Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The perks of reading Harry Potter in French.

Bonjour! As a few of you will no doubt know, I've just swanned back into HPFF land from France after a well-earned (money-wise as well as energy-wise) holiday. Me and my mum ended up staying in an apartment for the week, and the guy who owned it left a bookcase full of books and DVDs should we get bored. Being a bookworm, I already had ten books with me and I'm not much of a film person, so I ignored his advice...

...until I saw a book with the spine Harry Potter et la Chambre des Secrets.

As you might imagine from an avid HP fanatic and an ex-GCSE french student, I spent a lot of the week glued to it. Hogwarts is called Poudlard, and many readers will be surprised to find that Pomfrey becomesPomfresh, Filch becomes Rusard and Moaning Myrtle becomes Mimi Geiganarde. Draco Malfoy also turns into a rather flamboyant Drago Malefoy! Interestingly, Malfoy is french for 'Bad Faith'.

Happily, I did understand the majority of the book, even though I couldn't make head nor tail of the local newspaper. Here are three really interesting (and amusing) facts about French HP:

1. They had to change Voldemort's name to 'Tom Elvis Jedusor' to make the anagram of 'Je suis Lord Voldemort' work.
Fact. Am I the only one that isn't tickled by the thought of Riddle having 'Elvis' as a middle name? I though 'Evils' might have had more evil-ly oomph, but now I've seen the Elvis thing I've just got images of Voldemort in Rhinestones cranking out Heartbreak Hotel with a backing band of Death Eaters.

2. A wand made of bread.
The word 'baguette' in french basically means 'stick', so it was used as the word for wand (which does make sense.) I couldn't help laughing though, especially at the scene where Ron gets his wand snapped after they crash-land the Anglia. The basic translation, to me, read like 'Oh no! I've broken my baguette!' Plus there were gems like 'Ron brandished his baguette' and so forth.

3. A hat of choice.
This is the best word-play I've seen all year. The french sorting hat is called the Choixpeau. This is a combination of 'choix' - choice, and 'chapeau' - hat. So it's like a choice hat! Ahha, sorry, I thought that was very cool indeed.

He-who-must-not-be-named translated very oddly into french. It was really, really long.It was a good read!

If you like languages, definitely give it a go, seeing as HP is translated in about every language across the globe. French is good fun to read (:

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