Favorite Harry Potter Book Covers

While laying in bed this morning contemplating what to write, the idea popped into my head to do a post on my favorite Harry Potter book covers. Yes, this is just an excuse to indulge in my Harry Potter fanaticism. I guess I will be rereading the seventh book soon as well. It’s about time too. The Harry Potter bug usually bites me once a year and infects me with a need to reread a Harry Potter novel, usually the first book. But for now I’ll focus on the covers.

Back in July, Bloomsbury announced that it will publish new covers for the UK edition of the Harry Potter books this September. Last year, Scholastic released new covers for the US edition of the books for its fifteenth anniversary. Here, I will compare the covers (the original vs. the most recent US and UK covers). I will highlight my favorites and will list the covers I like that were published in other countries.

When placed together, it’s easy to see the different elements the illustrators chose to emphasize. Kazu Kibuishi, who illustrated Scholastic’s 2013 covers (The illustration of Hogsmeade above is by Kibuishi.), always tries to place the focus on Harry, which makes sense because the story is about him. So Harry is always placed in the foreground sometimes as larger than the other characters or with a spotlight (glowing glasses). Jonny Duddle, the UK illustrator of Bloomsbury’s September 2014 books, emphasizes the obstacles Harry faces. Harry is usually drawn as a smaller figure in comparison to the other images in the scene to portray the enormity of the events he faces.

Mary Granpré, who designed the original US covers, maintains a cheerful/innocent tone that was probably perceived as more appealing to younger kids. Even as the book became more serious the covers still maintained a sense of innocence. The same goes for the original UK covers, which were designed by Thomas Taylor, Cliff Wright, Giles Greenfield, and Jason Cockcroft. Children’s literature has evolved much since the Harry Potter novels were first published and the evolution of the covers certainly show that. These days, it’s not surprising to see more serious, scary images on children’s book covers. So, without further ado…

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Scholastic’s August 2013 cover by Kazu Kibuishi.

I feel guilty for liking Kibuishi’s cover more than Mary Grandpré’s original. I get a bit sentimental over books and hate seeing the covers change sometimes but I do find this cover more appealing than the first. I like that it features Diagon Alley because it’s the presence of Diagon Alley that convinces us that a secret, magical world is waiting to be explored. I also like that the illustration consists mostly of blue, which gives it a mystical feel, and that Harry is placed in a spotlight, which is formed by Hagrid’s size. Hagrid is so big that, along with the crowd of people, even the buildings seem to shuffle around to give him space. Plus, the color around Harry and Hagrid is lighter, like a halo. Hedwig, perched on Harry’s shoulder, also helps.

The original UK cover by Thomas Taylor.
The original US cover by Mary Grandpré.

Harry’s face seems to have the same expression on both the original US and UK covers. This cover will always be a favorite simply because it is the first.

Bloomsbury’s September 2014 cover by Jonny Duddle.

This is my second choice because of Harry’s expression. He looks a bit puckish here. (Click the newer versions for a larger image.) Continue reading “Favorite Harry Potter Book Covers”

“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” by J.K. Rowling

The 2005 cover by Mary GrandPré. I still like it.
The 2005 cover by Mary GrandPré. I still like it.

I forgot what grade I was in when this book came out but I know I was in high school, probably a junior or senior. Harry Potter was such a craze back then that almost everyone would try to sneak a read in class, especially if the teacher had assigned a video for the class to watch. We would hold the book under the desk and attempt to read in the semi-darkness of the classroom. That’s exactly what the majority of my psychology class did. We were all reading as quickly as we could because it was rumored that someone important dies in this installment. But one day my psychology teacher got so frustrated with us reading and not paying attention to the lesson that he gave away the ending: “Look. Dumbledore dies now stop reading!”

“What?!” was my reply, “why Dumbledore?” Of all the people in the novel, why did Dumbledore have to die? This question pestered me when I first read the series. Back then I couldn’t grasp the meaning of Dumbledore’s death. I saw it as just another horrible occurrence in Harry’s life. Now that I’ve re-read the novel and seen the movies numerous times, I think I now know why Dumbledore had to die: he knew too much; to throw readers off; and he is a crutch.

Continue reading ““Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” by J.K. Rowling”

“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” by J.K. Rowling

Available on Pottermore and at your local book store.
Available on Pottermore and at your local book store.

I now realize that I should write about the books I read soon after completing them. If I wait, I will forget important things that I wanted to mention. Such is the case with this read. All I can recall of my immediate reaction upon completing it is that it’s still my least liked book in the series.

The first time I read this book, years ago, I was turned off by Harry’s angst and hardheadedness. This time it’s because of the same reasons plus the fact that Harry refused to do his homework and practice Occlumency, assuming that he knew best and could prowl around Voldemort’s mind without Voldemort being aware. Of course, this reason could also be attributed to his immense hardheadedness.

Quick summary:

Many things happen in this installment, afterall, it is a pretty big book. Things become more serious and though there are a few comical moments, the tone of the story is more mature. Harry and his pals are teenagers and are learning the ways of the world, including the fact that adults can’t always be trusted. In this installment, Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic, blatantly refuses to believe Lord Voldemort is back. He believes that Dumbledore simply wants to take his position as Minister of Magic. Fudge retaliates by discrediting Dumbledore and Harry Potter in the newspaper The Daily Prophet and places an informant, Dolores Umbridge, at Hogwarts to keep an eye on Dumbledore’s activities. Dumbledore simply sees Fudge as a nuisance because he has more important things to worry about—the return of Lord Voldemort.

Continue reading ““Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” by J.K. Rowling”