Original Illustrator of Italian “Harry Potter” Books Interviewed in Response to J.K. Rowling’s Tweet
The original Italian editions of the Harry Potter books were brought into the spotlight recently, after author J.K. Rowling tweeted about the unusual illustrations featured on the cover of the first book, known in Italian as Harry Potter e la pietra filosofale.
I've always loved that cover because it's so odd. Why the rat head? Why the giant rat in the headscarf? I never met the illustrator, so I still don't know. https://t.co/x4aeLU5xeL
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) April 21, 2020
In response, Tiziano Grigioni from Italian fansite Portus interviewed the illustrator, Serena Riglietti.
Although the interview itself was conducted in Italian, Grigioni provided an English translation.
With extreme joy – and a little bit of pride – Portus can exclusively answer to [sic] some questions that not even J.K. Rowling herself could answer to [sic] (for once!). We’ve had the privilege, the honour and the luck to talk to Serena Riglietti, the original illustrator of the Italian editions of the Harry Potter books.
While we won’t spoil the answer as to why that quirky hat came to be, some other interesting stories came out of the interview. One, as raised by Grigioni, was that the first version of Harry that Riglietti drew had neither his scar nor his characteristic round glasses.
Riglietti explained that the illustration was what led her to be chosen as the illustrator for the books.
At the time, however, [the Italian publishers] had not finished the translation of the book yet, and since there was not much time, they gave me some fairly brief indications. I knew that Harry was an orphan, who lived with his uncle and aunt, that a giant — with a big beard and nose — would come later with the task of accompanying him to a magic school where he would find his place, redeeming himself from an unhappy childhood.
So I drew a test board featuring this red-haired boy on the shoulders of a giant, without the glasses and scar, his distinctive mark. That was also the drawing that made the publishers decide I would be the illustrator.
For the full interview with Riglietti, visit our friends over at Portus.
Are you a fan of Riglietti’s illustrations? Which Harry Potter illustrator’s works are your favorite? Tell us in the comments below!