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Judging a book by its cover

by David Haber

The American cover of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix pictures the mysterious circular room leading to the Department of Mysteries, where the climax of the book takes place. The cover of the American edition of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince pictures Dumbledore and Harry around Dumbledore's pensieve, where we learn so much about the Voldemort and the mystery surrounding Harry (what we call here the Septology Mystery).

We finally now have images of the covers of the American and British versions of Harry Potter and the ly 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. (Click on the images on this page to see much larger versions.)

Click here to see larger image>Click here to see larger image
Cover art for British editions of ly Hallows

On the Children's edition British cover, we see Ron, Harry and Hermione, apparently fighting a fierce battle together, surrounded by bright shiny objects. Ron, not Harry, is wielding a ruby-decorated sword. The Adult edition of the British cover shows Slytherin's locket.

[Turns out, it's not Ron holding the sword... See the comments... -DH]

Are the bright and shiny objects in the foreground of the British cover the items they are searching through to find the horcruxes? Is a horcrux or two perhaps pictured there among the treasures? Why is Ron wielding the sword, not Harry? Ron is obviously scared, Harry looks determined, and Hermione seems to be fleeing. And, there are wounds on both Hermione and Harry's arms. Are they winning this battle, or losing?

And the picture of Slytherin's locket. Is this the one Harry and Dumbledore found in cave? Or is the "real" one, whereabouts still unknown, although suspected presently stolen from 12 Grimauld Place by Mundungus?

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Cover art for American edition of ly Hallows

The American cover is at once more understated than the British cover, and more ominous. The artwork for the full cover, which comprise the front and back covers of the book, shows Harry and Voldemort, not locked in combat, but both seemingly reaching out for the same thing, which we cannot see. And they appear to be in an outdoor amphitheatre, with people in the background looking on. There are also curtains, and wooden ruins in the foreground.

What are Harry and Voldemort reaching for on the American cover? Are they both trying to accio something?

On first glance, Voldemort and Harry seem to be doing the same thing, reaching upwards. But, a second look shows Harry's hand in a receptive position, while Voldemort's hand is in the position of pushing something away. Is Harry possibly accio'ing something, something that could spell Voldemort's doom, and Voldemort is trying to push it away and prevent Harry from getting it?

And what about the curtains and wooden ruins? Is this the stage of the amphitheatre they seem to be in? Did their battle start there, and destroy the stage? Or was it destroyed before they met there? And where could this amphitheatre possibly be, and why does Harry and Voldemort's showdown apparently take place there? Is this the hallowed ground that the title refers to?

The inner flaps of the British cover contain these notes about the story:

Harry is waiting at Privet Drive. The Order of the Phoenix is coming to escort him safely away without Voldemort and his supporters knowing -- if they can. But what Harry do then? How can he fulfil the momentous and seemingly impossible task that Professor Dumbledore has left him with?

Harry has been burdened with a dark, dangerous and seemingly impossible task: that of locating and destroying Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes. Never has Harry felt so alone, or faced a future so full of shadows. But Harry must somehow find within himself the strength to complete the task he has been given. He must leave the warmth, safety and companionship of The Burrow and follow without fear or hesitation the inexorable path laid out for him...

Interesting. The story starts again at Privet Drive, and the Order of the Phoenix is helping protect Harry against Voldemort and his supporters. Does this mean Voldemort knows about Harry's search for the horcruxes and is trying to get to Harry before Harry can destroy them all?

The notes also mention Dumbledore as being in the past. Is this a clue that he is truly ?

New Deluxe Edition cover art contains new clues!

On June 8, Scholastic editor Arthur Levine revealed the special edition cover of Harry Potter and the ly Hallows on the Today show on NBC TV.

Click here to see larger image

Mr. Levine said this image is one of his favorite scenes in the book and he specifically asked that it be the image of the deluxe cover. The new image shows our heroes, Harry, Hermione and Ron, riding a flying dragon! Wow! Is this a tame dragon? Wonder where that came from!

There is a small town below them, which is situated on a river. From the river we can be sure that this is not Hogsmeade. Does that mean that this town is Godric's Hollow?

Looking closely at the dragon, hold on a minute. It's got a grey beard! We've always assumed that the recurring theme with Dumbledore related to fire associated him with the phoenix, but dragons breathe fire! Is it possible that this Dragon is related to Dumbledore, or could possibly be Dumbledore, himself?

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Published March 28, 2007

This article is Copyright © 2007, David Haber, and may not be reproduced on other web sites or in print, in whole or in part, without expressed permission

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