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Judging a book by its cover

by David Haber

We finally have images of the covers of the American and British versions of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and if these covers are anything like previous Harry Potter book covers have been, these new covers potentially tell us a lot of what is going to happen in Book 7.

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Reader Comments: (Page 41)

the elf that is behind harry does not look scared... in face he/she is holding harry's shoulder like he/she is trying to pull harry back or prevent him from going away... and ron here looks really shocked and scared (and is going back) whereas harry looks determined and angry(and is going forward) and hermoine looks scared and confused... is this trying to show how they are portrayed in the whole book 7?

Posted by Anjana from Baltimore on June 12, 2007 11:12 AM

Draco is the name of the constellation dipicted as the dragon, one of the lesser versions of the myths associated with it is that (get this) fought against Minerva in the wars between the giants and the gods. According to the myth he was defeated by Minerva and cast into the heavens.

The dragon in the picture does look a little tattered like the rest of them. There could have been a minor battle with Minerva, Draco and the trio (and possibly others?) where Minerva defeats Draco and talks some sense into him. Maybe Draco does become animagus and the dragon is Draco.

Posted by Reg from Texas on June 12, 2007 12:54 PM

If you remember at Dumbledore's , harry glimpsed what he though was a pheonix flying into the distance. I dont believe this was a Pheonix at all, but the dragon on the cover, so the dragon is Dumbledore.

Posted by andrew from WV on June 12, 2007 1:11 PM

I don't think the dragon is an Animagus. I'm more inclined towards Norbert.

Posted by Aditi Dani from India on June 12, 2007 1:31 PM

I agree that Hermione is crouching down on the dragon due to the fact that she does not like flying.

When you zoom in on the UK children's cover, underneath Harry's left arm, that clearly appears to be a baby dragon sculpted on top of the armor (a helmet?). Also, call me loony, but when I first saw this cover, I thought that they might be underwater, being pulled backward through that archway; although Harry appears to be swimming toward something. Could this be the Chamber of Secrets -- perhaps an entrance from underneath the Black Lake? After reading everyone else's comments, however, I am not as convinced of this as I once was. Take a look at the US cover of Year 2, Chamber of Secrets; those archways look an awful lot like this one. But, then again, there are a lot of stone archways throughout the series -- including at Gringotts.

The angle of the foot in front of Ron also causes question. It is definitely a left shoe. The position of Ron's body appears to be a little off from the way the foot is sticking out. Also, someone commented that they thought it looked like the collar of Ron's robe appears to be being pulled back. Could someone be behind them? Neville perhaps?

Speaking of the dress robes, could they possibly be for graduation? Bill and Fleur's wedding is probably more likely, but I thought I'd toss that out there. Also, those two small bottles in the foreground look like potion bottles, and I believe someone commented on them matching Ron's and Hermione's dress robes. Not a coincidence.

With regard to the clouds next to the castle, I see a woman's profile glancing upward toward the castle and those wispy clouds heading toward the full moon. The large mass of dark clouds to the left of her face are her hair. At first glance, I thought that those small wispy clouds might be dementors. A favorite game when I was a child was to lie on the ground and look up at the clouds to see what I could see. This has been fun! And, fully intended by the artist, no doubt.

Lastly, I've been waiting for someone to comment on the books sitting on the shelf behind Jo in the photograph on the UK adult cover. We've all been so captivated by the drawings, but let's not put it past her to purposefully place a book or two on her shelf to help us along!

Posted by Patti from Mill Creek, WA on June 12, 2007 5:02 PM

Has anyone noticed that it looks like a portion of the fields (lower left corner) are on fire?

Perhaps set aflame by a dragon (this one? or is there another, unfriendly dragon?). Or perhaps, the fire is the result of destroying a horcrux...

Posted by Lisa from Ann Arbor, Michigan on June 12, 2007 5:55 PM

So much was missed out of the first film, that it seemed odd to me that the scene with Norbert hatching was included for no apparent benefit to the story line. Could it be that JK insisted that Norbert featured, because she knew that we would eventualy need to know about him? My vote has always been that Norbert would reappear at some point.

Posted by David Gee from Winchester on June 13, 2007 05:42 AM

i think animagus people have some affiliation with those animals which shape they get after becoming animagus. so i don't think that dragon can be aberforth because as far as we know, aberforth is related a lot to goats. his bar is also full of smell of goats as we see in order of phoenix.

Posted by hassan from pakistan on June 13, 2007 05:54 AM

its obvious by the back of the book that harry go back to hogwarts at some point. i think that the portal type thing they are going through might be the veil in the department of mysteries. it seems to me that ron and hermione are being pulled into the portal because hermione seems to be reaching out, as though to grab hold of something to stop herself being pulled in.

and the special edition cover im guessing the dragon is norbert, as jkrowling said somethign about an old character coming back into it and harry having a new pet.
maybe norbert be harrys new pet.

Posted by Daniel from UK on June 13, 2007 08:39 AM

What a great picture with the three of them riding a dragon! To me the town below looks more like a German or Swiss town than an English one, and the mountains certainly don't look English... or Scottish. I would hazard a guess that they have been on a visit to Durmstrang or possibly to either Albania or Roumania. It looks as though Harry has been playing the hero and rescuing the other two!

Posted by Joe from England on June 13, 2007 12:53 PM

Norbert must be the dragon!

it makes perfect sense, as in the 7th book, 7 years have gone by, making norbert 7 years old. but maybe 1 dragon year is 7 years like it is for a dog! so norbert would actually be 49 in dragon years, a fully grown dragon and harry may be told this by Hagrid, who loves dragons.

Posted by Alex from England, london on June 13, 2007 2:25 PM

David Gee:
As to the scene with baby Norbert being deliberately added into the first movie by JK, the only scene she says she personally had anything to do with in any of the movies is when we see Lily being ed by Voldemort, when they are at the house in Godric's Hollow in the first movie.

Posted by Evie from California on June 13, 2007 11:51 PM

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