Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

Stick and stones and Harry Potter


Coming across people freaking out about Tom Molvolo Riddle’s name in the French version of the Harry Potter books reminded me that baguette was one of my early bête noires. (Though in French, it would be bêtes noires and now I don’t know which to use.)

I’d warn for spoilers here, but if you don’t already know the reveal about Tom Riddle from the second Harry Potter story, you don’t care.

Harry Potter French Voldemort

As to baguettes, they are lots of things, primarily thin and flexible sticks. This means that their English counterparts include wands, batons, chopsticks, drumsticks (musical), architectural molding detail and the long, thin bread typically peeking out of grocery bags in every TV show since the mid-80s.

Potter’s been in the news this week (at least the stuff I read) since author JK Rowling “admitted” that, in retrospect, she would have had different characters end up together. This led to a flurry of posts and stories about how Frizzy Hair and Dumb As Rocks were the best couple in the history of books or how she should have ended up with World’s Most Petulant Prat. (There’s a genuinely good defense here.) You can tell that in the annals of things about which I care not at all, this is right up there.

Things about which I care a great deal however, include the proper use of the English language and recognition of homophones. “To sow” is to plant seed by scattering; “to sew” is to connect things by stitching. 

Harry Potter sewing fail

Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

6 thoughts on “Stick and stones and Harry Potter

  1. Where was this typo? Wasn’t JKR interviewed? Have you read the books in French and English? I have read all of them in English and the first one in French. I have a thing about the misuse of homophones too. How often are people given free reign! But I also sympathise with people who genuinely cannot spell. It can lead to all kinds of misunderstandings. I might even write a post about it. Sue

    • It’s not a typo and the original post is linked within my post. It’s from Vulture (New York Magazine) and is *not* from the “leaked” interview with Rowling but is from one of the reaction pieces to the “news.”

      Even if it had been transcribed from a recorded interview, it would still indicate that the writer and editors are lacking basic understanding of English.

      • And I’ve only read the HPs in English since I only reread books I really enjoy . They ended up as examples of the law of diminishing returns (despite their increasing size). Just to put one annoyance out there: why did any of those kids stay at Hogwarts through the end of the school year? Conversely, why did Voldemort only attack at the end of the school year? Clearly, he hadn’t studied his Python since surprise should be among your chief weapons.

  2. Sorry, I didn’t click on your link. I follow too many blogs to follow everything up! I enjoy the books without analysing them too much.

  3. Pingback: Fake Harry Potter Books | The Blog That Made No Sense

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