again by pushing the lightning bolt, you will see a wonderful image of the headmaster, and you’ll be able to read all about his skills and accomplishments. Don’t just stop there – go and pay a visit to Minerva McGonagall and see what makes her a favorite.
Let’s say that you didn’t want to discuss a witch or wizard but instead a goblin: Griphook is also in the database of characters to visit, so don’t forget about him. Once you’re ready to venture from characters to other wizarding categories, head over to locations where you’ll find places like Diagon Alley, the Dursley’s house, and Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Yes, the screen is small, and perhaps the rad high-resolution dot matrix technology is no match for what we have today, but this little Book of Spells does so much for our imagination and ability to be transported back in time. It reminds us of the many characters, spells, and locations that we found in the pages of the first book that made us fall in love with the wizarding universe we all now know so well.
Whether you are wanting to search for characters or quiz your friends, the Book of Spells has you covered. There is a section called Quiz where you are allowed to go in and have a question asked for a certain number of House points. You are only allowed to answer one question per day as though you are going to one specific class a day to check your knowledge. Here’s an example of a question that is asked: “What was Harry’s last exam in his first year at Hogwarts? A. Transfiguration, B. History or Magic, C. Potions, or D. Herbology?”
How well do you know your Harry Potter info? Can you answer all the questions and recall all that has to be said about your favorite characters and locations?
Although this item is no longer sold in physical retail stores, you can get one from online stores, such as eBay and Amazon. I have seen them sold in Spanish and Greek, so wherever you are, be sure to get your hands on one if you’re looking to play around with vintage Harry Potter toys. For more on Harry Potter vintage fun, join me next time as we dive deeper Into the Floo.