Chapter 10: The House of Gaunt

Simplified Chinese (Mandarin: China)
Gāngtè lǎo zhái
冈特 Gāngtè = 'Gaunt (phonetic)'.
老宅 lǎo zhái = 'old dwelling'.
The old house of Gaunt
Traditional Chinese (Mandarin: Taiwan)
Gāngtè de jiā
剛特 Gāngtè = 'Gaunt (phonetic)'.
de = connecting particle
jiā = 'family'.
The Gaunt family
Gōnto no ie
ゴーント Gōnto = 'Gaunt (phonetic)'
no = connecting particle
ie = 'house'.
The House of Gaunt
Vietnamese (Chinese characters show etymology)
Ngôi nhà của Gaunt ngôi nhà = 'a house'.
của = 'belonging to'.
Gaunt = 'Gaunt'.
The Gaunt's house

The House of Gaunt sounds like a family lineage with a mansion to its name in a similar way to the House of Black (although the name 'Gaunt', being the same as the word 'gaunt', suggests something less magnificent). In fact, the last survivors of this proud lineage lived in a hovel.

'Gaunt' is transliterated the same way in the Mainland and Taiwanese translations, 冈特 / 剛特 Gāngtè.

The problem is the translation of the word 'house'. In its most basic usage, a house simply refers to a building that serves as living quarters for a family or families. But when it occurs in the form 'House of + Family Name', the word 'house' generally refers to a family, including ancestors, descendants, and kindred. The expression has a distinguished feel to it and is often used of nobility or royalty ('the house of Tudor'). It does not refer to a physical house or building.

In this case, the Mainland translator uses the simple expression 老宅 lǎo zhái, 'old residence' to translate 'house'. lǎo indicates that the house has a history, not that it is old and decrepit. The Taiwanese translator uses the word jiā meaning 'family'. The Vietnamese translator uses the word ngôi nhà meaning 'house (a building)'. Japanese uses ie, which can refer either to a physical home or a family lineage.

Contrast this with the way 'house' is translated in the 'House of Black' at Book 5 Chapter 6, which similarly refers to an ancient lineage, and the 'Riddle House' at Book 4 Chapter 1, which is just a physical house.

  Riddle House House of Black House of Gaunt
Simplified Chinese (China)

lǎo zhái
'old residence'
Traditional Chinese (Taiwan)

'house, building'
lǎo zhái
'old residence'


'family, lineage'

'house, household'
Vietnamese ngôi nhà
dòng họ
'family, lineage'
ngôi nhà

The translators have stumbled with this usage at some stage. The Mainland and Vietnamese translators err on the side of a physical house at this chapter title. The Taiwanese translator did so at The House of Black.

(Detailed notes on the chapter can be found at Harry Potter Lexicon. This chapter features the ditty Hissy, hissy, little snakey.)

Chapter 9
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