Analyzing the HBP Cover Art
The release of the cover art for the US and UK children and adult editions of
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on March 8th, 2005 has sparked
debate over possible plot hints the covers may give. This page contains random
notes and observations about the art.
US Edition by Mary GrandPré
1. The basin on the cover looks like a Pensieve, a very very old one.
2. But a sharp reader emailed with the scholastic press cutting saying it was
a "basin." Could it be some sort of basin to brew ancient potions in?
3. Dumbledore looks knowledgeable, whilst Harry looks inquisitive. This
means Dumbledore is showing Harry something.
4. The colour of the mist is green, a colour associated with magic and also to
the Slytherin colors of green. It is also associated with the killing curse
5. Dumbledore appears on this cover and also on the UK children's edition. Could
this mean Harry and Dumbledore develop a closer relationship and have more contact
in the sixth book?
6. Is there a possible error in this picture? In PS/SS, Harry said his wand
arm was his right hand. He is holding his wand in his left hand. (Thanks
Jess!) However, Harry was also holding his wand in his left hand in OOTP
UK Children's Edition
by Jason Cockcroft
1. The book is similar in colouring to COS, just a darker shade of blue. This
could be a link to Jo Rowling's spoiler that COS is one of the most crucial
books to the series. JK has also said the first chapter of HBP is the similar
to the one she was going to use to start off the second book.
2. Dumbledore is protecting Harry, who looks scared and vulnerable. It's possible
he's in a threatening situation with Voldemort.
3. The swirling fire looks like a pretty complex spell coming out of Dumbledore's
wand. It could be some form of protection for them both.
4. It is interesting to observe the faces of Harry and Dumbledore. Depending
on your interpretation, Dumbledore looks angry, scared, or just fierce and powerful.
If Dumbledore has a glimmer of fear in his eyes, what could possibly make him
scared? (Thanks Jess!)
Here is a close-up of the cover:
UK Adult's Edition Photograph by
1. The photo is a very old and battered copy of "Advanced Potion Making,"
which could mean Harry is somehow studying NEWT level potions!
2. Because the cover is tatty, and Harry can usually afford to buy his books
new, it might be a clue to the history behind Snape - in what way did he save
Voldemort? Could this tattered book be a clue?
3. With Snape being the potions master, this cover is clearly about him. When
introducing the book, editor Arthur Levine specifically mentioned rumors about
Snape being the Half-Blood Prince, but wouldn't say anything either way. This
certainly makes it more likely that he is.
3. The author of the book is Libatius Borage. Libatius means "libation"
(liquid offering) in Latin, and Borage is a medical plant. Whilst this could
be one of JK Rowling's interesting names, could the name be a hint to what
type of potions are inside (medical potions)?
Whilst this analysis is only speculation, it is worth noting that Mary
Grandepré has read the sixth book, whereas
the UK artist
Jason Cockcroft has only been instructed on what to draw. This may
mean the US cover is more likely to give away plot hints than the UK
For further discussion of the covers, go to MuggleNet's CoS
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