Monday, June 06, 2005

Harry Potter and his faces

I have read it a while ago in the newspaper, that Harry Potter archived to be in over 100 translations, fine.
But they also showed a picture of the book covers, I tell you. The British guy suddenly got an Asian face, coloured face, etc.
Like very much faces.
And it boggles my mind, I mean... it's officially a child's book, shouldn't it, especially since it's a book for childs, keep a British guy just British to show that sense of euality? Nobody is more worth than another, you know.

Today, I have managed to retrieve the homepage, who lets you select all book covers by countries.

Have a look!

Technorati Tags:


Anonymous said...

When I write a piece of fiction, or in fact any story, I might describe the physical appearance of the main character to an extent, but I never go into race or skin color.

In a work of literature, it's generally up to the reader to define the characters. Aside from some basic physical description, much of the time the main character is left open -- able to be interpreted by the reader how they like, and a good book is one in which the reader can associate the main character with himself.

To that end, a little Chinese kid would generally imagine, subconsciously or not, that the main character would be just like him: a little Chinese kid. A white kid would imagine that the character is white, just like him. Etc., etc. And to that end, the author WANTS the reader to do just that, because it immerses them more in the story.

I agree with you that it is, ultimately, not an important thing. People are people, and what color you are and where you're from shouldn't matter, but in the world that we have, people have strong cultural associations and ties to their ethnic backgrounds. In that respect, I do not think that it's a bad thing. It's simply showing on the cover what the reader is going to be doing, mentally, and it opens up the work to a lot of other people.

Nafcom said...


True, I understand all you say, but when I read the English version (I never read any of the localized translations), it made the impression to me, like he is British and the scene plays in UK. Or am totally wrong? Maybe I am wrong. hmm...

I always try to figure out who the main character is, rather than assume "ok, he is automatically member of my race".

Well, maybe my habbits do not get along with John Q. Public?

Anonymous said...

The story does take place in the UK. That, however, has nothing to do with the ethnicity of the character... unless all British people are white, which we know to be untrue. Many people live there, a good portion of which are not white.

Nafcom said...

@Anonymous: True but then it would be illogical to give one single person multiple ethics.