Monday, 19 December, 2016 - 11:03

Before Harry there was Alice

by EllenBlogger

Did you know that Harry Potter is the fifth best-selling book worldwide, with over 107 million copies sold and that it is now the best-selling children's novel? But did you also know that before Harry Potter, the best-selling children's novel of all time was Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland? It may seem hard to believe for those of you who know the topsy-turvy world of Wonderland, with its endearing Mad Hatter and its frightening Queen of Hearts who is so fond of yelling for people to be beheaded. Yet it's not just children that these two novels appeal to. Adult readers love both stories too. But why?

As a child, I loved both books equally and have fond memories of my brothers, and even my mum, all fighting over each newly released Harry Potter book, so that in the end Mum decided to read us a chapter every night, like she used to when we were little children! However, it is not until I read the books for a second time, as an adult studying literature, that I realise the depth of the language hidden in both. Did you realise that, in Harry Potter, 'Diagon Alley' is actually 'Diagonally'? And that 'Knockturn Alley' is 'Nocturnally' (at night)? Each, of course, have their own connotation within the magic world.

Both authors tell their stories by using poems too. Have a read of the nonsense poem 'Jabberwocky' in Alice and Wonderland and 'The Sorting Hat Song' in Harry Potter. Both authors loved playing with language and J. K. Rowling uses Latin and obsolete words (words which are old-fashioned and no longer used). Here are a few examples:

  • 'Dumbledore' is old English for 'bumblebee', because she pictured Dumbledore humming to himself.
  • Apparate and disapparate combine the words 'appear', 'disappear' and 'evaporate'.
  • Protego Totalum means 'total protection'.
  • Grimmauld Place is a grim (depressing or serious) old place.

Have you ever read Alice in Wonderland or a Harry Potter book? What did you think?

Profile picture for user Capixt

Submitted by Capixt on Fri, 10/14/2022 - 17:47

I haven´t read it yet, but I watched the movies, and I think that both are cool, they transport you to different worlds and all the characters are interesting.

Submitted by Tolis5 on Sun, 07/11/2021 - 16:12

H.P is my favorite book,I prefer it from Alice in Wonderland. My favorite characters are Lord Voldemord and Bellatrix Lestrange. Who are your favorite characters??

Submitted by Stasiia_Ukr on Fri, 10/23/2020 - 06:47

I really enjoy Harry Potter book. So, the books are better than films. You won't regrate if you read them!

Submitted by hermione123 on Tue, 02/02/2021 - 13:18

I love Harry Potter series. And, I think the books are just better than the adaptation films. Agree with you Stasiia_Ukr ;D

In reply to by Stasiia_Ukr

Submitted by Tolis5 on Wed, 07/21/2021 - 14:43

I completely agree with you. The books are much better than the films,although the films are amazing,too

In reply to by hermione123

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Submitted by empty on Tue, 07/23/2019 - 07:42

Have you ever read Alice in Wonderland or a Harry Potter book? What did you think? I didn't read them but I watched the movies . I think Harry Potter is awesome .
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