HBP Speculation: UK/US Omission/Addition [SPOILERS]

July 20, 2005

SPOILER WARNING: Major spoilers for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince follow. Do not read below unless you have finished the book (or don’t care).

This message board post points out an intriguing difference between the UK and US versions of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Here are the relevant passages in each:

‘Come over to the right side, [name deleted], and we can hide you more completely than you can possibly imagine. What is more, I can send members of the Order to your mother tonight to hide her likewise. Your father is safe at the moment in Azkaban … when the time comes we can protect him too … come over to the right side [name deleted] … you are not a killer …’ p. 552-553 UK

"He cannot kill you if you are already dead. Come over to the right side, [name deleted], and we can hide you more completely than you can possibly imagine. What is more, I can send members of the Order to your mother tonight to hide her likewise. Nobody would be surprised that you had died in your attemptto kill me — forgive me, but Lord Voldemort probably expects it. Nor would the Death Eaters be surprised that we had captured and killed your mother — it is what they would do themselves, after all. Your father is safe at the moment in Azkaban…. When the time comes, we can protect him too. Come over to the right side, [name deleted]… you are not a killer…." p. 591-592 US

Clearly, the US version contains a more detailed description of the speaker’s plans than appears in the UK version. This is notable, since I was under the impression that the changes to the book are mostly limited to word spelling and grammar differences. Some of the responses to the message board post linked above suggest that the US version hints at the possibility of a certain character faking his/her death, since it’s already been brought up in the context of the story. Personally, I think that unlikely for several reasons. Instead, I am inclined to think this a quirk of the different publishers, or possibly a cut made for space in the UK version. If so, however, it is a peculiar cut to make at a crucial point in the story. Surely a cut elsewhere in the chapter would have been easier and less significant. If anyone has further suggestions of why this difference may exist or more examples of the variations between the two versions, please post them in the comments.

SPOILER WARNING: Major spoilers for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince above. Do not read unless you have finished the book (or don’t care).

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