MuggleNet Preview: “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” Illustrated Edition
In just under four months, on October 6, the Jim Kay-illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone will be available to own. We’re sure many of you have already pre-ordered a copy, available from both Bloomsbury (UK) and Scholastic (US), to add to the collection. However, many more are still divided; is this book going to be for the life-long Potterheads, casual fans, or for youthful first-time readers?
Well, hopefully, MuggleNet can help you answer that since we were recently invited along to Bloomsbury HQ to a bookseller preview of the first book. Hot off the press – they have literally only just started arriving back from the printers – roughly bound copies were available for our perusal under the watchful eyes of the Bloomsbury team!
SO WHAT IS IT?
Illustrated stories can come in all shapes and sizes, from picture books to graphic novels, so what exactly does Bloomsbury mean by “illustrated edition”?
Well, first and foremost, in this case, the images are there to accompany the text. They never overpower it but add to and complement it in numerous forms. There are full- and half-page images, some of which vividly depict the scene you are reading and others that merely show a character or object found in the text. Furthermore, there are images that embellish and adorn the text. The placing of all the creations, how some seem to burst from the page while others blend into the background, is executed impeccably, always aiding the story and carrying you through to the next moment.
There are many pages where there are no images at all. At first this was disappointing, but after witnessing the size of the book, totally understandable – personally, this writer is rather nervous for Order of the Phoenix!
HOW IS IT ILLUSTRATED?
Jim Kay has a distinct, rather classic style to his drawings, that often feel similar to the original UK Potter covers by Cliff Wright, and this approach is taken through the book. However, Kay isn’t afraid to adapt this style according to the scenes’ needs, which makes each turn of the page almost as exciting as the first time you read it. From oil character portraits to text book sketches and digital landscape paintings, each idea has its own palette and form yet still fits in cohesively with the rest of the images. There is also a wonderful sense of fun and humor in the images – Dudley’s baby pictures are a work of art in themselves. And just wait until you see the ghosts!
IS IT CANON?
Okay, so slightly unfair; this book is just one person’s imagining of the story. However, there a few images that we have been informed were signed off by Jo but aren’t necessarily content previously found elsewhere. We shall hold this thought for a later date, but we are sure it will provoke some debate among certain MuggleNet staff members.
WHO IS IT FOR?
Everyone – just like all the Harry Potter books!
In all seriousness, there is no denying these will make excellent additions to any Potter fan’s collection. Even the more occasional fans may be intrigued by them since they almost start again in bringing these stories to life, illustrating scenes, items, and characters missing from the films. However, they will also make for a great introduction to the stories for young readers – although a helping hand from an adult may be required to hold the book open! Far from inhibiting the imagination, the images are so emotive that they could only help stimulate it further and engross a new reader. They are, as the Bloomsbury press release rightly said, spellbinding.
Do we have you convinced? Will you be buying a copy? Let us know in the comments below, and in the meantime, check out the images that have already been revealed.