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I have read the reviews and I agree with the article.
I disagree, however, with the top review, mentioning that they didn't know the British meaning for "Philosopher" and therefore wouldn't enjoy the book.
I was 5 when I read the book - or had it read to me, in any case. Whether I read it to myself or not makes no difference. The story and the text remains the same and the key point to pull out of this is that you don't need to understand the word. You don't even need to be able to understand the title. The way I saw it at 5, was there was a Stone. It was called the Philosopher's Stone. That was its name. Its like saying "What does Emily mean?" you don't question it because you think, know or believe it is a name. And I wasn't a nerdy 5 year old. I just loved reading. They couldn't predict its popularity, thats true. But no more so could they predict its British popularity either - and it was very popular, with the ORIGINAL name.
To use a cliche, hindsight is 20/20. Now we can say that it wouldn't have made a difference if the title had been changed, but we really don't know for certain one way or another and I can't blame the publishers for suggesting it. JKR did not have to listen to them, although she may have felt like it at the time.
I do agree that we lose out the point behind the whole thing with the title change-- Philosopher's Stones are "real" things in mythology, after all-- but I can't say for certain that I would've picked up the first book as a 9-year old, and I was an exceptionally nerdy fourth grader.
Also, the differences between British English and American English can be confusing. At nine, I was wearing an American jumper as my school uniform, if Ron and Harry had been given jumpers, I would have been very confused and my parents wouldn't have known what it meant either.
No one had any idea how popular these books would be. They did the right thing later, when they stopped altering the books for American audiences, but to retroactively change it back to the British version would be pointless in a world when you can just order it online if you really want it.
I have to disagree. You do make a lot of good points, but I think you need an American's input. When I was 11, I had no idea what the "British" word for Philosopher meant. I certainly understand it now, but at the time, I was 11. My parents bought me a book about a Sorcerer and I was really excited to read it, because reading about a Sorcerer sounded like a great read when I was 11 (and today as well).
Another point I'd like to make is that no one really knows how quickly the first book would have spread in the US if it had retained its' original title. Would the movies exist as we know them today? Or would no one have picked up the book here in the first place? No one really knows for sure.
There are many differences in our language and yet, it is the same language . You also can't make the statement that no other country changed the name. Most of the other countries in the world speak a completely different language. Can you say with 100% certainty that ever language in the world has a word for Philosopher and that if they did, they used it in the title?
I own both sets of books and audio books and have listened to and read both versions. I enjoy both versions, but I think it is a little reckless to say it shouldn't have been changed. We have no way of knowing what would have happened had it stayed the same.
I think a major point you missed is that the Philosopher's stone is an historical thing. Throughout history, numerous alchemists tried to create this mythological stone that was supposed to turn lead into gold. Nicholas Flamel was one of those alchemists...he was a real person! To change a name of historical significance just because it might sell more books is extremely unfortunate. I especially can't believe that American children wouldn't read a book simply because of one word. It's pathetic really.
I think it's also interesting to note how many less "Briticisms" there are in the fist 3 books compared to the last 3. Words like "snogging" and "take the mickey" aren't really used in the first few U.S. editions. Frankly, if I'm reading a book by a British author, about a school in Britain, I want it to sound British!
That was awesome I never thought about it to much!!
We've talked a lot about where the curse of unicorn blood comes from, but just what exactly is the curse?! That's what this Quibble seeks to find out!
I'm back with more of my thoughts and questions that I had while re-reading the Harry Potter books. This time from Chapters 1 & 2 of Chamber of Secrets.
I pair up characters with magical creatures that are like them.
In which I try to explain my views on prejudice in the Wizarding world, and connect it to certain areas of the muggle world as well. The category is Fantastic Beats and Where to...
This is an essay I wrote for school comparing and contrasting the lives of Harry and Voldemort. It starts with their childhoods and continues until the end of the books.