Jake

Whoa we're doing a Harry Potter podcast?

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The first movie is a bloated 2 1/2 - 3 hours that really drags starting at ~Christmas and continues until the very end. I will likely never watch the non-wizard people movie again.

I think Brad Neely is a comedic genius.

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oh, someone on the Internet mentioned Wizard People?!?

Wizard People is my favorite piece of comedy in any form or medium, ever.

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If we're talking ages, I was in high school when the first book was published, but I didn't read it immediately. I worked for a library all through high school, and I think our childrens' librarian at the time said I should check it out. I was probably around 18 at that point, so I actually read most of the books in college or shortly after. I didn't read a lot of YA before (or after), though, so I have almost no picture of what that scene was like.

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I have no strong memories of reading the first book. Looks like I was in high school when it came out, and while my much younger brother was really into the whole series I didn't pick up the first one until I was looking to pass the time on a short plane trip in college. I think I read the first on the way down and then the second on the way back, and while I thought they were fine for blowing a few hours, I wasn't really compelled to pick up the others. However, I DO have much stronger memories of the second time I picked them up and blew through books 1-5 in about 4 days. I had just graduated college and while I had a job, I'd pushed my start date back a month so that I could have a bit of a break. Unfortunately, I was so broke that I had to ask my roommate if I could pay him for rent and food after I started working. With nothing else to do but not wanting to start work, I sat around and read books. And it was awesome. I had loved reading through high school, but reading for pleasure completely stopped in college. The Harry Potter books are what got me back into reading and I will forever have fond memories of them if only for that reason (also, they're really fun reads).

 

Now I've got a 4yo daughter who I desperately want to start the series with. I purchased the illustrated version of the first book right when it came out just in case it went out of print before my daughter was old enough. We can't start it yet, though. The books get pretty dark, and while the first one probably isn't too bad, I know that once we finish the first she's (or at least I am) going to want to move onto the second, and then the third, etc. So we wait. Maybe reading and following along with this podcast will hold me over for a few more years.

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I read the first book during a sleepover at a friend's house when I was 14 year old (this was 1999, when the Icelandic translation came out). I hadn't really been into books at all, at the time. But my friend recommended it to me (or his mother did, I don't remember) and I was so hooked I stayed up all night reading it. I remember being absolutely mesmerised by the introductory stuff with Hagrid and Diagon Alley.

 

When I finished it I was so excited to find out that the second and third book were already out in English so, feeling comfortable enough in my English at the time, I had my parents order them both and burned through them way too fast.

 

Man, reading the Wikipedia entry, I would've already seen the first movie after reading Goblet of Fire.. That is some intense Harry Potter-ing for a period of my life.

 

When is this podcast out?! :tup:

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The books get pretty dark, and while the first one probably isn't too bad, I know that once we finish the first she's (or at least I am) going to want to move onto the second, and then the third, etc. So we wait

I think the idea when they were initially published was that they'd come out once a year so the original readers would age along with Harry and pals, so the writing and themes get darker/more emo as the series goes on. If you can both bear it, perhaps you could give them to and/ or read them with her annually as birthday gifts (though you'd have to start at age 11 for full accuracy).

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All of these stories are really great!

I'm especially interested in hearing about people who have read these books in different languages. I read the last Harry Potter book in Russian and was really amused by some of the changes (for instance, the title is not Deathly Hallows but instead is The Gifts of Death).

For the reread - and honestly for my Russian practice - I'm going to try and read a few of the books in Russian...

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All of these stories are really great!

I'm especially interested in hearing about people who have read these books in different languages. I read the last Harry Potter book in Russian and was really amused by some of the changes (for instance, the title is not Deathly Hallows but instead is The Gifts of Death).

For the reread - and honestly for my Russian practice - I'm going to try and read a few of the books in Russian...

 

Ochen harosho!

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I might write in about this for the second episode, but my first exposure to Harry Potter was reading The Chamber of Secrets shortly after its American publication. I was nine, and the book was a gift from a well-meaning relative who'd heard these books were popular and figured the newest, hottest release was probably the best one to start with. When I ended up hooked (along with every other kid I knew), this same relative decided I must be a fanatic and started giving me Harry Potter themed gifts for my birthday for the next several years. It was very sweet!

 

Anyway, starting with book 2 did not pose any barrier to understanding or enjoyment; I remember most relevant plot points were well re-introduced and re-explained. I don't think I even realized there was a book 1 until after I had finished book 2 and was looking for more to read.

 

Being nine years old at the release of book 2 was actually a perfect starting point for the age-with-the-books thing Ben described. Yes, I was still nine when the characters were about twelve. But the way publication dates started to space out, I happened to be seventeen in time for the final book, and as a result I remember feeling a strengthened sense of having grown up with these characters.

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I'm especially interested in hearing about people who have read these books in different languages. I read the last Harry Potter book in Russian and was really amused by some of the changes (for instance, the title is not Deathly Hallows but instead is The Gifts of Death).

 

The Icelandic version is pretty boring when it comes to the names. For older books the names would always be translated into something more Icelandic. Lord of the Ring's characters almost all have different names (Bilbó Baggi, Smeygur, Fróði, Sómi, Gandálfur)*

 

Harry Potter, however, just has all the same English names. Almost. Anything that's literally just a name isn't translated (Hermione, Harry, Dumbledore) but when characters have nicknames they're translated (Mad-eye Moody becomes Skröggur illaauga, which is Moody Evil-eye)

 

Street names are translated, so Diagon Alley becomes Skástræti (Crooked street) thereby losing the pun.

 

The names of the books are all pretty directly translated, but specifically Deathly Hallows is translated into Treasure of Death. Guess we don't have a word for magical object? Also, the Icelandic version of the cover looks horrible, don't know how this made it through any sort of quality check.. 127223.jpg

 

Oh, I came across an article about how difficult it was to translate Harry Potter to Icelandic.

 

The first problem for a translator is that Rowling's magical world is revealed to Harry and the reader at the same time. The translator has no foreknowledge of the plot, so words that seem innocuous may have hidden meaning that'll only becomes apparent in later books. For example the gender of professor Sinistra, which isn't clear until the fourth book, when you find out the professor is a woman. The game Exploding snap was in my mind some sort of game of tag, when in the fourth book it's revealed it's played with a deck of cards and we had to change the translation. .. [Rowling] has thought out every detail of her complex world but the translator has no more of an idea of where the story is going, than the reader does.

 

*The names of all the dwarves and Gandalf come directly from old Icelandic scripts, so they're the same in the translation..

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So I'm 24 years young and I've never read or seen any Harry Potter thing. I didn't intentionally avoid them, but the longer I went without any of it, the more fans of series would freak out on me for this. This gave me more enjoyment than I figured the actual series would. I think it's time to give this stuff a chance.

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Any idea when you'll start this?

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I haven't read the books in Dutch (I was too old to read translations by the time these came out) but I do know that the Dutch translations did some very cool things and some very crappy things.

Examples:

- Hogwarts -> Zweinstein (Something like Castle Pig) - fair enough I guess)

- Dumbledore -> Perkamentus ('Parchmentus' - ugh)

- Quidditch -> Zwerkbal (heavenball - I love this one)

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I'm excited to listen to this! I was literally a baby when the first book came out (2 years old!!) but I started reading them in 1st grade and was caught up by the time the 5th book came out in 3rd grade. After that, I read them as they came out, and then re-read them all constantly forever. My brothers, being 4 and 6 years older than me, convinced me that they were baby books for babies around the time the 7th one came out, so I read it but pretended I didn't like it  B)

 

Didn't see any movies past the third one either...I think the third book is my favourite one though. I liked books 5 and 6 because I was in elementary school and was way into people smoochin' (okay I guess I still am), but the last one just got a bit too crazy for my tastes. Don't know if I'll have time to re-read with the show but I think I've read the first 5 enough that I can just rely on memory. 

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- Dumbledore -> Perkamentus ('Parchmentus' - ugh

Dear lord!! That's awful.. Makes me happy that the Icelandic ones didn't translate the names. :o

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All finished with book one! Will probably try and make as much headway because I can't imagine reading all of them back-to-back (watch as this happens immediately)

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I read the books as they were coming out. I mostly checked them out from the library for the second, third, & fourth books. I think I read the second one via book on tape and the fourth one from a school library copy because it's the only way I could get them at all, 'cause the hold lists were so long and had no allowance to buy the books myself. I eventually got copies of my own of all of them. I think I got Sorcerer's Stone as a birthday present for my 8th birthday in 1999. The first movie is the first movie adaptation I ever saw of something I read first and I hated it because it wasn't what I had built in my head and it was a weird lesson to learn as a 10 year old. I don't know that I've ever read a book more times than I read Prisoner of Azkaban. I am looking forward to revisiting the series. I haven't touched it since the 7th book came out the summer before my junior year of high school. I've ordered the first book in German to see if I can make my way through it. :)

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Oh man, speaking of movie adaptations messing with a kid's head, I had imagined Hagrid as the big blue giant from "Monster By Mistake" (which i originally just googled as "whoops i turned into a blue giant") and was absolutely baffled by the relatively normal-looking dude that showed up in the movie. 

 

Here's my image of Hagrid:

 

781.jpg

 

And I'm sure everyone had the "Oh, that's how you say Hermione" moment while leaving the theatre. 

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It's just occurred to me that by the time you guys get around to covering the last book/movie in the series, we'll be able to buy and read the script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which is the new canonical instalment in the series that currently only exists as a play in London. I'm certainly going to read it; do you think you'll cover it?

 

It's odd that they haven't announced a world tour or some kind of live cinema broadcast of this show yet. I mean, there's millions and millions of kids all over the world who would be dying to watch this, and they've chosen to restrict it to the most exclusive and expensive of all media. I'm really not sure how to feel about that. It's a valid artistic decision on JKR's part, and personally I love going to the theatre, but it also flies in the face of the open, international, multi-lingual phenomenon that the books have become.  

 

Incidentally, latest news out of the previews in the West End is that the live owls have had to be retired from the production because they weren't behaving. (Which is probably a good call, though there's better reasons not to have birds of prey on stage than 'they're not working properly'. I really don't think any owl is going to be happy in a crowded theatre in the first place.)

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By the time this podcast ends, the first of the spinoff movie trilogy (barf!) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be out, so some thoughts on that (even just musings on it without having seen it) in the end could be fun?

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Any idea when you'll start this podcast?

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Hooray! Looking forward to it!

 

Temptingly, I just found out that I can rent the digital Stephen Fry audiobooks for free from my city library.

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excited for this to come out!  My last re-read was several years ago, and it was a rather strange experience. Nearly every plot beat remained etched into my mind (from rampant adoration of the series as a teen), but years of intervening reading really sharpen your awareness to aspects of rowlings writing that you didn't pick up on back then. The biggest example being how many things are decided arbitrarily by the current needs of the plot, which you could probably spin into a pretty interesting examination of rowlings writing overall.

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