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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 7)

First impulse was that the sword-wielding critter was a goblin; the armor is goblin-made, and may have belonged to Slytherin himself (stylized snake on the breastplate); rubies though, suggest Gryffindor (jewels in house hourglasses). Gringotts makes sense, although it could be some previously unknown treasure room in Godric's Hollow. Ron and Hermione coming from a wedding or some such makes sense. For the answer to these and other questions, stay tuned.

Posted by et from Oklahoma on March 29, 2007 09:49 AM

The US version tells me that Harry is in control. He has no fear or distress on his face, he has the locket, and is reaching/waiting for something that he thinks/knows destroy the Dark Lord. The Dark Lord is not looking up where Harry is looking. He is looking straight ahead holding his hand up to stop what is coming.

It could be the climax at Hogwarts where Voldemort is put to an end by Harry witnesses by all the students.

I then can't explain the curtains or wood ruins!

It could also be Harry going into the Pensive perhaps to see what may scare Voldemort so he is safe because he is in a memory?

Posted by Jenny from Centreville,VA on March 29, 2007 09:56 AM

If you zoom in on the US cover, Harrys' eyes are green.

Posted by Mike from Louisiana on March 29, 2007 10:01 AM

I just wanted to comment on the location of the American cover. In OOTP Sirius d in a room in the Department of Mysteries that is described as an Ampitheatre, is it not? Harry fights belatrix amidst the rows of seats, doesn't he? That could be where Harry and Voldemort are fighting. We never did find out what that curtain was that Sirius fell behind. Could the curtain on the cover be one and the same?

Posted by Anonymous on March 29, 2007 10:05 AM

It's possible, but this ampitheater looks much bigger than that one, and it appears to be outdoors.

Posted by Dave Haber from Los Angeles, CA on March 29, 2007 10:09 AM

Great stuff, folks.

The US cover seems really interesting because, featuring Harry and Voldemort, it's not far from the climax (another idea is that it's only a free interpretation of the fight between goodness and evil).

Anyway, from what we see, Harry is going to win over Voldemort (relief...)

If they really look at something, there are invisible things. It reminds me of the invisible dementors. They could only be felt, but not seen. Maybe a good reason for the patronus.

Last idea: there is no one else, only spectators in the background, like in an arena.

Posted by herve from strasbourg on March 29, 2007 10:18 AM

Well, I have noted that Ron and Hermione are wearing green and purple robes respectively, and that there are two stoppered potions bottles below Harry in corresponding colours. Perhaps significant?

Posted by KatyPlusOne from Corby, England on March 29, 2007 10:21 AM

On the UK children's book, I see the smoke on the back cover as the Forbidden Forest burning, and I think I see scorch marks on Ron's robes on the front cover. The wounds on Harry's arms could be scratch marks from branches -- Forest, or Whomping Willow -- but they are also suggestive of a werewolf bite. It could be the shape of a wide open wolf snout showing top and bottom teeth marks. This would tie in with the full moon.

Darren, interesting point about the small picture with what looks like engraved shapes. I wonder if Hermione's Ancient Runes class shed some light on the symbols. I don't know how important they be though. I have 3 children's UK editions (bought for me in Ireland when they first came out). PS shows Dumbledore in that spot, COS shows Hedwig behind the bars of her cage, PoA shows Sirius in dog form, or the Grim. The picture of Hedwig is a curious one to put in that spot, except that it is a detail from the front cover which fits there neatly. Maybe the picture symbolizes something caged which be set free (basilisk).

Posted by Patty from Quincy,Massachusetts on March 29, 2007 10:23 AM

Ok, now I have seen these I am more excited than a kid at Christmas!

The illustrator for the UK children' edition is the same illustrator who did OotP and HBP, perhaps this can help us decipher the 'clues'. On the back cover of both OotP and HBP the illustration shows us places that are involved towards the end of the novel - does this mean that Hogwarts feature in a dramatic climax to the series.

The front cover of the children's book is fascinating! Although I am now worried for Ron's well being, his eyes are focused on something and he has a look of absolute terror in his eyes, he also seems to be falling backwards (gulp).

I think all the comments on here are great - I wouldn't have spotted half the things in the pictures!

Posted by Orlando from England on March 29, 2007 11:19 AM

I don't know if anyone else pointed this out, but we have seen several (and kind of important) mistakes made on the covers. The cover of HBP shows Dumbledore's hand unhurt, and Harry once again holding his wand in his left hand. The cover of OOTP also shows Harry holding his wand in his left hand. I'm wandering what mistakes (if any) are on the DH cover.

Also, if you look very carefully you can see the scar on the US cover. Look at the tuft of hair close to the middle of Harry's forhead. Just to the left of that, I believe is the scar. Now, if I'm mistaken, then I see this as a likely possibility. Keep in mind this is assuming that Harry is a horcrux. Since the cover shows Harry and Voldemort in what is presumed to be the "final showdown", then Harry must have found a way to destroy the horcrux within himself without ing himself, in order to actually try to take on Voldemort. That is all assuming that there is no scar on the cover and that Harry is a horcrux.

Posted by Robbie from Tijeras, New Mexico on March 29, 2007 1:26 PM

I think that the elf on Harry's back is either Dobby or Kreacher. I think it might be more possible that it is Kreacher, because J.K.Rowling asked the director of Harry Potter to make sure that he put Kreacher in the 5th movie as he would be very valuable in book 7, so maybe this was why because he was gonna help him in some way. But then he is a supporter of Voldemort so why would he help Harry him? I didnt even notice that was an elf. Thanks for mentioning it!

Posted by Nuzzy from England on March 29, 2007 1:37 PM

Wow! It's great to finally have a visual image of the last book. Someone may have said this but the dressy robes worn by Ron and Hermione do look like wizard wedding attire. If it is, why is Harry not dressed up as well? They were all going to Bill and Fleur's wedding. Unless, that is not the occasion that is pictured.

Also, Harry's glasses reflect a bright white light somewhat like large flames, so it seems to me that wherever they are, flames have erupted either as protection of a vault if they are at Gringotts or as a means of destruction.

As for the creature that is weilding the sword--if that is Gryffindor's sword (and it must be with the rubies on the hilt), would anyone other than a "true" Gryffindor be able to use it? I think that would rule out Kreacher whose true loyalties were with Slytherin. Maybe Dobby. But, obviously whoever it is, the identity is important which may be why we cannot make out who it is.

Posted by Hannah on March 29, 2007 2:43 PM

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