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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading "Harry Potter" in the Original English is Better, 7 Jun. 2004
This review is from: Harry Potter Hardback Box Set: Five Volumes (Hardcover)
I am an American. I have already read all of the American version "Harry Potter" series of books, and have appreciated how the characters and the writing increased in complexity with each volume. (I am also beginning to wonder if the last few books are going to be able to be used as doorstops or lethal weapons if dropped on someone from on high....) I also knew that we Americans had been dealt an unfortunate hand when the publisher decided to name the first book, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" instead of "...the Philosopher's Stone." Oh! the frenzied arguments in churches we have endured!
I tend to read voraciously and without stop when the story and characters are well-written. I had noticed a lack of "Britishisms" but chalked it up to it being a children's book written for an international audience. However, when I read aloud to my husband on a road trip, the process is slower, and things come to my attention that usually escape my notice during my silent reading. I became very suspicious when some things began to sound "American." I finally hit the roof when I read about when the Captain of the Quidditch team, Wood, was showing Harry the sport's equipment. The book I was reading indicated that he picked up something that looked like "a baseball bat"! I learned that the American version had been wiped clean of "Britishisms" and the language had been changed to include "Americanisms."
I am 41-years-old and have a doctorate, but I know that most children here in the United States have managed to read C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia without needing it to be "translated" for them. I read it without difficulty as a child. We have many people who still read the KJV of the Bible, for goodness sake! And Shakespeare is studied and performed in the original. So, I was pleased to find out about amazon.co.uk and promptly ordered the entire Harry Potter set "in the original" English.
I now enjoy the series even more (and I have the beautiful phoenix cover on the last book instead of the mysterious blue cover). In addition, I no longer have the feeling that something is just not quite right with these children - that they don't seem to be British. After reading books that were never "translated" into "American," it just sounded too strange to read "Harry Potter" that way. I find that reading it the way it was originally written gives me a better sense of what is occurring. (Certainly, it may have created less of a crisis if the first book's title had been left alone!)
I can hardly wait until the next book is published, and you can be certain that I will be purchasing it "in the original" English.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Oct 2009, 23:50:37 BST
Wow, an American that prefers to read the original "British" books... and has even done the research to know that the books have been changed from their original state. I salute you! I had no idea your Harry Potter books were so changed. :(
It has always puzzled me why there's this huge stigma attached to us Brits when it comes to being marketed across your side of the pond. I mean, most of our successful TV series are re-made for American audiences, even though it was the American interest in the British show that brought it to attention in the first place! Why does American always feel the need to re-brand anything good as their own? And the producers come up with some reason like that our "British-isms" and terms are hard for the American audience to understand? I find that opinion a little insulting to us, but more so to Americans; as anybody who doesn't understand something will usually go out of their way to look it up in an attempt to understand it better. In the UK, we've been so exposed to American TV that we are pretty accustomed to most American terms, phrases, and different accents now. We don't alter American books to the Queen's English upon their marketing for this country. And we don't re-make American films so the British can "get it" better. I think this "shrinkwrapping" of America can be summed up in the printing house's copyrighted legal jargon found at the start of most American books, which says something like: "... and for the world outside the United States of America". Yup. America is it's own self-proclaimed, selective world. Shame, really. But it's people like you, DeeAnne, who do recognise that there is a world outside of it... and that some of our exports are pretty damned good in their original unaltered state! :)

Thank you for your review.
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