05 October 2005

Mad for Harry Potter

Some of you who used to read my previous blog over at tBlog may recall that a few weeks ago I posted about a collective of hobby translators who translated the latest Harry Potter book into German in a matter of hours. Desperate, but kind of cool, I thought at the time. But the definition of desperate in relation to Harry Potter has just shifted here in Germany, as expatica reports. (It's only a short article, so I'll inlcude it in full).

HANOVER, GERMANY - The stress of standing in line to buy the German edition of 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' proved too much for a man in Germany, who ran amok and threatened to kill people unless he got a book, police said Tuesday. The unnamed 24-year-old man stormed into a book shop in the Hanover railway station and absconded with six copies of the German-language edition, which went on sale nationwide on Saturday.

Finding it hard to carry the books while running, he dashed into another shop on the railway
concourse and pushed shoppers aside to demand a shopping bag from a sales clerk. He punched a customer in the face when admonished for being rude.

With police in hot pursuit, the Potter fan raced across a crowded train platform, threatening to kill anyone who got in his way. Officers finally tackled the man, who was unarmed aside from the six 900-page books.

"Suspect said he could not stand the suspense of not knowing who the half-blood prince was," a Hanover police spokesman said. "Suspect was informed that he will likely have plenty of time for reading long books in his jail cell."

J.K. Rowling's sixth instalment in the Harry Potter series has already broken all publishing records in Germany since its launch on Saturday, with more than a million copies sold nationwide.

I don't know who did the translation of what the police spokesman said, but it came out kind of funny. Everyone knows that german uses more definite articles (i.e. 'the') than English, not fewer, but never mind. That's not really the point. The point is this: OMFG, a Harry Potter fan did what? Umm, why? And why did he need six copies, I wonder? For five of his similarly desperate mates who were indisposed and couldn't make it to the train station? What a muppet. I reckon J.K. rowling has a lot to answer for, quite frankly.