July 05, 2003
Harry Potter: Mission accomplished

Finished reading all 766 pages (in the British edition) of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix yesterday. It was good, though a bit slow to get started. If you haven't read it yet, give serious thought to rereading the first four books before you do - there are constant referrals to things that took place before, including something from Book One that wasn't in the movie. I'll be rereading them all to fill in a few blanks for myself.

As for the differences between the British and American editions, I mostly don't notice them. I've read enough British murder mysteries that the style and vocabulary are familiar to me. The Brits' use of single quotes where Americans use double quotes and vice versa is a bit jarring at times, but that's about it. I suspect if I were to pick up the American edition now and read it, I wouldn't be able to tell the difference.

Well, OK, there's one place where I suspect I'd notice. The following is from the chapter called "Professor Umbridge", on page 205 of my book:

"Anyway, it's a nightmare of a year, the fifth," said George. "If you care about exam results, anyway. Fred and I managed to keep our peckers up somehow."

I don't know how that one will translate into American English, I just know it'll be different.

UPDATE: Via Calpundit and Charles M in my comments, I see that "peckers" became "spirits" in the American edtion, which is more or less how I took it in my edition (though I was thinking more anatomically, as in "chins" or "noses"). There's some good discussion about Book 5 in Kevin's comments here, but be warned: there's spoilers aplenty.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 05, 2003 to Books | TrackBack

Page 227 of the American version.

I'm not sure if "spirits" equates to "peckers" but it's the word they used. Rest of the graf is the same.

Posted by: Charles M on July 5, 2003 3:27 PM

The following is taken from the American - British / British - American Dictionary web site:

pecker n :
courage, spirit, “keep your pecker up”.

Thus it would change to spirits in the American version.

Posted by: William Hughes on July 5, 2003 9:09 PM

Okay, since no one else has said it yet...

I suppose if one could keep one's pecker up, one's spirits might very well be up as well.

Thank you, I'll be here all week. Tip your waitress.

Posted by: Amy on July 7, 2003 8:39 AM

This is from memory so please forgive the imprecision. At one point, someone says "Oh!" in a surprised manner which Ms. Rowling writes as '"Oh!" he ejaculated.' I am imagining the number of snickers that sentence elicted from American readers who never thought of the word being used anything other than a sexual manner.

Posted by: Patrick on July 7, 2003 10:02 AM

Actually, the single-quote/double-quote issue is more a style issue than a British English/American English issue: for example, the Economist prefers using double quotes.

Posted by: Frankenstein on July 7, 2003 10:18 AM