Cover of Wizard's Hall by Jane Yolen

Wizard’s Hall

Another book that started with a dream, this story predates the Harry Potter books by eight years. A young inept wizard who turns out to be in some ways the most powerful of them all, my hero is named Henry (not Harry) but renamed Thornmallow when he gets to the Wizard’s Hall. The Hall is a school, with teacher’s pictures that move about, and a wicked wizard who used to teach there. (Is this all beginning to sound familiar?) There is a horrible quilted beast and a variety of spells. Scholastic dropped their paperback edition just a year before they began publishing Harry Potter. Harcourt then reprinted Wizard’s Hall. There is an Audiobook, which I narrated. There is a Thai version.


  • The book was a 1992-93 Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Award nominee.

Around the Web:


  • There is an audio recording of WIZARD’S HALL narrated by me, from Listening Library (ISBN# 0-8072-7568-9). An AUDIOFILE Earphones Award winner.

What reviewers have said:

  • “Latest and 113th recruit at a school for wizards, Henry is given a new name (Thornmallow: prickly outside but “squishy within”) and is soon making friends and discovering that– despite a becoming humility and lamentable tone-deafness–he has an unusual, as yet uncharted, power to make magical things occur. This is fortunate, because the school is under threat from a disaffected wizard who used to be the 14th “magister” (teacher) and his monster, a patchwork dragon constructed from negative traits and entire personalities. Piecing together information from the library with his other scant knowledge, Thornmallow manages to stop the beast just before it adds him to its grisly bulk, then rescue the rest of the already-devoured school. Yolen skillfully blends the traditions of fantasy and school story, giving her theme a special twist: Thornmallow is not the expected powerful enchanter but an “enhancer” who makes his contribution as a catalyst for others’ magic and whose heroism consists of trying hard and not giving up. Briskly told, with plenty of eng