One of my most anticipated bookish releases for 2017 is the new illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the next in the series from Jim Kay.
Today, the new cover was revealed and this is what it looks like:
It’s really not what I was expecting, and I’m really pleased about that.
The first two illustrated Harry Potters were very reminiscent of the original UK covers. If you look at them side by side, you can see how Kay stuck with two key images for each one – the Hogwarts Express and the flying Ford Anglia – and also used a very similar colour palette, especially for Chamber of Secrets:
(I have to admit, I was a tiny bit disappointed with the Chamber of Secrets cover. It’s a bit too similar to the old one.)
In that vein, I was expecting Prisoner of Azkaban to proudly display Buckbeak the Hippogriff, with lots of purples and a traditionally magical colour palette.
But there’s no Buckbeak! Instead, Kay has gone with another important image from this third book in the series: the Knight Bus, which Harry catches shortly after blowing up his aunt. (These books must sound really brutal to anyone who hasn’t read them.) One thing that’s interesting is that Kay’s version of the Knight Bus is pretty close to how it appeared in the film. It even looks like it’s about to stretch upwards to get in between two buses:
The new cover is also much darker than its two predecessors. There’s a lot of shadow going on and the suggestion of fog. Prisoner of Azkaban is the point where the series first started to become more adult: the trio are entering their teenage years, and it’s upping the ante. The Dementors first arrived in this book, a physical manifestation of some of the darkest feelings a person can have.
It does hark back to the old cover – that magical colour palette is still there, with lots of midnight blues and deep purples and luminescent glows. However, it’s decidedly more grown-up. We are at something of a turning point, and the slightly grittier – yet still whimsical – cover gives us a clue as to the sort of thing we might find inside.
That’s not to say we didn’t have the odd gruesome picture in the previous two illustrated editions. That first glimpse of Voldemort, anyone? *Shudder*
As J. K. Rowling said,
‘Well, which part of ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ did you think was light and fluffy?’