Sunday, August 05, 2007

Bat Bogey Hex

Bat. Bogey. Hex


Pretty much anybody who has ever discussed Harry Potter with me knows that I abhor Scholastic Books. I reject Scholastic Books, and all their works. And their minions. Ok, I admit, I've actually got US editions of books 2-7, but only because I couldn't get the proper ones.

So anyways, clearly any intelligent human rejects the asshattery that decided to dumb-down Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone to Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone, a title that makes no earthly sense and (Hel-loooo, Scholastic!) also takes away a learning opportunity. Me, I also reject the changing of British idiom for US idiom, especially when it seems totally random. But there's one thing that really could be misconstrued by US readers that doesn't get changed. Ginny Weasely's signature hex, the Bat-Bogey.

Now, to me, the Bat-Bogey Hex is really pretty gross, but kind of cool, too (well, depending on whether it's bogeys from bats or, as I suspect, a plague of bogeys in the form of bats, which is some clever transfiguration, too). But then, I know what a bogey is. And I'm willing to bet that JKR isn't talking about the other aerial vehicles in a dogfight. So why, in the US editions, is it not called a Bat-Booger Hex?

This post was brought to you by the letters p, r, o, c, r,a,s,t, i, and n.

8 comments:

New Kid on the Hallway said...

Because in the US, bogey = ghost, goblin, hobgoblin, so a Bat-Bogey hex kind of works in American English, too? ;-)

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Well, yeah, but it takes all the adolescent fun out of it! Plus, where I come from, we say boogeyman, not bogeyman!

Steve Hayes said...

The loss of learning opportunities is the saddest thing -- what have they done with the references to it in later books?

And surely the idioms could be explained by footnotes. Do they change prat to jerk and git to dork as well?

Another Damned Medievalist said...

You know, I don't think they do ... I think Percy is a git in all forms of English.

Susan said...

Just as the New York Times Mag. carefully calibrates its articles to be readable by "a twelve year old girl", they worry about children in the distant boonies who have no access to trans-Atlantic wisdom. And they (not just Scholastic, but most children's book publishers) do this word changing on almost all British children's books imported to this country. My stepson works in children's books, so I know it's not just HP. Some of it is pretty silly, and there is an assumption that you can't figure anything out. But then we also know that the possibilities for misunderstanding are legion.

Dr. Virago said...

If it makes you feel any better, the changes work the other way, too. I was reading UK editions of Ed McBain while in London and kept wondering, "Did they really call car trunks 'boots' in the 50s?" until it dawned on me that it was a change for the UK reader. I have to say, hard-boiled detective fiction changed to British idiom is kind of funny!

Ancarett said...

This is why I love living in Canada and getting the UK spelling in our editions. I'm also teaching my daughters to disdain the dumbing down of these and any other English books with Americanized editions!

Notorious Ph.D. said...

I got the "bogey" thing, but I have to admit that I've occasionally found the meaning of "snogging" a bit ambiguous.