Welcome back, book clubbers! I’ve been spending my free time with the Google, trying to find the very best Potter info on the web for our background discussion today. Boy howdy, there is a lot of Potter info on the web, so we’re going to do this a little differently.
Since you all probably have more Potter trivia in your pinkies than I have in my whole brain, I’m turning this discussion over to you. What bits and bobs do you know about how Harry Potter became the Boy Who Lived (in print) and the zeitgeist that has formed around his story? Where do you go on the web for your Potter knowledge? Where can we all find the best fan art and fan fiction? Do you think this series would have been as popular before the Internet? How has the Internet made the Potter experience better or worse?
When I polled my fellow editrixes, Ruby filled me in on a few details I was unaware of, such as Rowling’s experiences as a single mother receiving public assistance motivating her to write the first book, as well as the influence losing her mother had over her, especially in the scenes with Harry and the mirror. True confession: I’ve always avoided the Potter books because of pure jealousy that Rowling wrote them and I didn’t. Learning that the loss of her mom inspired her has made me a bit warm and fuzzy towards Ms. Rowling, as Persephone is the result of my own attempts to deal with the loss of my mom.
I also learned (probably ten years after everyone else, doh) that the UK edition of the book (as well as Canada
?!) was titled Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, but was changed to Sorcerer’s Stone for American audiences, since apparently American publishers think our children are too unsophisticated to hear anything related to philosophy. This struck me as particularly interesting because of the religious objections that surrounded the books early on. Many U.S. churches denounced the books for promoting witchcraft; I wonder if the hullabaloo would have been as intense if the first book kept the original UK title. (Yes, I am a cynic and assume these church-ly objectionists don’t actually read the books they protest and judge them by their covers.)
What goodies do you have to share, my beloved book club readers? I’ll make the popcorn and bring the box wine. Let’s have a lively discussion.