Harry Potter (Spoilers)

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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  RiverThames on Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:34 am

Rowling has said she wished she'd had the courage to speak up when they changed the title. (Mind you, they probably would have ignored her at the time.)

Heh. I remember a SF/F author telling a story about never having control over titles, editors would always change whatever he would call his stories. So he reached the point where he named every story the same thing when he submitted it. Did it for twenty years. Every single story had the same title. Editors would buy his stories, change the title. He'd write a new one, with the same title.

Then finally one editor bought one of his stories, and kept that title.

He didn't know what to title his stories after that.
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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  Poubelle on Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:36 am

My 11-year-old self is still insulted by the change. Not even kidding. I vividly remember passionate discussions during sixth-grade homeroom about how condescending me and my nerdy friends thought the change was. And also the fourth book was so far away, OMG, waiting until summer was going to be SO HARD.

The book was such a big deal that I don't think anyone needed the title to know it was about magic. You don't need the word "Star" in the title to know Star Trek (and Wars) mostly happen in outer space, y'know?
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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  RiverThames on Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:38 am

Poubelle wrote:
The book was such a big deal that I don't think anyone needed the title to know it was about magic. You don't need the word "Star" in the title to know Star Trek (and Wars) mostly happen in outer space, y'know?

Yeah. Else it's just a Trek. Or Wars. Could be anywhere.
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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  laddical on Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:48 am

It's a rare thing when RiverThames and I disagree so completely, but boy better *step off* on saying "Sorcerer's" is a better title than "Philosopher's". This is bigger than the Empire vs. Die Hard argument we had a few years back. There will be blood.
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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  RiverThames on Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:58 am

NO ONE DIES HARDER THAN JOHN MCCLAIN.

NO ONE.
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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  Poubelle on Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:05 am

Romeo & Juliet doesn't have any words related to love or tragedy in the title yet everyone seems to know what that's about. Nobody wonders if there's any undead in Twilight despite the word "vampires" being nowhere in that title. And Harry Potter was a success in the UK despite "philosopher" not carrying any additional magical connotations over there (and I highly doubt the average Brit kid knows that much more about alchemy than a US one).

I mean, if they really wanted to make it obvious, why stop at "Sorcerer's Stone"? The French title for the first book is "Harry Potter at the School of Wizards." Much clearer!

ETA: That took a turn while I was typing.
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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  queenofdenile on Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:24 am

I like Sorcerer's Stone, because alliteration. Those are my in-depth thoughts on the subject.
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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  Crowbridge on Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:51 am

I prefer "Sorcerer's Stone" because it just sounds better. It grabs my attention more than "Philosopher's Stone".

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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  Instant Monkeys on Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:09 pm

And here I just always thought that "philosopher" was British for "sorcerer." The way they talk about the kids doing "revisions" in the British version and "studying" in the American one. (There is a nerdy member of my family who insisted on special-ordering all the British versions of the Harry Potter books; he wouldn't read the American versions. This nerdy family member is MY DAD.) Clearly I have not thought deeply enough about this.
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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  Tabby on Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:10 pm

If there was any question that this board is populated by literary nerds, the fact that we are having an argument about a Harry Potter title (that contains references to alliteration, Star Trek, and what the French did) will have decided it. Completely and utterly.

Nerds of the very highest order. I love you guys so much.

Next up: The Oxford Comma!
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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  MLIS on Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:14 pm

You will pry my Oxford comma from my cold, dead hands, thank you very much.

Topic? I think that cover is beautiful, and I have no strong feelings about sorcerer vs philosopher. I do love this discussion, though.

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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  RiverThames on Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:25 pm

I'm not saying "Philosopher's Stone" is a bad title, but it doesn't say "magic" to me. It more says, "Young Adult Indiana Jones". Of course, "Chamber of Secrets" says the same thing.

The big thing I don't care for is the meme of, "They changed it because American children are dumb and can't operate on the same level as brilliant British children." And not because they wanted the title to say, "Hey, MAGIC, bitches."


(I have no explanation for Twilight. None whatsoever.)


(Secret message to laddical: John McClain would never have gotten frozen in carbonite.)
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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  UmaOprah on Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:49 pm

Yeah, younger me is outraged they would so drastically change the original title but now I guess I'm attached to my American versions. I don't have a strong desire to own both versions.

I wish they would have kept a consistency with how "American" they wanted to keep it, though. I remember being confused when they started keeping the British terms instead of changing them to their American equivalents, like trainers (don't worry, context help me figure it out!). I did actually love that because it's neat to see the differences, but, I mean, why start doing that more than halfway through the series?

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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  laddical on Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:52 pm

There is a nerdy member of my family who insisted on special-ordering all the British versions of the Harry Potter books; he wouldn't read the American versions.

I jumped through hoops to get the Brit versions on my Kindle. Just couldn't bear the thought of reading about sweaters and sneakers when I could have been reading about jumpers and trainers.

(I have no explanation for Twilight. None whatsoever.)

No one does.

It more says, "Young Adult Indiana Jones".

There actually was a YA Indiana Jones novel with that title.


(Sooper sekrit message to RiverThames: Han Solo would never be caught barefoot. And McClain didn't have to deal with a cyborg that could kill him with his mind.)
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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  QueenSix on Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:19 pm

I was a bit peeved to hear about the changes they were making to the Harry Potter books because they're British books. They're set in England so why change them to suit another country? I don't remember any US books being changed so that 'sneakers' became 'trainers' or runners as we call them here, or someone writing about going to Walmart and it becoming Sainsbury's for a UK edition. The whole point of reading a book set in a different country is that you get to experience a snapshot of that country and become more knowledgeable.

Reading such a book can be a sneaky way of teaching people things without them realising that they are learning!

God, I'm such a book nerd. I think I need to re-read the Harry Potters actually. I know for a fact I haven't read the first one in 13 years. What's that about?!

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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  ulkis on Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:19 pm

Unlucky Bear wrote:I want to hate it, but....it's so pretty.

I want it now.

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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  RiverThames on Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:23 pm

It was all jumpers and trainers in the versions I read.
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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  UmaOprah on Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:43 pm

Oh, I don't disagree. In fact, I wholeheartedly agree. I wish they hadn't changed anything to begin with. I just never understood why they decided to start using British terms if they were so bent on keeping it American. I guess it's a good thing that the publishers thought we could handle a little culture and vocabulary at that point...

I distinctly remember seeing "trainers" in the sixth book. Harry was under his invisibility cloak and I think he thought Draco saw his white trainers or something. But in the first book, Harry could see Ron's sneakers underneath his robes because they were too short for him. And Ron's mom definitely made them sweaters for Christmas in the first book.

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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  big chicken on Thu Feb 14, 2013 5:12 pm

GoF was the first HP book which was simultaneously published in the UK and the US. Prior to GoF, there was a lag between UK and US publication and people were ordering copies of PS/SS, CoS, and PoA from Amazon because they didn't want to wait for Scholastic's edition. I guess Scholastic figured if British terminology wasn't stopping people from ordering the British versions of the books, they didn't need to change it.

I don't think Scholastic's intent in the first book was to make the book American but to make it more accessible to Americans. Scholastic was probably afraid if the language in HP was too British, kids wouldn't want to make the effort of looking up what the words meant or trying to figure them out by context. Scholastic paid more for the rights to publish the HP books than any publisher had ever paid for a children's book before and I don't blame them for wanting to them to reach as many readers as they could.

Stuff like that never stopped me when I was a kid but thanks to the Narnia books, I thought Edmund's torch was a stick with a light bulb at the end and it looked like an actual torch. It wasn't until years later that I realized Edmund was using a flashlight. The lemon squash all those British kids were drinking was a fruity, melony drink. (I was pretty heartbroken to learn lemon squash was basically lemonade.) In my defense, we didn't have the internet and I don't know if an ordinary dictionary would have had British definitions. Still, even though I knew that a jumper is a sweater, my mind came up with some hilarious images at the Christmas scenes in the first book.

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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  UmaOprah on Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:33 pm

Ah, that actually makes so much sense as to why they stopped changing the terms, thanks! I jumped on the HP train after the 4th book, so didn't experience the different releases, thank goodness.

I think it was also Narnia that introduced torch to me. I'm embarrassed to say how long it took me to figure that one out.

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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  maxell131313 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:17 pm

I still want the British editions of the books just because. I don't care if there's only a word or two changed, it's different and I want it!
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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  SarahJanet on Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:51 pm

I thought the reason the American versions got less Americanized in the later books was partly that JKR had a lot more clout after the first three books went stratospheric, and she told them to knock it off. I might be making that up, though.

When do you guys think the tipping point from popular series to insanely popular series was? I read the first three the day after the third one came out on the recommendation of my mother (a library school professor) and I was the first of my friends to read them. I remember the release of the fourth being a fairly big deal, but nothing compared to 5 6 and 7. What was the timeline of that popularity explosion?

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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  big chicken on Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:58 pm

I'd say around GoF. It was the first book to have the midnight parties and the media attention which went with that. The publishers made that book's release an event. Also, the movies were announced at around that time and they helped keep the series in the public consciousness during those three years JKR took between GoF and OotP.

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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  Instant Monkeys on Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:21 pm

SarahJanet wrote:I thought the reason the American versions got less Americanized in the later books was partly that JKR had a lot more clout after the first three books went stratospheric, and she told them to knock it off. I might be making that up, though.
That's always been my impression too.
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Re: Harry Potter (Spoilers)

Post  RiverThames on Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:24 pm

I think it was a slow burn through three, and became the HUGE FREAKING DEAL when four came out.

Though, at the time, I had no children, so my perspective may be different. Anyone who had 10-15 year olds at the time (or who WERE 10-15 year olds at the time) might have a different perspective.
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