Sorcerers, Wizards and Philosophers.

coconutpalm

Senior Member
Chinese,China
The definition of sorcerer in my dictionaries is: a person who performs magic by using the power of evil spirits.
Then why J.K.Rowling had her first Harry Poter book named "Harry Poter and the Sorcerer's Stone"?
The wizard who made the magic stone isn't one performing the dark arts.:confused:
 
  • Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    coconutpalm said:
    The definition of sorcerer in my dictionaries is: a person who performs magic by using the power of evil spirits.
    Then why did J.K.Rowling name first Harry Potter book "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"?
    The wizard who made the magic stone isn't one performing the dark arts.:confused:
    Coconutpalm,

    I can't find "evil" as a necessary part of the definition of the word in any of my dictionaries. In addition, most online dictionaries (see the WR dictionary and see here) say simply that a sorcerer is someone who practices sorcery (a wizard). Your dictionary appears to be incorrect.

    Note: Then why J.K.Rowling had her first Harry Poter book named "Harry Poter and the Sorcerer's Stone"? is an incorrectly phrased question.

    The preferred form is: Then why did J.K. Rowling name her first Harry Potter book "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone"?

    Hope this helps.
    Joelline
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    imithe
    coconutpalm said:
    The definition of sorcerer in my dictionaries is: a person who performs magic by using the power of evil spirits.
    Then why J.K.Rowling had her first Harry Poter book named "Harry Poter and the Sorcerer's Stone"?
    The wizard who made the magic stone isn't one performing the dark arts.:confused:
    I hate to mention this (no, really, I do :D ) but that book was written, and first published in Britain. The title it had there was "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone". The Philosopher's Stone is a concept well-known in Europe - it was the mythical artefact sought by alchemists which would do wondrous things, such as turn base metals into gold.

    The American publishers of the book felt that, for whatever reason, the US market would not understand that title and changed it to "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. The term "Sorcerer's Stone" is meaningless.
     

    captain_rusty

    Senior Member
    England
    Interestingly, the original (British) version of the book was called "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" - it was re-titled "Sorcerer's Stone" for the US.

    Now why did they do that???
     

    Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    I don't think alchemists have been considered to be evil since the 17th century (viz. Hawthorne). On the other hand, nobody (except in fantasy books) has actually believed in alchemy for quite a long time!
     

    jester.

    Senior Member
    Germany -> German
    Very interesting. I didn't know the book had a different name in the US. What a strange idea to change that name. As I am quite certain that there was an explanation of the term "Philosopher's stone" in the book, although it is known in Europe, it seems strange to me to change that name. I didn't know the term or concept "Philosopher's stone" before I read the book. I understood everything nonetheless... :rolleyes:
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    imithe
    j3st3r said:
    Very interesting. I didn't know the book had a different name in the US. What a strange idea to change that name. As I am quite certain that there was an explanation of the term "Philosopher's stone" in the book, although it is known in Europe, it seems strange to me to change that name. I didn't know the term or concept "Philosopher's stone" before I read the book. I understood everything nonetheless... :rolleyes:
    Books are frequently re-titled when they cross the Atlantic.
    Why, I really couldn't say, but I presume that some money-grubbing-philistine can only have one reason to do so - greater profits.

    I do know that sometimes, but very rarely, it happens because there is already a book in the new market with the same name.
     
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