Happy Birthday Harry Potter. 34 today, apparently. Doesn’t seem like he should be that old, does it? But the truth is it’s now seventeen years since the first book came out, and seven years since the series ended.

Depressing, eh?

A lot can happen in seventeen years. I remember starting the Potter series in 2003 whilst I was at university (I needed some relief from the heavy reading on my English course. There’s only so many weighty nineteenth century novels you can take. Plus there was a hot girl in the student union that said she liked Harry Potter, and I thought…well…it wouldn’t hurt to have some knowledge, would it?)

Anyway, I digress. A lot can happen in seventeen years. Many of the people I was at university with are now married with kids and so the land is now abundant with a new host of potential Potterites. Bloomsbury seem to know that too as they’ve relaunched the Potter series with the slogan ‘It’s time to pass the magic on’.

All seven books are being reissued with brand spanking new covers by artist Jonny Duddle – if you recognise his style, he worked on Aardman’s ‘Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists‘ – which was based on the very funny books by Gideon Defoe – worth checking out.

Anyway, have a feast on the new covers below and compare them to the originals

Harry Potter Philosphers stone new and old book cover

Harry Potter chamber of secrets new and old book cover

Harry Potter Prisoner Azkaban new and old book cover

Harry Potter Goblet of Fire new and old book cover

Harry Potter Order of the Phonenix new and old

Harry Potter Half Blood Prince new and old

Harry Potter Deathly Hallows new and old book cover

A few things struck me whilst looking at them side-by-side. Firstly, how the originals have dated. I recall when I read them at the time I loved the fonts and bright colours, I never really noticed how different Harry looked from cover to cover. He goes from being David Mellor-like in the first one to finishing the series like a Hollywood lead. Had there been another book I’m fairly sure he would’ve ended up looking like Ax Battler from Golden Axe judging by his changing physical looks. By contrast Duddle’s Harry is identical and almost androgynous (I suppose he has to appeal to boys and girls).

With the enormous popularity of the books I’m surprised there hasn’t been a ‘house’ edition of the series yet. For example, doing all seven books in Slytherin or Gryffindor colours etc. You could even make an event out of it and have a sorting hat in each and every Waterstones during launch week. Plonk it on a kid’s head, it tells them what house they’re in, and then the kids could buy the books in colours of that house. This would be a double-win, as in an age where bookshops are suffering, having an event like this would actually encourage parents to take their kids to an actual book shop and do something they couldn’t do online.

Ooooh, how about that?




    • Agreed. When I heard they were updating the covers, my first thought was ‘Why?’ – They are wonderfully iconic and you can see them on a bookshelf a mile off.

      However the depth and richness of colour and detail in the new ones is superb. Must’ve been a daunting task to re-do a set of covers on such a popular series of books. Would like to see what covers they rejected.

    • Yeah, the covers give a lot away, don’t they? (Particuarly ‘Chamber of Secrets’ – that’s more or less the final scene) and to see Voldermort in the last one gives away that he survives to the very end.

      But…given the popularity of books and films, I think it will be hard for new readers to pick up these books without already knowing how they end.

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