Friday, September 30, 2005

Harry Potter et le Prince de Sang-Mêlé

Well, you probably wouldn't have credited me as a reader of Harry Potter books, but in fact I've read all of the Harry Potter tomes apart from the last one which I'm currently about half way through. I started reading them to my daughter when she was about four. We had to catch up on about three books, and then ever since we have been reading them as and when they appear in the bookshops. The last copy was delivered to our house in Paris at 1 o'clock in the morning (not my arrangement!) by a neighbour who had been into the centre of Paris to a special Harry Potter launch event at the WHSmiths on Rue de Rivoli.

The '20 Minutes' news magazine that I pick up free every morning at the station had a big cover advert today for the forthcoming 'Harry Potter et le Prince de Sang-Mêlé' which is due out in the shops tomorrow, the 1st October. It's almost as big a deal in France as in the UK. The large publisher, Gallimard, owe 7% of their total book sales to Harry Potter. 17 million copies of earlier volumes have been sold in France and Gallimard have ordered a first edition run of 2 million copies.

The cover of the French book is somewhat more sombre than the British version: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It has almost an academic quality to it. Perhaps that is a reflection of the seriousness with which the French treat magic, mythology and all things astrological. French bookshops will often have a large section devoted to these subjects, really quite a contrast to the more science-oriented British bookshop. In the French version, Harry goes to school at Poudlard rather than Hogwarts. I guess 'Hogwarts' doesn't invoke much in French readers. I wonder how the snotty French character translates in the French version? Perhaps she becomes German... Or even English!

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