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Translation Commentary - Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

By RussaAc1 Aug 03, 2013 4726 Words
Translation Commentary
2nd Assignment

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

MA Audiovisual Translation
2012/2013

Diana Alves Costa

Table of contents

Source Text transcription…………………………..| 3| Target Text transcription…………………………| 5| Introduction………………………………………..| 7| Skopos........................................................................| 8| Proper Names…………………………………….| 9| Lexical Gaps……………………………………..| 10| Form of Address…………………………………| 11| Invented Names………………………………….| 12| Alliteration……………………………………….| 13| Informal Language……………………………….| 14| Double Meaning………………………………….| 15| Word Formation………………………………….| 16| Conclusion………………………………………….| 17| Bibliography………………………………………..| 18|

Source Text

Chapter 15 – The Unbreakable Vow
(...)
"They didn't have the potions with them in the bathroom," said Hermione scornfully, "They were just discussing tactics. As I doubt the Half-blood prince" she gave the book another scornful look "could dream up an antidote for a dozen different love potions at once, I'd just invite someone to go with you, that'll stop all the others thinking they've still got a chance. It's tomorrow night, they're getting desperate." "There isn't anyone I want to invite," mumbled Harry, who was still not trying to think about Ginny any more than he could help, despite the fact that she kept cropping up in his dreams in ways that made him devoutly thankful that Ron could not perform Legilimency. "Well, just be careful what you drink, because Romilda Vane looked like she meant business." said Hermione grimly. She hitched up the long roll of parchment on which she was writing her Arithmancy essay and continued to scratch away with her quill. Harry watched her with his mind a long way away. "Hang on a moment," he said slowly. "I thought Filch had banned anything bought at Weasley's Wizard Wheezes?" "And when has anyone ever paid attention to what Filch has banned?" asked Hermione, still concentrating on her essay. "But I thought all the owls were being searched. So how come these girls are able to bring love potions into the school?" "Fred and George send them disguised as perfumes and cough potions," said Hermione. "It's part of their Owl order service." "You know a lot about it."

Hermione gave him the kind of nasty look she had just given his copy of Advanced Potion-Making. "It was all on the back of the bottles they showed Ginny and me in the summer," she said coldly, "I don't go around putting potions in people's drinks... or pretending too either, which is just as bad..." "Yeah, well, never mind that," said Harry quickly. "The point is, Filch is being fooled isn't he? These girls are getting stuff into the school disguised as something else! So why couldn't Malfoy have brought the necklace into the school --?" "Oh, Harry... not that again..."

"Come on, why not?" demanded Harry.
"Look," sighed Hermione, "Secrecy Sensors detect jinxes, curses, and concealment charms, don't they? They're used to find d ark magic and d ark objects. They'd have picked up a powerful curse, like the one in the necklace, within seconds. But something that's just been put in the wrong bottle wouldn't register -- anyway Love potions aren't d ark or dangerous -" "Easy for you to say," muttered Harry, thinking of Romilda Vane. "-- so it would be down to Filch to realise it wasn't a cough potion, and he's not a very good wizard, I doubt he can tell one potion from --" Hermione stopped dead; Harry had heard it too. Somebody had moved close behind them among the dark bookshelves. They waited, and a moment later the vulture-like countenance of Madam Pince appeared around the corner, her sunken cheeks, her skin like parchment, and her long hooked nose illuminated unflatteringly by the lamp she was carrying. "The library is now closed," she said, "Mind you return anything you have borrowed to the correct -- what have you been doing to that book, you depraved boy?" "It isn't the library's, it's mine!" said Harry hastily, snatching his copy of Advanced Potion-Making off the table as she lunged at it with a clawlike hand. "Spoiled!" she hissed. "Desecrated, befouled!"

"It's just a book that's been written on!" said Harry, tugging it out of her grip. She looked as though she might have a seizure; Hermione, who had hastily packed her things, grabbed Harry by the arm and frogmarched him away. "She'll ban you from the library if you're not careful. Why did you have to bring that stupid book?" "It's not my fault she's barking mad, Hermione. Or d'you think she overheard you being rude about Filch? I've always thought there might be something between them..." "Oh, ha ha..."

Enjoying the fact that they could speak normally again, they made their way along the deserted lamp-lit corridors back to the common room, arguing whether or not Filch and Madam Pince were secretly in love with each other. "Baubles" said Harry to the Fat Lady, this being the new, festive password. "Same to you," said the fat lady with a roguish grin, and she swung forward to admit them. “Hi, Harry!" said Romilda Vane, the moment he had climbed through the portrait hole. "Fancy a gillywater?" Hermione gave him a "what-did-I-tell-you?" look over her shoulder. "No thanks," said Harry quickly. "I don't like it much."

"Well, take these anyway," said Romilda, thrusting a box into his hands. "Chocolate Cauldrons, they've got Firewhiskey in them. My gran sent them to me, but I don't like them."

Target Text

XV – O Juramento Inquebrável
(...)
- Elas não tinham as poções consigo na casa de banho – ripostou Hermione desdenhosamente. – Estavam apenas a discutir tácticas. Como duvido que mesmo o Príncipe Meio-Sangue – deitou outro olhar irritado ao livro – fosse capaz de inventar um antídoto para uma dúzia de poções diferentes ao mesmo tempo, no teu lugar convidava simplesmente alguém para ir contigo... Isso fará todas as outras deixarem de pensar que ainda têm uma hipótese. É amanhã à noite, estão a ficar desesperadas. - Não há ninguém que eu queira convidar – murmurou Harry, que continuava a esforçar-se por não pensar em Ginny senão o indispensável, apesar de ela insistir em surgir nos seus sonhos em situações que o faziam ficar muito grato por Ron não ser perito em Legilimância. - Bom, tem cuidado com aquilo que bebes, porque a Romilda Vane estava com ar de quem fala a sério – recomendou Hermione em tom sombrio. Puxou para cima o longo rolo de pergaminho onde escrevia o seu trabalho de Aritmância e continuou a rabiscar com a pena. Harry observava-a com a mente a quilómetros de distância. - Espera aí – disse ele lentamente. – Pensava que o Filch tinha proibido todas as coisas compradas na Magias Mirabolantes dos Weasleys? - E desde quando é que alguém liga ao que o Filch proibiu? – comentou Hermione, ainda concentrada no seu trabalho. - Mas eu julguei que todas as corujas eras revistadas? Então como é que essas raparigas conseguem trazer poções de amor para a escola? - O Fred e o George mandam-nas disfarçadas de perfumes e xaropes para a tosse – explicou Hermione. – Faz parte do seu Serviço de Entregas por Coruja. - Estás muito bem informada.

Hermione mançou-lhe o mesmo tipo de olhar irritado que acabara de conceder ao livro de poções. - Estava tudo na parte de trás dos frascos que eles me mostraram a mim e à Ginny no Verão – elucidou ela friamente. – Eu não ando por aí a enfiar poções nas bebidas das pessoas... nem sequer a fingir, o que é igualmente mau... - Sim, pois, isso agora não interessa – apressou-se a replicar Harry. – A questão é que o Filch anda a ser enganado, não anda? Essas raparigas têm metido na escola coisas disfarçadas de algo diferente! Portanto, por que é que o Malfoy não podia ter trazido o colar para cá...? - Oh, Harry... outra vez isso, não...

- Anda lá, por que não? – insistiu Harry.
- Olha – suspirou Hermione. – Os Sensores de Segredos detectam feitiços, maldiçoes e encantamentos de ocultação, não é? Estão habituados a encontrar magia negra e objectos das trevas. Detectavam uma maldição forte como a do colar em menos de um segundo. Mas uma coisa que foi simplesmente metida no frasco errado não seria notada e, aliás, as poções de amor não são magia negra nem perigosas... - Para ti, é fácil dizer – murmurou Harry, lembrando-se de Romilda Vane. - ...portanto caberia ao filch perceber que não era um xarope contra a tosse, e ele não é grande feiticeiro, duvido de que saiba distinguir uma poção de... Interrompeu-se; Harry também ouvira. Alguém se aproximara deles por entre as escuras estantes de livros. Esperaram, e instantes depois surgiu à esquina a figura de abutre de Madame Pince, as faces cavadas, a pele de pergaminho e o comprido nariz adunco cruelmente iluminados pelo candeeiro que empunhava. - A biblioteca encerrou – informou ela. – Vejam lá se voltam a colocar o que tiraram no sítio cer... o que estiveste tu a fazer a esse livro, rapaz malvado? - Não é da biblioteca, é meu! – apressou-se Harry a afirmar, tirando o seu exemplar de Preparação de Poções: Nível Avançado de cima da mesa, quando ela estendeu para ela a mão semelhante a uma garra. - Espoliado! – sibilou ela. – Profanado! Maculado!

- É só um livro em que se escreveu! – repontou Harry, arrancando-lhe o exemplar da mão. Madame Prince parecia prestes a ter um ataque. Hermione, que arrumara rapidamente as suas coisas, agarrou no braço de Harry e empurrou-o para fora. - Se não tens cuidado, ela proíbe-te de ir à biblioteca. Por que é que havias de trazer esse livro idiota? - Não tenho culpa de ela ser doida varrida, Hermione. Ou achas que te ouviu dizer mal do Filch? Sempre pensei que podia haver qualquer coisa entre eles... - Oh, que piada...

Satisfeitos por poderem falar normalmente outra vez, dirigiram-se para a sala comum através dos corredores desertos e mal iluminados, debatendo se Filch e Madame Pince estariam ou não secretamente apaixonados. - Bugigangas – disse Harry à Dama Gorda, pois era essa a nova senha festiva. - E para ti também – respondeu a Dama Gorda com um sorriso travesso, afastando-se para os deixar entrar. - Olá, Harry – saudou Romilda Vane, assim que passaram pelo buraco do retrato. – Que tal uma água de Guelracho? Hermione lançou-lhe um olhar que significava «O que é que eu te disse?» por cima do ombro. - Não, obrigado – apressou-se Harry a recusar. – Não gosto muito. - Bem, pelo menos fica com isto – insistiu Romilda, metendo-lhe uma caixa nas mãos. – Caldeirões de Chocolate, recheados de Uísque de Fogo. Mandou-me a minha avó, mas eu não aprecio.

Critical commentary
Introduction
Joanne Kathleen Rowling finished her first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 1996, introducing the world to a colourful tale of a young wizard and his friends, enemies and teachers at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The rest of the books in the series soon followed, making Rowling a worldwide famous author. Her writing appeals to both young and adult audiences and her books have been translated into more than 60 languages (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 2011). This study will focus on an excerpt of the sixth book of the series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which includes examples of translation issues that occur throughout all of the books, making them complex and challenging texts. Among them, there is humour, wordplays, neologisms, puns, double meanings, alliteration, slang and colloquialisms to name a few. Moreover, these are texts usually labelled as children’s literature, which not only pose the same problems as in adults’ literature – fluency, accuracy, register and style – but also have special needs related to the readers’ age level. Therefore, what is suitable for a ten-year-old will be beyond the understanding of a seven-year old, but at the same time pre-teenagers may want to read something more mature (Landers, 2001: 106). Furthermore, Rowling draws on cultural traditions with a unique style that the translator has to match, an elegance that combines accurate spoken language, irony, linguistic creativity and fast paced narrative. As a result, “the specifically English nature of the cultural content of the books leads to choices between adaptation or preservation of culture-specific items” (Lathey, 2005: 145). The excerpt chosen for this study starts during a conversation between two of the main characters, Hermione and Harry, during which she warns him about a few second-year girls who want to slip a love potion into his drinks, in order to be invited into a Christmas party. All the while, Hermione reproaches Harry for using a second-hand potions book that used to belong to someone whose intentions are not clear – the Half-Blood Prince - and whose notes and scribbles allow Harry to get ahead of everyone in class. They are interrupted by the school librarian, Madam Pince and they return to their common room where Harry has to dodge the unwanted advances from Romilda Vane. Skopos

As explained by Bedeker & Feinauer (2006: 137), the source text (ST) aims to offer entertainment to young British readers, and so do the respective translations, both of which also fulfil an expressive function in the target culture (TC). The authors also mention that: “According to Puurtinen, a general requirement for children's books is that they be suitable for reading fluently out loud (1989: 210), which further supports the argument for the entertainment function of the source and target texts.” In addition to that, these TTs are also informative in nature as the target receivers learn a lot about British culture (Bedeker & Feinauer, 2006: 137). It’s worth noting, however, that the target readers of both the ST and its translations are not only children, but also adults, which can be credited to the quality of the ST, making them the secondary target readers (Bedeker & Feinauer, 2006: 133).

Points of Difficulties
Proper names
J. K. Rowling has presented a knack for wordplay when creating names for her characters, which not only provides a humoristic tone to the text, but also gives the reader an insight into the qualities and behaviour of the characters (Garcés, 2003: 123). Let us look at the examples presented in this excerpt: Romilda Vane’s surname reminds the reader of vanity and shallowness; Malfoy comes from the French words mal and foi, literally meaning ‘bad faith’, and for those unfamiliar with the language, they would still associate it with malice, malfunction, maladjusted (Garcés, 2003: 122); Filch is an informal word for stealing (Garcés, 2003: 123); and Madam Pince’s surname is also from the French verb pincer, which means to pinch, bite or sting. These are just a few examples of all the array of colourful characters that inhabit the series, whose name is given a semantic meaning. The dilemma presented to the translators is whether they should translate the names in order to give the readership access to the “hidden” meaning of the proper names, by domesticating them or providing additional information through footnotes or glossaries; or, instead, to keep the names as in the original, preventing the reader from understanding the humour originally intended by the author, but keeping a sense of place through the ‘foreignization’ of the text (Jentsch, 2002: 286). The Portuguese translators decided to keep all proper names in the original form, “introducing the target culture reader to the foreign culture by retaining cultural and linguistic differences in the target text (Bedeker & Feinauer, 2006: 137). This seems to be the right option as the setting of the story is clearly British, and it would look out of place to transform the English names into Portuguese ones.

Lexical gaps
There are a few examples in this excerpt where the translator had to resort to some of the techniques proposed by Newmark (1981: 30-1). Let us take the terms ‘baubles’ and ‘frogmarched’, which were respectively translated as bugigangas (trinkets) and empurrou (pushed). As Newmark explains “(i)t is often possible to achieve closer interlingual than intralingual synonymy particularly in reference to objects and actions. However, as illustrated by Bedeker & Feinauer (2006: 135-6), sometimes it is difficult to locate a target language (TL) equivalent as the target culture (TC) may have never needed to use the corresponding concept, thus having no appropriate linguistic labels”. Here, the translator opted not to expand on the terms and found the closest equivalent term in the TL (lexical synonymy), even though some of the original meaning, and therefore, the mental images created on the reader, are lost. ‘Baubles’ refers to Christmas decoration, but in the translated version, the association to the festivities is lost. One can speculate that the term was chosen due to its musicality and alliteration, similarly to the original, and it works in terms of the effect caused on the reader. As for ‘frogmarched’, it means “to force somebody to go somewhere by holding their arms tightly so they have to walk along with you”. There is no equivalent term in Portuguese that conveys this complex action, but the translator opted not to paraphrase, but rather to just convey the main intention of the character, which was to push someone, as there is no need to be so precise to convey the overall meaning (Kussmaul, 1995: 100-1). Other strategy used by the translator is that of contraction or grammatical reduction (Newmark, 1981: 31) to render the following expressions: ‘anymore than he could help’ and ‘stopped dead’, respectively in Portuguese, senão o indispensável (other than the indispensable) and Interrompeu-se (interrupted herself). Overall, the choices made by the translator seem to be quite good as they keep the text clear and simple and syntactically correct. Form of address

As exemplified in Jentsch (2002: 286), the translator is faced with another challenge every time an English text has to be rendered in a language that has more than one form for the word ‘you’. The way the form of address is specifically conveyed in the TL affects the reader’s perception of the relationship between the speakers and also their sense of characterization. Jentsch later adds that distinctions have thus to be made between formal and informal relationships, although such differentiations are lacking in the original, forcing the translators to make their decisions about this (2002: 288). In this case, the question is posed in relation to the interaction between Madam Pince, the school’s librarian, and Harry, the student. The translator decided to render Madam Pince’s speech in the 2nd person singular, opting for the informal form of address (“o que estiveste tu a fazer a esse livro...”). One might wonder whether this was the best choice as the character does not interact with the main character very often and seems to act very coldly towards students in general. It is not that uncommon either for Portuguese teachers or other members of school staff to address older students in a more formal manner. Overall, the choice seems to have been done in accordance to the translation principle that was used whenever rendering the speech of the teachers of Hogwarts towards the students, which has been consistently informal.

Invented names

Neologisms abound in the Harry Potter series and very often, the new words are compound words usually recognizable by the English readers, allowing them to predict the appearance or the effect of the object in question (Garcés, 2003: 131). The strategy adopted for invented names in this excerpt is to “domesticate” them, giving them a Portuguese sounding pronunciation. Take ‘Legilimency’ and ‘Gillywater’ for instance, which were turned into Legilimância and água de Guelracho respectively, following the process described by Garcés (2003: 129): “In those languages where the translator has translated (and not copied) the words, sometimes even creating new words, the main strategy followed, independently of the language, is that of adapting the English word by keeping its meaning and following the morphological processes of the language (…)”. In other words, the translator makes the source text “closer to home” or more recognisable to the TT reader, which Venutti (1995: 20) describes as the ‘ethnocentric reduction of the foreign text to target language cultural values’ (Bedeker & Feinauer, 2006: 137). For ‘Gillywater’, the translator split the word into two and translated them literally into Guelras and água, adding a suffix to the former to make it sound like a beverage term. Newmark (1988: 82) calls this process ‘naturalisation’, by which the SL word is adapted to the TL normal pronunciation and then to the normal morphology (word-forms) of the TL. It is a wise choice for it helps the young readers to understand these new terms.

Alliteration
On several occasions, J. K. Rowling uses play-on-words with alliteration to name objects, books, stores among many other things, which should be replicated on the target text, whenever possible. This phonological device serves as a way to identify the object and its possessor, to describe certain features or even just to add humour (Garcés, 2003: 130). On this occasion, when dealing with the name of the shop ‘Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes’ there was a clear attempt to keep the alliteration in the Portuguese version, but it could not possibly be converted in its entirety as the letter ‘W’ does not exist in the Portuguese alphabet. One could say the translator resorted to communicative translation to translate the name, which becomes Magias Mirabolantes dos Weasleys (Magics Amazing of the Weasleys). Again, there is no direct Portuguese equivalent to the term ‘wheezes’, which is informal for ‘old jokes’, so the translator chose to emphasize the form and the effect it has on the reader (alliteration) rather than the content (semantic meaning). As described in Newmark (1981: 39), there is a transfer of both foreign and native elements into the TT where necessary, using a generic term to solve a difficult passage. It emphasizes the ‘force’; it is simpler and more conventional, causing no obscurities to the young readers.

Informal language
According to Feral (2006: 462), Rowling’s success among English readers is often due to her ability to accurately convey children’s slang or spoken language. Take for instance the words from the ST: ‘Yeah’, ‘d’you’, ‘gran’, ‘that’ll’ and ‘hi’. All of them are normalized in the TL, improving the children’s syntax, which makes them sound inadequately stiff and formal. There are some Portuguese equivalents which could have been used to convey these colloquialisms, such as Iá for ‘Yeah’, Ei for ‘hi’, and Vó for ‘gran’, the latter being a abbreviations for avó and ‘grandmother’ respectively. One wonders about the reason for the omission or embellishment of spoken traits which are so typical of youths and help characterize the characters. Feral (2006: 463) uses the French translation example to propose that such strategy reflects an educational priority. One must have always in mind the readership’s age, and as such, encourage them to speak properly and familiarise them with written canonised language.

Double meaning
The name ‘Half-blood Prince’ is one the main, if not the most important plot point of the book. It works as a pseudonym, but its true goal is revealed only towards the end of the book, as the characters realize the double meaning of the word ‘Prince’. It is a homonym, meaning both a title and a surname. Unfortunately, the equivalent in Portuguese – príncipe - can only operate as the former, leaving the translator no other choice other than translating it literally. The decision works well, for throughout most of the story, the characters seem to also interpret the name as a title, so the Portuguese readers keep up with the story as easily as the English readers. When it is first proposed that the term may be a surname the translator resorts to a brief footnote to explain the pun (Rowling, 2005: 425). However, as eloquently put by Landers (2001: 109), “(t)here is perhaps no aspect of translation that is simultaneously more frustrating and potentially more rewarding than metalanguage – in effect, a language talking about itself”. It is, in fact, an impossible situation, because on one hand, the translator succeeds in explaining the meaning and enlightening the second readership, but on the other hand, the translation becomes a distorted reflection of the original, for the latter does not have any footnotes. These hinder the mimetic effect as well as the author’s intention of creating the illusion that the reader is experiencing the events, rather than witnessing them. It breaks the flow by drawing the attention away from the main text (Landers, 2001: 93).

Word formation
When it comes to word formation the Portuguese language is more limited in comparison to English where one can add a hyphen or suffix to economize on the word count and avoid longer sentences. For instance, let us take for instance Harry’s handbook’s name ‘Advanced Potion-Making’ which the translator had to expand on in order to make it sound natural - Preparação de Poções: Nível Avançado (Preparation of Potions: Level Advanced). Additionally, there are words such as ‘vulture-like’ and ‘clawlike’ which not only had to go through an expansion but also a transposition (Newmark, 1981: 30), for in Portuguese they become nouns, rather than adjectives. By replacing one grammatical unit by another, ‘vulture-like’ becomes a figura de abutre (the figure of vulture) and ‘clawlike’ becomes semelhante a uma garra (similar to a claw). These seem good decisions, as doing otherwise would harm the correct syntax and word order of the TL.

Conclusion
Overall, the Portuguese translation seems to be quite effective in the way that it conveys a sense of place and introduces the readership to British culture, and also translates whenever possible to facilitate the understanding of invented terms or names. However, as Garcés (2003: 122) points out, what about all the humorous English names and hidden meanings? Do the second readers still laugh? It could be the case that more mature readers with some grasp of Latin, English or French might smile at the puns, but given the main audience’s young age, it is very unlikely that they share the same experience. The full comprehension of proper and invented names is not essential to the story though, as the readers get to know the characters and the magical places and objects through the events and dialogues. One could object though, that by keeping foreign names in the original form may be hard to read and pronounce and such words should be translated. However, the same happens among English speakers who also disagree on the correct pronunciation of Rowling’s newly coined words (Jentsch, 2002: 294). In the end, translation choices, whether they are to omit, add or alter, are always motivated and justified by the intended meaning (Hatim & Mason, 1990: 12). Apart from that, the translator has used different strategies to solve diverse challenges and has succeeded in producing an adequate TT according to the skopos principle, by which the target receiver should understand the text world of the translation the same way as the source receivers understand the text world of the original (Garcés, 2003: 128).

Bibliography
Bedeker L. & Feinauer U. (2006) The translator as cultural mediator, Southern African Linguistics.and Applied Language Studies, 24(2): 133-141 Feral A. (2006) The Translator’s ‘Magic’ Wand: Harry Potter’s Journey from English into French, Meta: Translators' Journal, vol. 51, n° 3, p. 459-481. Garcés C. (2003) Translating the imaginary world in the Harry Potter series or how Muggles, Quaffles, Snitches, and Nickles travel to other cultures, Quaderns. Revista de traducció 9, 121-134 Hatim B. & Mason I. (1990) Discourse and the Translator. Harlow, Pearson Education Limited. Hornby, A. (2010) Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 8th edition, Oxford, Oxford University press Jentsch N. (2002) Harry Potter and the Tower of Babel – Traslating the Magic, in Whited L. (Ed.) The Ivory Tower And Harry Potter: Perspectives On A Literary Phenomenon, Missouri, University of Missouri Press. Kussmaul, P. (1995) Training the Translator, Amsterdam/Philadelphia, John Benjamins Publishing Company Landers C. (2001) Literary translation: A Practical Guide, Clevedon, Multilingual Matters Lathey G. (2005) The Travels

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