The first Harry Potter is the one that started it all. Since Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone were first published by Bloomsbury publishers in London, the world has not quite remained the same. Things have changed since 1997, when that first volume was published. The world of Harry Potter is now so familiar to us, sometimes it seems as if we can hop on the Hogwarts Express and visit that magical place ourselves. Words such as "muggle" and "hogwarts" are no longer unusual, but instead invoke a whole slew of secret and magical places. If you are familiar with the phenomenon that is Harry Potter, you have probably already visited with the first volume in the seven volume series: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. But did you know that there are several differences between the United Kingdom version and the American versions?
It's true, and perhaps the biggest difference between the two different country editions is the title of the book. In the United Kingdom and other countries, the book was titled the original Harry Potter and the Philosopherâ€™s Stone. However, when the publishers were preparing to release the book for American audiences, the title was changed to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Why were the title changed in such a seemingly small, subtle, yet definitely obvious way? Apparently, it appears that the publishers feared that North American audiences would find the word "philosopher" in the original title objectionable. Some argue that the publisher's believed that North American audiences were simply not interested in reading anything with the word "philosopher" in the title. Were they right? Are North Americans truly turned off by anything that appears to have anything to do with philosophy? Were the publishers of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone underestimated North American audiences? The truth is that no one will ever know, unless it would be possible to turn back the hands of time and see for ourselves.
There are also many other less noticeable differences between the two different country editions. Many critics and close readers have made it a kind of sport in finding the differences between American and United Kingdom versions. There are many small differences that close readers and Harry fanatics have found. Most of these differences have to do with the substitution of simple words and idiomatic expressions. For instance, many slang phrases were translated as it were to make sense to North American readers of the novel. Many readers, including the creator of the Harry Potter book series, JK Rowling, have expressed disillusionment with some of the changes that have been made.
For instance, JK Rowling has expressed disappointment that the title of the first Harry Potter book was changed for North American audiences. She has said that she went along with the change because it was her first published book and she did not want to raise a fuss. She felt incredibly fortunate simply for being published, and she did not want to raise the ire of her publishers. Ironically, her publishing history has been so incredibly successful that she can now demand nearly any type of clause in new publishing contracts.
Many of the differences between the American and United Kingdom versions of the first Harry Potter novel have to do with simple spelling changes. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone were completely revised so that all words were 'Americanized.' For instance all the "colours" were changed to "colors" and so on. Rowling and some fans have also expressed some disappointment over these changes, arguing that it lessens the Britishness of the novel, and the authenticity of its language and culture.
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