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Cover art!!! - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Cover art!!!
So, we've reached the point in our program when we get the cover art!


So, the U.K. cover has a blurb, but nothing we didn't already know, unfortunately--Harry must leave the safety of the Burrow to go on a Horcrux hunt. Bloomsbury! Come on, guys, if you're going to give us text, give us something we can work with, man! ;p

Anyway, general comments:

The American cover is dominated by reddish orange colors--like fire, but it's not flame-ish. It's the sky--sunset? Sunrise? Red in the morning, sailor's warning, red at night, sailor's delight. Which is it? We see a graveyard, a long, arching piece of stonework (part of the castle? Something else?), a bit of smashed wood, Harry, and Voldemort. The whole thing, Sirius fans, is framed by ragged curtains.

I'm inclined to think, since a castle appears on the back of the U.K. children's cover (more later), that we're dealing with a Hogwarts scene here, and JK mentioned something about a graveyard there. It's probably more of an impressionistic thing than an actual scene--Harry and Voldemort fight in a graveyard in front of a smashed piece of wood--but I'd expect all of those elements somewhere. The smashed wood could be smashed door. Something broken down for one or the other to get in?

Neither Harry nor Voldemort is wielding a wand, though both are posed as if for a duel (mirrored poses).

There seem to be at least two rows of whatever the stonework was, and it looks oddly like that bridge in the movie version of PoA... could that be what JKR was thinking of when she said something would surprise people with its prescience?

Obviously, the Drapery of Doom will figure in it somehow, and the posing of the characters before it, both apparently concentrating on it, may be significant. If Voldemort represents death (paradoxically by seeking immortality), then Harry represents life (again, paradoxically, by being willing to sacrifice it). How does the veil figure?

The way it will wrap around the book, Harry and Voldemort will be in exactly the same position, and which you'll see depends on which side of the book you're looking at. Voldemort will be on the back cover (obviously), Harry on the front. Each has his "back" hand lowered and his "forward" hand raised, fingers outstretched on both. With the cover spread out, they don't appear to be looking at each other, but I wouldn't read too much into that, since the cover is meant to be wrapped around the book, and they wouldn't both be in sight at the same time anyway. (On the other hand, one could see them both concentrating on the same thing and hypothesize an alliance at the end, but JKR has pretty firmly said that we're not going to see any merging, kthnxbai, so I suspect if they are both concentrating on something else--rather than on each other--it's because Voldemort wants it to do one thing and Harry wants it to do another. What if Voldie offers to bring Harry's beloved dead back through the veil and Harry has to stop him from doing it? That would be EEEK.)

No other figures appear with either. (Well, except for the dead under the gravestones, I guess.)

Any messages hidden here? I'm not seeing a lot, though I probably will after the book comes out.

The U.K. children's cover has more stuff on it. The cover shows Harry, flanked by Ron and Hermione (behind him, Ron on his right, Hermione on his left--or Ron on the left, viewer's perspective, and Hermione on the right). They seem to be in a treasure vault, surrounded by riches, and scared out of their minds.

They are all dressed in wizarding finery. Ron is wielding Gryffindor's sword Okay, I'm convinced that it's the elf holding the sword. We can see gold and jewels flying around, and an empty suit of armor. From the angle, they seem to be crashing into it from a tunnel of some kind. Falling?

A house elf is behind Harry with his hand on Harry's shoulder. It's most likely Dobby, but if R.A.B. is indeed Regulus, there's a good possibility that it's Kreacher, who is, after all, Harry's house elf.

This is a very different cover than the U.S. one, with its lonely looking Harry in a graveyard. Inspired by different parts of the book?

Given the finery, maybe this is near the beginning, close to the wedding?

The symbol at the top of the spine is a bisected equilateral triangle with a circle inside of it. I got nothing.

The back cover very distinctly shows a castle, and, while JKR might shock me, it would be a real shock at this point if it wasn't Hogwarts. Nasty looking stormclouds are building up against the night sky. All the lights in the castle are on. The door is open and light is pouring out.

There appear to be two different patterns of weather--the hills are green and healthy, but around the castle, there's a bare-branched tree and what appear to be snowdrifts. Hmmm.

The full moon may just be atmospheric for the cover, but it's probably not, given that Harry and Voldemort each has a powerful werewolf on his side. I will indulge my paranoia about Something Bad Happening to Lupin--despite my general belief that he got a reprieve--because if I expect something bad and it doesn't happen, I'll be very relieved, whereas in the reverse, it wouldn't have much benefit.

The two cover flaps show opposing images--the front cover flap shows Harry's Patronus, the back cover shows a snake curled in a crystal ball. Dumbledore was right about Nagini after all?

The U.K. adult cover is pretty simple--just picture of the heavy gold locket with the S on it. It is also the picture on the spine. The text is the same as the text on the children's edition. I didn't catch anything new and interesting here!
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hylarn From: hylarn Date: March 28th, 2007 11:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
If you look carefully, you can tell that Gryffindor's sword is held by a house-elf on Harry's back.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 28th, 2007 11:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Is it? I can't tell if it's the elf's hand or Ron's from that angle, since we can't see Ron's hand. I think you may be right, though--the coloring is more like the house elf's other hand than Ron's other hand.
(Deleted comment)
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: March 28th, 2007 11:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yep, house elf is holding the sword on the UK cover, and the kids are pretty banged up. Harry is wearing the locket on the US cover, if you look carefully... Apparently with the wrap Voldie will actually be on the inside back flap, so the cover will show the reaching skeletal hand, then if you unwrap the whole thing you see him. Cool! On the US cover I interpreted those gravestones as people originally--kind of like the shadowy death eaters on the GOF cover.
hermia7 From: hermia7 Date: March 28th, 2007 11:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
(Also, no wands on the UK cover either. Weird!)
tdu000 From: tdu000 Date: March 28th, 2007 11:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Having always thought Dumbledore was right about Nagini, I felt quite smug when I saw the picture. Unfortunately, I always thought Dumbledore believed Nagini was a horcrux becaue he believed Harry was one and I'd rather be wrong about that!

Thanks for the comparatively in-depth analysis. So far the discussion has mostly been a series of rather incoherent and excited comments, understandably considering it's freshness, so it's good to read something a little more thought-out.
chocolatepot From: chocolatepot Date: March 29th, 2007 12:51 am (UTC) (Link)
A house elf is behind Harry with his hand on Harry's shoulder. It's most likely Dobby, but if R.A.B. is indeed Regulus, there's a good possibility that it's Kreacher, who is, after all, Harry's house elf.

That's my theory for why they don't show his face. Kreacher and Dobby have different noses, so you'd know!
victorialupin From: victorialupin Date: March 29th, 2007 01:06 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad I'm not the only one convinced that the full moon is significant. I realize that artists just like full moons sometimes, but I think that it can't just be a coincidence now.

I've been theorizing that if it is a graveyard, the veils are part of another portal similar to the one at the DoM.
st_aurafina From: st_aurafina Date: March 29th, 2007 01:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Excellent analysis - the drapery of death is the first thing I thought of when I saw the US cover art.

There's parts of a suit of armor among the loot in the UK edition - what I thought was a goblet is actually a really detailed helmet with a dragon curled up on the top, and there's a breastplate with a snake device on the front. I thought it was a strange amount of detail, given that the rest of the treasure was very generic looking.

We'll all be seeing significance in the tiniest things for months to come yet!
harriet_wimsey From: harriet_wimsey Date: March 29th, 2007 01:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Actually, when I saw the helmet I thought it looked like a gryffin--Gryffindor's armor, maybe? If the breastplate has a snake (which I didn't notice) perhaps it's some sort of Founder treasure trove, either in Hogwarts or collected by Riddle.
From: severus_fangirl Date: March 29th, 2007 01:09 am (UTC) (Link)
I'd like to think it's sunrise. The war ends at the dawn of a new day?

And I know I'm crazy, but I think it's a Gringotts goblin pulling them out of a vault they've broken into....
victorialupin From: victorialupin Date: March 29th, 2007 01:16 am (UTC) (Link)
The Gringotts goblin theory actually makes a lot of sense, IMO. I know it could be logical for either Dobby or Kreacher to be with them, but I don't think either one would be wielding a sword.
redlily From: redlily Date: March 29th, 2007 01:16 am (UTC) (Link)
My first thought about the UK cover was that the kids must be in Gringotts -- which would actually be a pretty great place to hide a Horcrux . . . .
i_autumnheart From: i_autumnheart Date: March 29th, 2007 03:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Ditto - it looks a lot like they've all been thrown into a Gringotts vault, which immediately made me think of Harry's conversation with Griphook on PS about people getting sucked right through the vault door and then the vault being checked only once a decade (I think - books not on hand).

Having them have to rob Gringotts to get a Horcrux would be a fantastic echo / mirroring of the attempted theft of the stone in book 1!

Could the sword-wielding hand possibly be a Goblin rather than a house elf? Though, I have no problems with a house elf either - having one pop you into Gringotts vault would be the way to get it done...
darreldoomvomit From: darreldoomvomit Date: March 29th, 2007 01:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Re the US version, I thought that Harry and Voldemort where both reaching out for something, maybe something falling from the sky.... another horcrux.
miss_daizy From: miss_daizy Date: March 29th, 2007 03:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Or hoping for a little wandless magic to bring it their way.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: March 29th, 2007 03:28 am (UTC) (Link)
The American cover artist said that the lumps in the background are people, not gravestones.

Yeah, they look like gravestones to me, too.

I'm not finding the link to the comment just yet, but I'll keep looking.
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: March 29th, 2007 03:33 am (UTC) (Link)

Here it is

“The front cover of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows features a dramatic sky of oranges and golds. It depicts 17-year-old Harry with arm outstretched, reaching upward. The structures around Harry show evident destruction and in the shadows behind him, we see outlines of other people,” said David Saylor, Scholastic’s Vice President and Creative Director who has designed all seven Harry Potter covers.

cheddartrek From: cheddartrek Date: March 29th, 2007 04:53 am (UTC) (Link)
First off, I absolutely love the US cover. The others are all well and fine, but I love the US cover.

Secondly, and perhaps more interestingly, I spent a while thinking that I had discovered something significant when I couldn't see Harry's scar in any of the pictures. *!* Now I think it was just that I wasn't yet looking at the High-Res pictures. It's clearly visible on the UK kids cover, but still hard to make out on the US cover.

Speaking of the UK cover, what the devil are they doing? What the deuce is Harry wearing (look at his sleeve, it's like medieval or something)? And, why on Earth have they decided to rob Gringott's? (The last bit was a joke, though I suppose it's possible).

*Huggles the Cover Art*
From: (Anonymous) Date: March 29th, 2007 09:19 am (UTC) (Link)
In the UK children's cover Harry is trying to reach two bottles, one green,the other blue, like the robes Ron and Hermione are wearing.

One set of armour is there, definitely. You can see a shield on the left down corner, and an iron glove. There is another piece of armour I can't say what it is, but seems another helmet. In that case, we would have two sets, one with the Snake (Slytherin), the other with the gryffon...

There are lots of rubbies, which are also associated to Gryffindor, and gold dishes.

The crystal ball reflects windows, so it must be inside a building, possibly Hogwarts if it belongs to Trelawnay, but if you look carefully you will see that inside there are stars, five pointed stars, which can be a reference to the Blacks.

snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: March 29th, 2007 10:32 am (UTC) (Link)
The US cover looks as if Harry & Voldie are in some sort of amphitheatre being watched by an audience (not the DoM room, I think, that was rectangular and this one appears circular or oval). I'm hoping it's not the 'battle beyond the Veil watched by the shades of Voldy's victims' scenario, because that could very well suck.

Now I've seen the idea, the Gringotts vault suggestion for the UK cover is growing on me. They do seem to be getting sucked into something. And yes, those do have to be their dress robes, don't they? (We've seen both Ron and Hermione getting new ones, and Harry's look bottle green.)

The house-elf doesn't seem to have hair growing out of his ears, and the skin isn't wrinkled, so if the artist's got it right it must be Dobby not Kreacher?
snorkackcatcher From: snorkackcatcher Date: March 29th, 2007 10:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, and the back cover text is interesting -- the Order coming to Privet Drive again to escort Harry, suggesting a battle there near the beginning.
vytresna From: vytresna Date: March 29th, 2007 01:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
If not for Arthur E. Levine's comments, I'd think the U.S. cover was more symbolic than anything. That stonework in the background looks to me like The Arena.

In that case, it looks as though I shouldn't have spent so much time arguing against wandless magic.
vytresna From: vytresna Date: March 29th, 2007 01:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
(In Harry's case, that is, not Voldemort's.)
lacontessamala From: lacontessamala Date: March 29th, 2007 02:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
In the US cover, I think they're standing in the Great Hall at Hogwarts, since the ceiling is charmed to look like the sky and all. The splintered doors suggest to me that Voldemort has broken into Hogwarts. It makes sense to me that the final battle should be at Hogwarts. As far as the curtains--well, that could be either actual draperies, or it could be a shoe-horned clue about the Veil.
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