In honor of the premiere of the last Harry Potter movie, which came out yesterday in Argentina (where I grew up) and today in the US (where I was born and I live now), I have two further observations to make.
The correct title of the first book is Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. As often happens, the American editors decided to change the title. Why? Did they think it would not sell if it had the word philosopher in the title? Just how dumb do the editors think we are?
The title comes from the beliefs of medieval alchemists, a theme that runs through the books, a weakness, as is divination, in the world of magic, because it makes people forget values and ethics. The legendary philospher's stone was a substance the alchemists believed would grant them their two greatest wishes: to become immortal and rich. The latter desire, the legend went, would be fulfilled by the power to turn any substance into gold. They were ignoring the myth of King Midas who ended up with the ears of a donkey to symbolize his foolishness at wanting everything he touched to turn into gold (to say nothing of the devaluation of the metal that would occur, negating the very power it granted).
The other matter is a reaction to a piece I read in The New Yorker. It said that if the first book had come out a year or two later, Hermione would not have had to go to the library all the time to get her information. She just could have Googled it. The writer had obviously not been paying attention. There are two big problems with that. First, computers are mentioned early in the first book in the muggle world. It's not that the Internet was not already in place. Second, electricity does not work at Hogwarts because of all the magic power bombinating around. This is a basic device in the series. The situation forces everyone to relate face-to-face. Think about it.
Please look up my latest release, Angela 1: Starting Over on your ereader. Go to your favorite provider and download the free sample. Thanks!