Canon is a word used to describe a fixed collection of text. In the Harry-Potter-Lexicon, canon refers to the following:
- The seven novels:
- Other works written by J. K. Rowling in the Harry Potter universe:
- Canonical information posted on Pottermore, a website containing canonical content Rowling herself created and posted.
- Information from J.K. Rowling herself, either from interviews or from her official site. On numerous occasions, Rowling has provided information not included in the books or films, that has been used to expand upon character backstory. In particular the documentary J.K. Rowling: A Year in the Life includes a segment in which she provides names and character outcomes not covered elsewhere.
Information from the Harry Potter films, games, and trading cards are considered canon as long as it does not contradict a higher source.
On the opposite end of the spectrum from canon is fanon, which consists of information, stories and supposition that has been created by fans, but which are not actually addressed in any of the canonical sources listed above.
The canonicity of the short film The Queen's Handbag is uncertain, given that it centres around a major anachronism -- the date of Queen Elizabeth II's 80th birthday -- and contains other elements that appear to contradict the continuity of the novels and the films.
Rowling was reportedly at work on a Harry Potter Encyclopedia project, but at this point work on it has apparently been discontinued in favour of Pottermore. Nevertheless, should it someday be completed, the information within will presumably be considered canon.