A teaser image for the sequel to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them holds special meaning for anyone who’s a big fan of the original Harry Potter book.
Last Wednesday the Fantastic Beasts Facebook page teased an image which apparently connects to Nicholas Flamel, a character who’ll appear in the upcoming sequel, and who is namedropped repeatedly in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – or, as it’s called everywhere outside America, The Philosopher’s Stone.
What’s interesting about this post is that, instead of referring to the stone that grants immortality as The Sorcerer’s Stone, it calls the object The Philosopher’s Stone.
That name is certainly more accurate – the real-life alchemist named Nicholas Flamel was in search of a way to produce the Philosopher’s Stone when he was alive, and JK Rowling borrowed this legend for her first Harry Potter novel. The name was changed by Scholastic, who believed that American audiences wouldn’t know what a Philosopher is.
Just a nice little reminder that the publisher of the Harry Potter books in America thinks that you are dumb.
It’s possible that this Facebook post was written by someone who lives outside of America, but it’s also entirely possible that the upcoming movie will in some way, finally, fix the awkward discrepancy between the American and International names for the first Harry Potter story.
After all, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is a movie that spends a lot of time exploring the differences between British and American Wizarding culture. Could it be that, in the canon of the series, American wizards call Flamel’s work the Sorcerer’s Stone, while Brits call it the Philosopher’s Stone?
That may sound like a weird little piece of canon to introduce – after all, Hermione, Ron, and Harry all definitely call the item the Sorcerer’s Stone in American copies of the first movie and the book.
But there would be a nice poetry to taking this real-world naming conundrum and fitting it into the Wizarding World lore. Heck – if Harry and Ron’s Chocolate Frogs trading cards came from America, or if the book that Hermione uses to learn about Nicholas Flamel also comes from the States, it might explain the confusion once and for all.
Or, maybe the issue will just go unaddressed, and like the first Harry Potter movie, there’ll be two versions of Fantastic Beasts 2 made up, one for Americans, and one for everyone else.
That would be the most logical thing to do. It’d also be a lot less fun than a new piece of wizarding history to explore.