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Don't Judge a Book by its Cover

By Devina (The Charmed One)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is perhaps one of the most eagerly awaited books of this year. Therefore it came as no surprise that when the covers of the various editions were being made, a lot of interest was generated.

What I'm going to do first is just quickly describe the covers of the US edition, the UK children's edition and the UK adult edition, and then pretty much try and analyze hidden meanings behind them. Additional information: The US cover has been done by Mary Grandpre, while the UK covers have been designed by Jason Cockcroft.

Okay, we're going to deal with the US version first. The title is written in purple, with green swirling mist in the background, in the midst of which we see Dumbledore and Harry standing in front of an upraised bowl.

So what? First thing that I noticed was that again in a Harry Potter US cover, we see Harry holding his wand in his left hand. We know for a fact that his right hand is his wand arm, and while using the other hand to hold something isn't a crime, it makes more sense for him to use his wand arm while doing anything magical to produce better results. So how come this keeps coming up? Either Mary Grandpre hasn't been told about the discrepancy in what appears on the cover and fictional fact (Well, Harry Potter is fiction, but the wand arm thing is factual; hence 'fictional fact') or else there's something else we haven't thought of yet.

What's the upraised bowl all about? It could be the Pensieve for one. The green swirly mist could be coming from there, although I don't recall any mist from the Pensieve being green. Dumbledore seems to be showing Harry something in it. Working on the assumption that the bowl indeed is the Pensieve, Harry and Dumbledore are looking at memories. Probably Dumbledore's memory if that indeed is Dumbledore's Pensieve. A memory that could aid Harry towards defeating Voldemort? Or lead him to the half-blood prince? Anything is possible at this point of time. But the cover establishes that Harry and Dumbledore have grown closer than the last year where they were painfully apart. Or at least, if they are not closer, they are working together to achieve the same goal: the vanquishing of Voldemort. Harry did blame Dumbledore in a way for Sirius's death, and to completely forget his feelings on the matter is probably not easy for Harry, but these two will surmount their differences of opinion, and Harry will, and MUST, realize that being divided at this point over ANY issue is not going to help him one bit.

UK Children's Cover
Now, the UK children's cover looks like this: Fire surrounds Harry and Dumbledore yet again. In this cover version, Harry's wand is correctly in his right hand. Dumbledore is presumably shouting, with his wand held high. Harry also looking forward looks slightly anxious/apprehensive/SCARED TO DEATH! Ok, so any clues we can garner from here?

The wand hand debate doesn't hold here, since Harry is using what is termed as his 'wand hand'. Since Harry and Dumbledore feature on the cover yet again, we shall presume this to be 99.9% CONCLUSIVE proof that the MAIN roles in this book are of these two. Obviously, they both are major characters, but in the past books, Dumbledore has remained slightly behind…giving advice, but not doing anything himself directly. In this book, we can assume he's taking a more involved role in the story, and guiding, and directing Harry to what must be done to defeat, or rather, vanquish Voldemort. Again, it shows that Harry and Dumbledore are closer this year than in the previous. The scene shown on the cover probably is near the finale? Or is the finale for all we know…that is to say, the finale of the 6th book. If that indeed is the case, then we most definitely have a lot of excitement to look forward too!!!

UK Adult Cover
The background is black, with a book on a wooden table. The book is named Advanced Potion Making and the author's name is given as Libatius Borage. Libatius means "libation" (liquid offering) in Latin, and Borage is a medical plant. Fine, so what does this cover tell us? Well, methinks it tells us that…Harry passed his OWLs with perfectly good grades in Potions, and he probably takes up Advanced Potions for the NEWT level. Remember that Harry needs to take Potions at this level in order to qualify to become an Auror. This definitely makes that career option much more likely. Snape however, might not be too pleased about that, but Harry's grades will probably be good enough for him to accept Harry in his class. This also implies that Snape would be playing a bigger role than usual in this book.

Dumbledore…Snape…Harry… these 3 could definitely be connected in a really big way in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. But then again, judging a book by its cover isn't really fair, but when we think that the cover helps us to anticipate the EXCITEMENT of a book… I'm sure a little bit of judging won't hurt! :D Until the next article, adieu!

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