judging a book by its cover

Judging a Book by its Cover: Prisoner of Azkaban

I first got interested in book covers because of Harry Potter. I would spend hours pouring over grainy .jpg scans of different editions. At the time, each language had its own cover. (Although that’s changed. I have a copy of the new American cover by Kazu Kibuishi cover in Russian.)

I even have a collection of Sorcerer’s Stone, which I’ll share with you another time, but for today, I wanted to post about Prizoner of Azkaban, which I’m currently listening to on audiobook.

28143415 This is the audiobook cover, right? and it’s really nice. I was like “Why don’t I own this yet?” Well, because, as far as I can tell, it’s not a print cover. The Pottermore ebooks and audiobooks got new covers, but those new covers never got print editions. (Bummer.)

I like this cover. It reminds me of the “adult edition,” but with just a hint more magic. I mean, it’s 2016. It’s Harry Potter. Nobody cares if a “grown-up” is reading it – and if they care, they’re snobs, ignore them.

5The Mary GrandPré editions, of course, are what I grew up with as an American. My auntie bought me a boxed set of the first three books in hardcover for Christmas one year, after I had borrowed them from the library and read them feverishly since the summer.

In my mind, these – hardback cover with the dust jacket, art by Mary GrandPré – will always be the “real” Harry Potter books. Don’t get me wrong, I love the other covers, too (or why would I have a collection of 20+ Sorcerer’s Stone?), but these are the books of my childhood and I was little bit sad when I replaced them in the library with the new British editions.


Which, of course, are gorgeous. I noticed that both the new American and new British covers switched from focusing on the hippogryff flight to the same scene of Harry casting his Patronus in the fight against the Dementors.

Why? I have no idea. Is it a coincidence? Is it because the hippogriff flight was kind of a thing with Harry/Hermione ‘shippers, and the Harry/Hermione vs. Ron/Hermione ‘ships is the stuff of fandom legend?

Here’s a collection of Prisoner of Azkaban in translation, which all feature the hippogriff flight. For some reason, Hermione isn’t with Harry in the Dutch and Swedish covers. (Maybe it’s not the flight to rescue Sirius, but the first time Harry flies on a hippogriff, in Care of Magical Creatures with Hagrid?)

I could go on about Harry Potter covers all day, but I won’t. Instead, let’s end with two editions that show a scene not depicted on any other covers: the 2015 Spanish-language edition, featuring the scene where Harry meets Buckbeak for the first time, and the original German edition, which shows Sirius/the Grim.

The 2015 Spanish-language cover clearly drew inspiration from the movies – check out that uniform. I wonder if future editions will learn from fandom, and we’ll see Desi Harry or a “racebent” Hermione?

I hope so. I’ll definitely buy those editions.

P.S. If you live in a country with a different Harry Potter cover is sold than the U.K./U.S./Japanese editions, send me a message. I’ll pay you to pick it up and ship it over!


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