Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Thoughts About the Harry Potter Illustrated Edition

Harry Potter Month is hosted by Faith at Geeky Zoo Girl and Micheline at Lunar Rainbows Reviews. This fun event runs throughout the month of July. Find out more about it here.

I love the Sorcerer’s Stone illustrated edition, I really do, but I have to admit I was a bit hesitant after I first saw the picture of Diagon Alley. It’s huge, incredibly creative, completely chaotic, and there are so many things to find. It is magical. My problem with it at first was that it was not the Diagon Alley that I knew. There’s nothing in Rowling’s text to say that Diagon Alley doesn’t look the way it does in the picture, but I had grown too attached to the movies.

I am not a visual reader. The majority of the time when I read a book I cannot picture the setting or what people look like. I find magic in the words themselves even though I usually cannot conjure up the picture in my brain. When I watch a movie that is based off a book it gives me the world and the characters in a way I never had before. It gives me something to visualize. So when I read the Harry Potter books I see Hogwarts, I see the lake, I see the great hall, I see the Hogwarts Express. The world that the movies bring to life, the actors that bring the characters to life are what I see when I read. To me, those images are a part of the books.

At first I was hesitant about liking the illustrated book because it was not showing me the world I knew and loved. Now I know that is what makes it magical. The art by Jim Kay is showing us the world of Harry Potter through different eyes. There’s new magic to experience in the artwork and the way it brings the story to life. One of my favorite pictures is the one at dusk where there are dozens of birds sitting on the Quidditch hoops. That one picture seems to bring the story into the physical world; of course the birds would want to sit on the hoops, I wonder if Filch has to go clean them off or if Madam Hooch has a spell to take care of the mess. I wonder if Oliver Wood ever had to chase away birds when he was playing keeper. The picture itself is beautiful, but the way it encourages readers to continue to use their imagination while reading and access the world in new ways is exciting.

Because of this book, I’ve stopped trying to see the Wizarding World one way. The visual world the movies provide will probably always be more prominent in my mind when I read, but now the art from the illustrated edition will help visually enrich the world I love.



  1. What an interesting perspective Christina^^ I'm very visual so I saw the entire Wizarding World in my mind's eye before I saw the films. That's one of the reasons why when they changed things in the films, it upsets me so. That being said, I'm REALLY excited about the new illustrated editions! I want to see another take on our beloved Wizarding World...and the fact you said that these encourage the readers to use their imagination excites me even more :D

  2. What a beautiful thought! I was mesmerised by the illustrated edition and I pre-ordered it as soon as it was possible, because I knew that I had to have it, but I was surprised by many of the illustrations and I also had to adjust them to my perception of things based on the films. I think I found it the hardest with the characters. But just like you I'm embracing the other vision and I'm looking forward to CoS - what quirks and surprises await us there?

  3. I'm so glad you shared these glimpses into the book. I bet those images are a mixture of fun and amazing. I can just imagine the amount of stuff hidden in the Diagon Alley one! I would love to experience the illustrated versions :D

  4. I started reading the books after seeing the first movie, and since then, the films' version of the world of HP is what's in my head, lol. But I think I could also fall in love with these illustrations; the detail in the Diagon Alley one is amazing!

  5. I love my illustrated copy, though I now have three different images of the wizarding world in my head, my original one, the movies, and the beautiful art from this latest edition of the books. I'm glad you are opening up your visual of Harry Potter. It's always fun to see/imagine something in a totally new light. They're all amazing.

  6. Very interesting post, Christina! I'm looking forward to getting an illustrated copy someday, but I love the thought of Oliver Wood shooing birds away during a Quidditch game. ^_^