There’s no doubt that Harry Potter is a global phenomenon, and that Scotland plays quite a large part in both the making of, and world of, Harry Potter. It’s quite possible (and likely) that Hogwarts is located in Scotland, and a lot of the writing of the Harry Potter series took place in Edinburgh – in fact I even wrote a Harry Potter Fan’s guide to Edinburgh. So it only seems natural that there’s a Scots Edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone here’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stane (Scots Edition) – and let me tell you, it’s bloody brilliant!
This isn’t going to be a review of the story, but rather this edition of the story, so if you’re looking for a story/character/writing style review you’re in the wrong place. This is purely a bit of fun before Christmas and a review of the Scots Edition.
This edition marks the 80th language that the Philosopher’s Stone has been translated into, although it’s not written in Scottish Gaelic as you might expect. Instead it’s written in a kind of dialect/accent. What I mean is, you can still read this if you speak English – this isn’t a different language in the same way that German or French is a different language to English. Sure, you’ll probably have to look up a few of the slang words to understand what’s going on (unless you’re Scottish/been living in Scotland for a while, or unless you’re so familiar with the story that you can fill in the blanks yourself) but you’ll manage. I’ve been living in Scotland since 2009 and I managed to get through about 90% of the book by myself and the 10% of words I wasn’t sure on I could fill in from my own knowledge of the original book.
“Maw – gonnae no dae that.”
The funniest thing (intentionally or unintentionally) about this edition is that, due to the way the speech is written in a dialect, every character at some point sounds a bit like a Ned. Now for my non-Scottish visitors, a Ned (which stands for Non-Educated Delinquent) is the Scottish version of a Chav (Council House and Violence). For my non-British visitors who have no idea what I’m talking about, the best way I can put this is that every character sounds like the kind of person who leaves the club in the early hours of the morning and looks to get in a fight while you just wanna eat your donner kebab and chips & cheese. You know the kind of person who you wouldn’t be surprised to find on Jerry Springer.
“Ye dinnae mean – ye cannae mean the fowk that bide here?”
Now they didn’t sound like this all the time, but there were certain phrases that came out of these characters mouths that had me in near tears of laughter because I was imagining them like the type of person above.
There were a few times where the language translation interfered with the story a bit too much for me. I understand that the descriptions would change for characters and places to some extent – like Hagrid’s Hut becoming Hagrid’s Bothy – and this made sense. But what I didn’t like were character names changing when they didn’t need to, like Dumbledore becoming Dumbiedykes, they changed Neville’s surname too – they are names – they don’t translate, they are what they are! But the thing that really bothered me was the changing of made up, magical terms – again, these shouldn’t translate! They are made up! The house names went from Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Slytherin and Hufflepuff to Gryffindor, Corbieclook, Slydderin and Hechlepech. Diagon Alley became The Squinty Gate. I mean…really?
“A tall, bleck-haired carline in an emeraud- green goun stood there.”
But other than that, this book is brilliant. We all know the story is great, even with its plotholes, and this edition just makes it funnier for the most part. It’s amazing.
This will make a fantastic gift for anyone who collects editions, the Brits and especially Scots or honorary Scots like me. I really hope the rest of the series gets this translation treatment!
“Yule wis comin. Ane morning in mid-December, Hogwarts waukened tae find itsel happit in snaw.”
I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
[PLEASE NOTE]: I was not paid or sponsored to write this review – all the opinions are honest and my own.