Sheppard, Kate. "Harry Potter's creator denies her villains are anti-French," The Independent (London), November 28, 2000

THOUSANDS OF French children will be queuing up past midnight tonight to get their hands on the latest adventure of the world's favourite wizard, Harry Potter et la Coupe de Feu - but Harry will arrive in France to find himself the centre of a local row.

La Coupe de Feu, the latest Harry Potter book to be translated into French, appears amid accusations that Harry's creator, J K Rowling, has anti-Gallic intentions. The source of the row, of course, is "You Know Who" - or, as he appears in the French version, "Tu Sais Qui" - Harry's evil nemesis, Lord Voldemort. Ms Rowling has been accused of giving her villains French, or at least French-sounding, names: Voldemort, Malfoy and Pettigrew.

In an internet question and answer session with her French readers, Ms Rowling denied any anti-French intentions, and said she chose the names for their sinister sound, without considering their origin. Keen British fans will find some things have changed in translation. Harry and his best friends, Ron and Hermione, remain the same, and Harry still lives reluctantly with the Dursleys. But Hogwarts School is transformed into "Poudlard", Harry's hated potions master is "le Professeur Rogue," not Snape, and non-magical humans are known as "Moldus" instead of Muggles.

But Harry's phenomenal popularity is the same on both sides of the Channel, French-sounding villains notwithstanding. Gallimard, Harry's French publishers, have set a new record by printing 450,000 copies of La Coupe de Feu, and familiar scenes of excitement are expected when it goes on sale at one minute past midnight. Le Divan bookshop in Paris is holding a special "Moldus" party. FNAC Junior has invited 5,000 children to attend the midnight grand opening. A specially decorated "Magicobus" will be calling at book shops across Paris, and the normally highbrow radio station, France-Culture, is devoting its entire evening to Harry Potter.

The adventures of Ms Rowling's bespectacled hero have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide.

Potter's latest adventure arrives in France cover of the french version of the book pCopyright (c) 2000 Newspaper Publishing plc Record Number: 0E8960B545BB3DED