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HBP cover thoughts - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
HBP cover thoughts
Okay, so Leaky posted the British cover, back included. If you want to be unspoiled in the matter of the cover, don't link.

It has a few different elements worth looking at, and others have done so, so I can't claim credit for noticing everything I'm about to mention. ;)

Elements of the cover
Hands: The end-folds have a pair of clasped hands at the bottom, bound by a golden chain/light sort of thing. One hand (forearm) appears smooth, the other rougher. The general assumption is that this is an older hand and a younger hand, and speculation has included Snape and Harry, ghost!Sirius and Harry, and several other young-old combinations. Any of them are possible, but my suspicion is that we're seeing a male/female rather than old/young combination, and I think it's Ron and Hermione. This is partly because Ron and Hermione appear, standing together, on the cover of the U.S. edition (or the tall standing thing, or whatever that was that came out a couple of months ago that had Ron, Hermione, and the mysterious redhead who is either Ginny or Lily), and also because of the focus on the forearms, which is where Ron was scarred at the end of OotP. Or it could be someone else altogether, of course. There's been speculation that the happier event that gets Harry off of Privet Drive is a wizarding wedding, and if so, it could be the bride and groom. (Though the sleeves appear to be plain school robes, imho, which would mitigate against something like that.) Or maybe it's Remus/Tonks. ;) Or Harry/Ginny. Or really any number of either old/young or male/female combinations. Which I guess doesn't really sort it out that well, does it? I think the only thing about the image is that it implies a kind of magical binding of two people that will occur. I'm interested in finding out who and what the nature of it is.

The setting: The setting of the scene appears to be a cave with an uneven rocky wall, and an underground lake with a pedastal in the middle of it. I don't have a lot of thoughts on it. I thought maybe it was the Hogwarts graveyard JKR has mentioned, but if so, it's a specialized part of the graveyard. A graveyard in a lake is not generally the way to go. Someone on underlucius's journal suggested that it's the Chamber of Secrets again, and that's quite possible by the look (and if is the CoS, that more or less locks in Ginny as the redhead on the U.S. cover). But I don't have a strong opinion for once.

The pedestal: The central image is a pedestal with what appears to be a Pensieve on top of it (the same image that's on the U.S. cover, with Harry and Dumbledore standing over it). It could be a Pensieve, it could be a new magical device that's related to a Pensieve but not exactly the same (holds older memories, maybe? Shared memories?). Whatever it is, its location suggests that Harry will use it for some kind of "travel," as we've seen him use the Pensieve previously.

The boat: There is a small boat across from the pedestal. It has the same green glow as the material in the Pensieve (?). Above the surface, it is empty, but the reflection under it shows a blurry outline of a passenger, possibly holding an orb of some kind. Communications with the spirit world? It would fit with the imagery, but we haven't had enough experience with that part of the Potterverse to make a strong guess.

The ring: At the top of the spine, there is a signet ring with a square stone. I only have one of the British editions (a Canadian edition, actually, but it has the same art)... does each have an icon at the top of the spine? In the case of the one I have, OotP, the icon is a feather, which symbolizes the Phoenix--a pretty direct link to the title and to Fawkes. If this is generally the way it goes, the ring is probably nothing more than a symbol of the Half-Blood prince. Er, did I say, nothing more? ;p What I mean is that as an object, it probably doesn't figure terribly heavily. But what is it? What color is the stone? People have said purple and black. It looks kind of brown-ish on my screen, which a garnet would, so it could be a dull red (Gryffindor color). It has a lightning-bolt shaped crack in it, which ties it to Harry, but we know from JKR that Harry's not the HBP. But the HBP may be connected to the prophecy, and have knowledge that Harry needs to obtain.

Front cover: Not new; we've had that for awhile. Harry and Dumbledore in the middle of chains of fire. This is definitely going to be a Dumbledore-heavy book, one way or the other.

Guess that's it.
19 comments or Leave a comment
cheshyre From: cheshyre Date: June 13th, 2005 01:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm surprised you didn't mention the possibility the hands are Harry/Dumbledore.
When I saw the chained hands on the flap, I looked back at the cover and it appears that Harry & Dumbledore's hands are joined by a similar chain to the "closeup" on the flaps.
So I just assumed the hands were meant as another view of the cover image...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 13th, 2005 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, as I rambled, I realized several possibilities, including Harry-Dumbledore, though the sleeves don't seem to match on Dumbledore closely enough for it to be a close-up.
prettyveela From: prettyveela Date: June 13th, 2005 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
See for the hands, I was hoping it was Harry and whomever was the HBP. But I think that since Dumbledore is protecting himself and Harry with fire, and the two hands are surrounded by fire, that it's Harry and Dumbledore clasping hands. They're a "team" on the front cover and the two hands clasped together reinforces the team theme.

I think it's the vains showing on the older hand that makes me think it could be Dumbledore and not any one else under...well under 60 to tell you the truth, lol
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 13th, 2005 01:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think we might see more than one type of "bonding" in the course of the book. I don't think the veins mean all that much--it looks like a mature man's hand, anywhere over eighteen... or anyone who has matured early in that respect. Including someone who was scarred in that particular location.
prettyveela From: prettyveela Date: June 13th, 2005 01:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
it looks like a mature man's hand, anywhere over eighteen... or anyone who has matured early in that respect. Including someone who was scarred in that particular location.

*nods* Well to me, the only other person it could be is Sirius, and I think that he's truly dead. That arm just looks like an arm that's lived ya know? It's seen a few things in it's lifetime and the person who it's attached to is either old or worn out before their time, that's how I saw it. :)

But once again, the fire thing is what makes a lot of people think that it's Dumbledore/Harry. If the fire weren't "protecting" them in both pics, I think people would have guessed other people.
maple_clef From: maple_clef Date: June 13th, 2005 01:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Assuming the paperback cover art is the same as that of the hardback editions, the icons on the top of the spine for the first four are: Dumbledore, Hedwig, Sirius (as Padfoot), Pigwidgeon. I think you're probably right in thinking there's not a whole lot of significance there...

I hadn't thought of the male/female option for the hands (I sort of assumed Harry/adult mentor figure), but it's a thought...
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 13th, 2005 01:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmmm. If OotP has Pigwidgeon, it's not the same (or the Canadian art is different); all my OotP has is a feather. Can't find an image just now. But yes... it seems to be mostly a case of putting a simple emblem up.
maple_clef From: maple_clef Date: June 13th, 2005 02:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sorry, that was probably a bit unclear: Pig was on GoF - my copy of OoTP has a phoenix feather, too
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 13th, 2005 02:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
:eyeroll: Don't mind me; I can't count.
lyras From: lyras Date: June 13th, 2005 02:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
The hands - I've seen speculation that the arms look more like their wrestling than simply bonded, although of course if there's powerful magic going on, there might be a very good reason for this.

Incidentally, I have a suspicion that "the happier event" that gets Harry away from the Dursleys will simply be his sixteenth birthday, with the Weasleys et al wanting to treat him for once.

Your speculations about the boat are very interesting, and have got me all excited! I hadn't noticed the shadowy reflection at all, but you're right, there's definitely something there.

One of my favourite moments in OotP was Dumbledore calling Voldemort "Tom" during the confrontation at the Department of Mysteries. I'm looking forward to much more Voldemort in this book.
sprite6 From: sprite6 Date: June 13th, 2005 02:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
Above the surface, it is empty, but the reflection under it shows a blurry outline of a passenger, possibly holding an orb of some kind.

I'm not crazy about the idea of Harry communing with the spirit world, because it seemed so important that Sirius's death be final, but now I'm convinced. It's odd, though - ghosts are visible in the mortal realm, so if this is a spirit boat of some kind, why would the spirit be visible only in the reflection? Maybe that's just artistic license. Hmm.

The ring is interesting too. Harry got his lightning-bolt scar when Voldemort cursed him and transferred power into him. Perhaps someone tries to transfer power into the ring, cracking the stone? Or the ring is used in a spell to transfer power, cracking the stone? That might explain why the shapes are the same. Or maybe the adult hand on the flap, which we can't see clearly, is wearing the ring, and when the bond or power transfer or whatever occurs, it' cracks the ring.

You are an excellent observer! I didn't notice half of this stuff.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: June 13th, 2005 02:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I'm on the shoulders of other observers. I only noted that the hand may not be an old hand, but a scarred one. The rest are things I've thought about after other people mentioning them.
darreldoomvomit From: darreldoomvomit Date: June 13th, 2005 02:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
the idea of the adult hand wearing it is interesting. i think that the ring will be something small in the book, and only hindsight will make it obvious, as hindsight always does. who knew why there was a small owl or a large dog on gof and poa?
sprite6 From: sprite6 Date: June 14th, 2005 03:38 am (UTC) (Link)
I bet you're right, although now that I'm aware of the ring, I'll be watching for any mention of one. Not that it matters - Pig didn't arrive till the last chapter.
darreldoomvomit From: darreldoomvomit Date: June 13th, 2005 02:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
remember the "Green Flame Torch"? whatever happened to that?
amelia_eve From: amelia_eve Date: June 13th, 2005 04:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
On the back cover, I didn't necessarily see the rowboat and the glowing birdbath thingie as being in the same scene. I thought it might be a collage of two separate images. This would make it harder to determine the context of either.

No brilliant insights about the reflected passengers in the boat, though.
dreagoddess From: dreagoddess Date: June 13th, 2005 08:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

*sudden thought*

The "cave" is actually the inner sanctum of the Chamber of Secrets, what the basilisk was really guarding. The Pensieve is a special one put there by the Founders, used to give the castle its personality and containing the memories of all four of them. Harry will use it to "travel" into the memories and find out about Godric (or Salazar, but my money's on Godric) the Half-Blood Prince.
erised1810 From: erised1810 Date: June 13th, 2005 10:07 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: *sudden thought*

yay. Thanks, I'e read the book now. *g*
I woudl be utterly SHOCKED if you gothe whoel premise rightthough. It soudns eerily plausible.
*tries to kee paayform other havily symbolic symbls and pixel-by-pixel analysis)
olympe_maxime From: olympe_maxime Date: June 18th, 2005 09:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Late Thoughts

I haven't seen the pictures yet (just back from an extended trip) but from what you describe of the golden 'bond' and the hands, it occurs to me that it might be Harry and Wormtail on the back cover, hmm? Magical bond and all. But Harry-Dumbledore does seem the most likely scenario....

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