I’ve been working on learning French this year using the Duolingo website in preparation for our trip to France in October. I was getting pretty good at reading websites. I could at least get the general idea of what was going on. I saw a suggestion to try reading a book that you know really well. I decided to try Sorcerer’s Stone.

When I opened up my French copy from Pottermore I saw an immediate problem. It is written in past tense. I don’t know past tense. Ok, time to learn.

This is how I read it. At first I tried to understand every word. It took forever to highlight every word I didn’t know for the dictionary to define. Now I read a paragraph in French and see what I think it says and then read the paragraph in English.

What are things called in French?

Major character names are the same but there are some differences.
Hogwarts – Poudlard
Muggles – Moldu
Diagon Alley – Chemin de Traverse

Hagrid speak

I can’t imagine trying to translate Hagrid into another language. Here are some of my favorite translations:

Codswallop Рsac de M̩duse (bag of jellyfish)
Blimey – Nom d’un vampire (name of a vampire)

I need to work those phrases into my daily conversation.


Because this is taking a long time, I haven’t gotten all the way through the book yet.  I have gotten through the beginning though and that is my favorite part of this book.  I’m a sucker for origin stories so the beginning of a series is always my favorite. I liked rereading all the little details that get forgotten when a book is translated to a movie like Hagrid moving about Muggle London and knitting on the train.

The one thing that always surprises me when I reread this book is how much foreshadowing there is.  I remember my first reread when I was shocked when Hagrid says Sirius Black lent him his motorcycle to deliver Harry to the Dursleys.  It is such a throw away line in this book but speaks volumes to how well planned the whole series is.

Linking up with the Harry Potter re-read at Book Journey.

7 Replies to “Harry Potter Re-read: Sorcerer’s Stone”

  1. Lol, I love the translations! I want to do this so badly, I might break down and use a bit of my spending money to buy a Spanish copy since that’s the second language I know the most. Though I’m tempted to see if I can find a Finnish copy.

    Good luck with the translation, it seems fun!

  2. Hahahaha! Oh my gosh, I am dying about those translations for Hagrid. Would love to see more! That French cover is gorgeous too – very grown up.

    I found that I noticed more details too while rereading, which is definitely the best part to me.

  3. OMG that HP edition cover in french is GORGEOUS> SO GORGEUOS. But, I’m loving the translated phrases… I can’t imagine trying to translate Hagrid though, those poor editors…

  4. Wow, that’s quite a thing to tackle! I guess if you’re going to try to read something in a language you’re trying to learn, let it be books you love! 🙂

  5. O my! I like the french book cover . What a challenge to read it in french that must be!
    I can see how reading this in french would help me pick it up again though. Amazing! although Chemin de Traverse isn’t the same as Diagon Alley like diagonally. It could’ve been Chemin en diagonale . Anyway. . .

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