Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: Introduction

22 Sep

The book that started it all…

No, we’re not using the American title. One, the books are British and
it’s good to keep the original title. Two, there is no such thing as a
Sorcerer’s Stone and the US publishers should be ashamed of themselves.

First things first, folks: these posts are going to take a very long time. Be patient with us. Mutual work schedules are not being friendly, it’s very hard to find times we can discuss the books at length, and there is so much to include. Originally we were hoping to manage at least a couple of chapters per post – yeah, no chance. When we started the spork sessions we spent over three hours on Chapter One and only covered half the points we wanted to discuss.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at what the people involved say about this book to try and get you to read it. From Rowling’s website that is still horrible to use: …absolutely nothing, there aren’t any blurbs about the HP books as there are for her other works. Okay then.

This is the edition I have, the early UK edition (minus the award signs and so on, but this is the cover art):

philosopherstoneUK(Thank you Amazon for the image)

From the back cover:

“Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy. He lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, who make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. Then Harry starts receiving mysterious letters and his life is changed for ever. He is whisked away by a beetle-eyed giant of a man, enrols at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, learns to play Quidditch and does battle in a deadly duel. The Reason: HARRY POTTER IS A WIZARD!”

Now, this cover and blurb tell the reader two things. One, that this is a children’s book; which it is. It’s hard to pinpoint when the series makes the shift from children’s book to YA and all the problems that entails, but this one is very definitely a children’s book, aimed at probably seven to ten year olds who might be led to expect their own Hogwarts letter in a year or two. As a children’s book, the author has more leeway and certain things are more forgiveable. You can expect a certain amount of silliness and nonsense, and some unlikely plot twists to stop characters being hurt and ensure the protagonist triumphs. Just probably not as much as we actually get.

The second thing this description tells us is that the story is set in a magic school, and that said school is full of ordinary children who’ve been chosen to become wizards. A good old escapist fantasy. I really like the implication here, that the only reason Harry gets to do all these weird things is just because he’s a wizard and all children learning magic get to do crazy and wonderful things. It lets Harry be special and have an extraordinary life without crossing the line into being the Specialist Little Snowflake ever. Sadly that’s not the case in the actual series, of course, but going into this blind we get the impression that we’re going to see the normal experience of a normal student at magic school. That’s what I expected to read, and it isn’t what I got, which is somewhat disappointing.

Interestingly, the title doesn’t really fit. Most of the target audience won’t have heard of the Philosopher’s Stone (just in case any of our American readers are as ignorant as your publishers apparently think you are, it’s a legendary alchemical object that apparently generates immortality and infinite money), and while it is explained in the text later when it becomes relevant to the plot, it’s not something that the average reader is going to guess. Even if you have heard of it, as I had by the time I got around to reading these aged about thirteen, it’s hard to see how it would be relevant to a small boy going to magic school, or to the child-age audience. It wouldn’t have drawn me in and it doesn’t match what the story seems to be about. But that’s okay, it makes the reader curious.

Though it’s hard for me to comment on a first-time reader’s expectations. Not only has it been a scarily long time since I first read them, but when I did read them for the first time I had borrowed the first three books from someone at school and she would only let me have them for a weekend, so I had to speed-read all three over two days in between homework and being dragged out shopping by my parents and all the other fun things that got in the way of my free time back then. I missed a lot of the detail on that first readthrough and in hindsight I missed a lot of the problems as well.

Now for the American version. This is the edition Mitchell had:

philosopherstoneUS(Again, thank you Amazon)

From the back cover:

“Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That’s because he’s being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he’s really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.”

Well, we’ve lost any sense that Harry’s a normal magic child. The reader is deep in Specialist Little Snowflake territory before they even open the book. I think that’s a shame, personally; it’s a lot harder to identify with a snowflake than it is with an ordinary person put into an extraordinary situation, so to me the US edition loses a bit of its escapism appeal. And, as we’ll see pretty shortly, it’s very hard to be sympathetic with a snowflake who gets everything handed to him on a silver plate.

This description is also less specific about the protagonist’s age. This could be a children’s book, or it could be YA. The cover art suggests children are the target audience, but it’s not as immediately obvious as the UK blurb. If you went into this series expecting YA straight off… the first chapter alone would probably be enough to make you abandon it. The first book does have a lot of Roald Dahl-esque silliness you can’t get away with if you’re writing for older audiences.

The title has the same issue of apparently having nothing to do with the story being described. With the additional small problem of nobody knowing what a sorcerer’s stone is, because it doesn’t exist. The Internet can’t seem to give me a definitive answer on why the title was changed, but the consensus seems to be that ‘sorcerer’ sounds more exciting and magical than ‘philosopher’. Admittedly that’s not a bad reason at all, especially in a children’s book, but that only underscores my earlier point that the title itself doesn’t make too much sense. It’s fine in later books when you know going in that the title will be referencing an important plot point you won’t learn about until half way through the book, but as a way to draw new readers in and persuade them to look at it, this one lacks something.

Also we see very little of the “unique curriculum and colorful faculty“. Rowling managed to write a series about life at a magic school while including as little as possible of the actual school. Given how she portrays the parts she does include, this is probably just as well…

Anyway, that’s all we can learn from looking at the outside of the books. Let’s open them and turn to Chapter One, shall we?


Posted by on September 22, 2014 in loten, mitchell


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

33 responses to “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone: Introduction

  1. All-I-need

    September 22, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    This is me, freely admitting that I’m bouncing on my seat in happy anticipation. I feel like someone in the audience of a theatre, waiting for the curtain to rise after the initial trailers and commercials are over.
    I agree that the UK blurb makes Harry sound less like the Harry-Sue he really is while the US version is actually over the top with the specialness. “Noble destiny” please. There’s nothing noble about wars, and certainly not about being an awkward teenager with a pendant for charging head-first into danger without thinking about the consequences.

    Since I’m from Germany, I felt compelled to take a look at the German blurb. Since I’m currently living in Edinburgh and don’t have my German editions with me, I got the blurb from Amazon, but it’s the same as on my book at home. In case you’re interested in that kind of thing, I’ve translated it for you:

    “Harry actually thought he was a normal boy. At least until his eleventh birthday. That’s when he learns that he is to attend the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy. Why? Because Harry is a wizard. And just like that Harry’s first year at school becomes the most thrilling, exciting and fun year of his life. He stumbles from one adventure into the next incredible one, having to fight monsters, classmates and legendary creatures. It’s a good thing he has already found friends who stand by him in the fight against the dark forces.”

    I have to admit that I kind of like the way they are already hinting at Voldemort and the main drive of the plot here without revealing too much, but still manage to make it sound suitable for children. And he doesn’t sound nearly as special as in either the UK or US version – not the abused lonely boy, but also not the obvious hero with a special destiny awaiting him.


    • Loten

      September 23, 2014 at 7:15 am

      Oh yes, that sounds a lot better. Especially since they felt no need to invoke the Dursleys and how EEEEEEVIL they are. No wonder I encounter so many German fans, you got the series presented to you far more sensibly!

      • All-I-need

        September 23, 2014 at 3:38 pm

        That’s true, but we do get some very weird or unnecessary mistakes in the translations – there are entire websites dedicated to finding and complaining about them, actually. That said, the translation is still better than it could have been.

  2. Derived Absurdity

    September 22, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Hey, commenting for the first time to say how excited I am for this project! I’ve been getting into Harry Potter sporks only recently and stumbled on this website out of accident looking for some new ones. All the sporks I’ve been able to read are like five years old. Which is fine, but I’m excited to be able to finally take part in some discussions as they’re taking place! There’s currently a re-read of the series taking place on Tor, but I don’t really want to get involved with it as they’re mostly a bunch of unapologetic HP fans over there and I would probably get annoyed fairly quickly.

    Anyway, as for the titles… isn’t the problem less with the titles and more with the blurbs, at least when it comes to describing the main story? Because it seems to be the title of this book is accurately describing the story pretty well – the main plot and conflict is more about the Philosopher’s Stone and less about him learning how to be a wizard (that seems to be mostly setup). So it’s really the blurbs that don’t really fit the story very well.

    In fact it’s interesting to note – and I’m not the first one to do so – that the first three books of this series are the only books whose titles actually match up with the plot. The titles of the first three books accurately describe what they’re about. In contrast, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” is not about the Goblet of Fire, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” is not about the Order of the Phoenix, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is not about the Half-Blood Prince (in fact that book doesn’t even seem to have much of a main plot), and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” is not about the Deathly Hallows. I have no idea why she chose titles which had very little to do with what the books are about, but I think it’s kind of funny.

    “Also we see very little of the “unique curriculum and colorful faculty“. Rowling managed to write a series about life at a magic school while including as little as possible of the actual school.”

    Oh yes, this. We have very little clue about how the magical school actually works. Or really, what they’re taught, or what they even do all day. What do they even do to pass the time? What does their homework consist of? It’s funny how we spend six books in the mind of a student at a school with the specific function of teaching how magic works, and yet seven books later we still have no damn clue how magic works. What are the rules? Doesn’t magic have some kind of system to it? Some structure? Some limits? It’d have to, otherwise how could people control it?

    I like how the narrator said this once Harry got the school: “There was a lot more to magic, as Harry quickly found out, than waving your wand and saying a few funny words.”

    When in fact, um, that seems to be literally exactly how most magic in this world works. Mostly, you literally just point your wand and say stuff. How exactly do they need entire classes for that? What is their homework for, say, Charms or Transfiguration? What makes these classes difficult? Do they just practice aiming the entire time? Does magic take brainpower or willpower or strength of character, or what? It would have been nice if we were given answers to any of this. Any fantasy series worth a damn would have at least explained to some extent how their fantasy system works, but Rowling didn’t even make a token effort here. She didn’t really think her world out at all.

    Anyway, sorry if I’m being too wordy! I’m just excited to be able to discuss my contempt for this series with other people in real-time, that’s all!

    • Loten

      September 23, 2014 at 7:27 am

      I think you’re going to fit right in around here. We like wordy! And your comment on the magic system couldn’t be more perfect – that’s where the title of this blog comes from. Point Stick Say Word is exactly how 90% of all Potterverse magic works. Mitchell and I have tried many times to work out what else we have going on in these books, and haven’t managed to make anything coherent out of it.

      I don’t blame you for avoiding the Tor re-read either, I have no time for any sporker who can’t acknowledge a single problem with the thing they’re sporking.

      You’re right about the blurbs being more misleading than the titles; I’m trying to imagine a new blind reader going into the series, and the blurb provides more information about the story than the title does. The reader won’t realise that the blurb is wrong for a while yet.

      As for the titles of the others, there really is no saving Goblet of Fire; though I suppose you could argue that if Crouch hadn’t tricked the Goblet in the first place none of the rest of the book could have happened (oh dear what a shame that would have been), so in that sense it was the first main plot point. Order of the Phoenix SHOULD have been about the Order, and might have been about them if they weren’t so incompetent (no seriously what were they actually doing for the entire book? Or the entire war, come to that?). Half-Blood Prince gets a pass from me since Snape deserves to have a book named after him, even if he does get stuck with the worst one of the series and it’s not actually about him. And Deathly Hallows sounded better than the much more honest “Harry Potter and the Deus Ex Machina From Nowhere That Means No Plot Resolution is Necessary”, though it’s definitely the worst title.

  3. JoWrites

    September 23, 2014 at 5:16 am

    So is the first chapter going to be in multiple posts? I’m excited either way. I like sporking, but I prefer the actual critical look at books as well. A lot of sporks I’ve read are just really silly and over the top. From what I’ve seen so far on this blog, I’ll be liking what you say on this.

    • Loten

      September 23, 2014 at 7:29 am

      Probably not, we’re hoping to stick to one post per chapter, at least at first; the chapters are fairly short, luckily. Some of the more problematic chapters might well run to multiple posts, it depends how much we have to say about each one.

  4. SoxyOutfoxing

    September 23, 2014 at 5:32 am

    The UK blurb is terrible in so many ways.

    Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy whose Aunt and Uncle make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs? Did no one look at those two sentences and realise they contradict each other, unless we’re meant to think Harry thinks its ordinary to sleep under the stairs, which he doesn’t? It isn’t even ordinary to live with your aunt and uncle! Why does the blurb have Petunia, Vernon, and Dudley’s names in it? Children will want to read this book because the main character is related to someone called Dudley! They describe Hagrid as beetle-eyed! What’s with all the irrelevant information?

    I’m not usually this exclamatory, but the urge to red pen that thing to death is hard to contain.

    Interestingly, it’s the American one that thought kids would be repulsed by “philosopher” uses words like “illustrious birthright,” “curriculum,” and “faculty,” as well as longer sentences altogether. I’m going to agree with All-I-need, that German blurb is better.

    I was about seven when I read the first two. My grandparents gave me the fancy American hardcover editions, and blurbs meant so little to me then that I got about half-way through the second one before I realised “Oh hey, the other one came first.” Unfortunately I have long since lost the dust-jackets, though I suppose it was the same American blurb.

    Anyway, I am very excited for more of this. Good luck with your time!

    • Loten

      September 23, 2014 at 7:33 am

      It is pretty terrible, but in its own particular style of terrible – they’re imitating the blurbs of a certain style of children’s book. I don’t want to keep invoking Roald Dahl but it’s the kind of description a lot of his books got in the UK, complete with unnecessary side character names and irrelevant descriptions. Given that the opening of the book also imitates that kind of story, you can’t really blame them. Still, given that and the odd wordiness of the American version, I too agree that the German one is a lot better.

  5. Gowan

    September 23, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Actually, I like Roald-Dahl-esque sillyness, even as an adult. I’m one of the, it seems very few, people who liked the first chapter. (Yup, I still read Roald Dahl children’s books occasionally)
    You have a point, of course, in that it is not consistent with the darker themes of the rest of the series.

    • Loten

      September 23, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      You might like it a little less once we get our post about it up… we found two very large problems with it that we weren’t expecting to find and hadn’t noticed before. As for myself, I liked it well enough, but it did create expectations for the rest of the story that just didn’t happen, the mood shift was too abrupt for me personally, particularly with Dumbledore’s later characterisation.

  6. All-I-need

    September 23, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    Seeing as you all seem to like the German blurb so much, I am hereby offering to translate the others as well once you reach the respective books in your re-read. It’ll be good practice for me (I’m studying for an MSc in Translation) and probably quite interesting to do comparisons between different language editions. Only if you’re interested, of course.

    • Loten

      September 24, 2014 at 3:45 pm

      That sounds good to me, thank you 🙂 Did they alter many of the characters’ names in the German books? I know the French and Danish translations changed a few…

      • All-I-need

        September 24, 2014 at 10:07 pm

        Not really, no. They translated Sirius’ surname in the first edition of Prisoner of Azkaban, but in all the later editions and books 4-7 his name is “Black” instead of “Schwarz”. That was pointless and confusing at any rate, so I’m glad they changed it.

  7. angelicfayth

    September 23, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    The Canadian Back cover is even shorter (Although I have the alt cover with a different design for Dumbledore so it may or may not make a difference) it says,

    “Harry Potter thinks he is an Ordinary boy – until he is rescued by an owl, taken to Hogwarts, learns to play Quiddich and does battle in a deadly duel. The reason: HARRY POTTER IS A WIZARD!”

    So even briefer (and arguably more confusing and less informative) than the UK and US blurb, although Canadians apparently don’t need to have the title changed since we know it here as Philosophers stone (and being 19 when I first started reading the series I already knew what a philosophers stone was…). Admittedly when I saw the “Sorcerers Stone” title for the first time it did throw me.

    I was late in the game when I started reading the books, the series was introduced to me after the 4th book had already been published and a friend at the time lent all 4 to me for a few weeks to read. I was told don’t judge the covers they are a little silly but the stories themselves get darker as things progress so I ignored the whimsy of the covers and just dove right in as it were. In hindsight I’m rather glad that I had it introduced to me that way, if I had been looking for something new to read and saw the first book alone I might have discounted it because visually speaking it didn’t have the awesome artwork I’m used to looking at for a fantasy piece.

    I will say the cover art doesn’t sell me, it would certainly appeal to a young reader age group but is the story inside young reader material? … I could digress at large (very large) on how cover art is what draws the customer to your story and ultimately what help sell it but I wont because I don’t think you want to read ad nauseam on that, and it probably would bore you all to tears.

    Although can someone tell me why there is an 86 page difference between the UK (& CAN) copies of the book and the US…is it different or larger font cause that makes no sense to me otherwise

    Good Lord I’m being wordy again ><

    Thank you Loten and Mitchell for thinking, implementing and, ultimately sharing these posts with us. I look forward to the next one (is it sad and/or wrong that I have plot-holes saved up for this?)

    • Loten

      September 24, 2014 at 3:49 pm

      So the Canadian version is the UK version but with parts missing? Well, okay then. Personally I would have enjoyed seeing Harry being rescued by an owl. Must have been a bloody strong owl.

      Facetiousness aside, you’re right that the cover art doesn’t do a lot to sell the books. I’ve considered buying the ‘adult’ covers they brought out after about book 5 just because they look nicer, but the new trend of super-minimalist fantasy book covers annoys me.

      I have no idea why there would be a page difference. To my knowledge all that was changed in the US version was a few words e.g. ‘jumper’ to ‘sweater’, and obviously removing lots of inoffensive Is and Us. If anyone does know the answer, please enlighten us.

      Not at all, add your plothole collection to ours as we go along 🙂

      • Fayth

        September 27, 2014 at 1:27 am

        *snerk* Harry being carried off by an owl…now that’s an amusing mental image

        I have to admit over the course of all the books the adult covers don’t do anything for me, the kids covers are more entertaining to look at and while I agree the trend of super minimalist cover art is irksome, I don’t absolutely hate the signature editions of the books with the white cover and the simplistic art on it (I think its kinda cute in it’s own weird way).The biggest problem I have with the first cover specifically (aside from setting the expectation way to low as to how involved and mature things are) is that it has a rough unfinished look to it and I really don’t like the style the artist used. I like the kids covers in general from then on. Although if I could transpose the cover art I like most on to my books, I’d choose the 15th anniversary scholastic covers, since I like the style and the the overall feel to them a whole lot more…although the Swedish covers aren’t bad to took at either.

        I understand that US spelling drops a lot of U’s but I’s?…. that’s a new one for me…I cant do a word count comparison since, although I can find the US word count easily there isn’t a corresponding one for the UK …although I did find that the US books have an artistic chapter header but I cannot imagine it would take up THAT much space even if allotted an entire page for it….

      • Loten

        September 27, 2014 at 6:28 am

        They don’t drop many Is, but things like ‘aluminium’ get slurred to ‘aluminum’. That’s actually the only example I can think of off the top of my head, but I haven’t had my morning coffee yet.

    • liminal fruitbat

      September 24, 2014 at 9:28 pm

      I think that was the same blurb they used for the UK audiobook, though I couldn’t say for certain. (I can, however, state with confidence that the audiobook for Chamber of Secrets claims that Harry is fast becoming one of Hogwarts’ star pupils, which doesn’t really require further comment…)

      Very happy to have found this blog, incidentally!

      • Loten

        September 25, 2014 at 7:40 am

        I need to get hold of the audiobooks at some point. Stephen Fry makes everything better. “Star pupils”? Well, he’s a Gryffindor, that’s probably the only qualification…

  8. DawnM

    September 23, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    Good idea, looking at the blurbs! Here is one time when judging a book by its cover is a worthwhile thing to do.

    SoxyOutFoxing paragraph 2 – my thoughts exactly (except well phrased and coherently organized). How does any of that count as “ordinary”?

    The American blurb is interesting. In my mind, it plays to the stereotype that Americans all think they are exceptional, not ordinary. As though the marketing blurb-writer thinks that an American child doesn’t want to identify with an “ordinary boy” in an extraordianary situation, the American child wants to identify with “secretly famous”, “illustrious birth” and “noble destiny”.

    • Loten

      September 24, 2014 at 3:53 pm

      Hmm, you could be right, though I’m not sure that’s an American stereotype so much as it is a young-adult stereotype given the rapidly escalating tendency towards utter Sue characters in books these days. If MItchell has time he might be able to comment with more authority. 🙂

      • SoxyOutfoxing

        September 25, 2014 at 2:05 pm

        The majority of those books are written by American authors, though. I think DawnM is right that it’s a cultural difference, though I’m not saying English writing is less suey, just that they do sues a little differently. I’m from New Zealand, where we have certain elements of British culture going on, and you definitely don’t call yourself special. I grew up when the self-esteem thing was pretty dominant in child-rearing, and I still learnt quickly at school that you don’t praise anything about yourself or your own work, ever. And if anyone says you’re good at something, you should always contradict them. My father is American, was forcibly moved to New Zealand when he was eleven, and he says that it used to make him feel physically sick hearing the way New Zealanders put themselves down, simply because he was used to people doing the exact opposite.

        I actually think JK does what I’m talking about, being British. The narrative may treat Harry as the speshullest one to ever get chosen, but I don’t remember him ever admitting to being good at anything besides flying. Even that he did in about a self-deprecating way as possible, whereas American-YA-Sues tend to tell you how awesome they are at great length, or at least strongly imply how much better they are than everyone around them. (Fortunately JK can just have Hermione tell Harry how awesome he is, and we have to believe her, since she’s Miss Exposition. Where would we be if Hermione was wrong about things?)

        It’s basically two different sorts of Sue. One is far too aware of their inherent superiority, and the other needs constant reassurance or it will die, (but is still inherently superior).

        The blurb thing is probably a result of deeply internalised social attitudes, though. I doubt anyone was actually thinking “Yuck, who wants to read about an ordinary kid, and hey, wouldn’t they be disappointed by this book if they did?” It’s just in that in America, ordinary is a concept low in the pecking order, whereas in Britain it’s the most one can aspire to be (out loud). 😀

  9. Aby Ceedle

    September 25, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Hi !
    First time I dare to post a comment here… I’m not really at ease with English, so I refrained to post (and I hope you’ll excuse my mistakes), but I love your insight on those books, and I wanted to make a little contribution this time 🙂

    In French, the first book is titled « Harry Potter at the wizards’ school ».
    I think I like it a lot more than the UK and US versions : it’s not specific so we did not have any clue on what Hagrid retrieve from the vault when we first read the book, and somehow it seems to me more appealing to a child with this general concept of a magic school (because it’s basically an improved version of what they’re living every day and they easily can relate to that). But I am obviously biased here..

    With the blurb, it’s an other story. You can’t begin to relate to Harry, because the snowflake syndrom is back with a vengeance:

    « On his eleventh birthday, Harry Potter, an orphan raised by an uncle and an aunt who hate him, sees his life being turned upside down. A giant comes to get him to Hogwarts, the famous witchcraft school, where a place has always waited for him. From flying on brooms, to casting spells and fighting the Trolls : Harry Potter turns out to be a really gifted wizard. But what mystery surrounds his birth and who is the frightful V…, the wizard whom no one dares to say the name ? »

    If I had to sum up this, it would be: “Poor Harry is super special but doesn’t know it. Someone, at last, extracts him from his miserable life so he can become a über wizard.”

    There’s plenty of flaws here but I like that they introduce Voldemort from the start. After all he IS important, there would be no stories without him.

    However, as I say, the flaws are numerous:
    We already learn Harry is an orphan. Would’n that be bad enough on the sad side? No! in addition, his relatives hate him. They must be real monsters, right?
    That’s it for evil muggles even before we open the book.

    Another thing, perhaps not that important, but I also remember, as a little girl, to have waited for « the Trolls » as in an epic battle with lot of them when it was really just a scuffle in the bathroom… and come to think of it, there’s no mystery about Harry’s birth either.. Oh, well…

    • Loten

      September 26, 2014 at 8:05 am

      Welcome aboard 🙂 That’s really interesting, it does seem to be the French version that’s changed most. I like the alternative title, though as you said the blurb has the same problems the others do.

  10. Gowan

    September 26, 2014 at 9:41 am

    I have found something to comfort me in case I abhor the Harry Potter series after reading your criticism of it: Apparently a conservative Christian has “rewritten” Harry Potter to make it “Christian”

    No matter how bad Harry Potter is with respect to writing style and misogyny and stuff, this is waaaay worse. (I suspect it’s a parody, but you can never be sure.)

    • Loten

      September 27, 2014 at 6:25 am

      Someone should really point out to her that parts of the series are about as Christian as you can get already. I hope it’s a parody, but nothing surprises me on the Internet any more…

  11. DawnM

    September 27, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    I forgot to ask – In what way is Hogwarts supposed to be “infamous”? That’s just weird. Sure, when we get into later books we learn all about student deaths and etc., but that’s not present in book 1.

    • Loten

      September 27, 2014 at 4:29 pm

      I assume it was purely because whoever wrote it didn’t want to use ‘famous’ twice and wasn’t clear on the difference between them. Or else it’s a nifty bit of foreshadowing telling everyone what Hogwarts is actually like 😛

  12. Paddfoot

    October 9, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    I am so glad I decided to follow your link from your fan-fic profile. I loved Post Tenebras Lux and Chasing the Sun.

    I’m eager to contribute comments on these books. Unfortunately I can’t say much about the introductions that has not already been said. Although when reading the series I skipped right over it.

    As for the titles? As an American, who started the series in the 6th grade, I was so confused on what a Sorcerer’s Stone was. I was actually familiar with the Philosopher’s Stone due to it popping up in other stories. I would have much rather prefered the UK title.

    • Loten

      October 9, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      Welcome aboard. We’re hoping to have the Chapter One post up this weekend, with luck 🙂

  13. Jean Lamb

    October 12, 2014 at 1:00 am

    Waves hi–found this just by going to your profile. I have a mixed collection of the books–the sixth book I have is Canadian (I was heading back to the resort from the Calgary Stampede, a fairly well known rodeo, and stopped at a Safeway store, knowing the book was out, and seeing Amazing Stacks of it everywhere, and spending that night shrieking over it. The rest of my copies are US paperback for the first three, US hardbound for 4 and 5, Canadian as I mentioned for 6, and US hardbound again for DH. I started reading it when it first came out (a couple of different times I used the new Potter book as reading between people coming through whichever Haunted House I was sucked into performing in, which worked out pretty well, really).

  14. Only Some Stardust

    October 16, 2014 at 11:48 pm

    I actually like the American blurb a bit, but then I’m American. I started reading it as a little kid, like not even 11 yet little, and the only other fantasy story I had read so far was the ‘Hobbit’, unless you also count Matilda. I so failed at reading comprehension I thought Professor Snape was a woman just because he reminded me of Ms. Trunchbull. For me and probably other kids, ‘special snowflake’ was something entirely new! You think you’re ordinary, but you find out you’re really a wizard with a secret past? Cool! How does one deal with that? It also sounded more interesting to me than if he was just some normal wizard; if he was unusual, then that suggested a plot, whereas if he just spent his time poking around at a wizarding school that would have bored me. I actually bought a book years later that was about ‘witches in school’ that focused on the school part, and oh gods did that bore me to tears. That said, it does lay the whole thing down rather thick; infamous school and noble destiny, really?

    The title didn’t bother me; I assumed it would be part of the plot at some point and looked forward to it.

    And the British blurb would have annoyed me – oh really, the reason he goes to a wizard school and does wizardy things is that he’s a wizard? Never would have guessed! But I don’t think it would have made enough of a difference to stop me from picking it up.


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