Rants & Reflections

Reading the Harry Potter Illustrated Edition

Back in October, I bought this lovely thing when it came out:

Harry Potter Illustrated StoneAnd I just finished reading it as part of the Harry Potter Alliance’s Remembrall Readatathon (which I blogged about here)!

I want to talk about what it was like revisiting the story in a new edition. This was (I think) the 5th time I’ve read Sorcerer’s Stone, and it was definitely different than the previous (I think) 4. The book is illustrated by Jim Kay, who also did the illustrations for Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls (which I have yet to read but hear it’s amazing). The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and add a fresh, new level to the story.

It’s interesting how the aesthetics of a book affect the reading experience. I’m used to reading the US editions with art by Mary GrandPré. I own an assortment of other editions from the UK of various books in the series, and when I read those, I kinda feel like a little bit of the magic is missing because they don’t have the GrandPré chapter art, the stars in the corners, or the whimsical fonts.

However, I like the UK editions for the un-Americanized language. This new edition gives you the best of both worlds. With the exception of the Stone (Sorcerer’s/Philosopher’s), the text has not been edited to Americanize the language. It’s full of “jumpers,” “colours,” and lots of “revision” during exam season. I’m sure some of the language was still edited a bit, but it seemed much less so than the original Scholastic editions.

But let’s get to the main attraction: the artwork. Beautiful. Whimsical. Detailed. I don’t want to post any more pics of the art, so as not to give it all away (though there are some photos on my Twitter; I’m live-tweeting my reread), so just trust me when I say it’s lovely.  Mary GrandPré will always hold a special place in my heart, but I have to say, I am so excited to reread through the books with Jim Kay’s art each year (Jim Kay’s “Chamber” is coming out this October, and each next book will be released every year after).

One of the problems I’ve had with reading the books recently – and I’m sure many people feel the same – is getting the damn movies out of my head while I’m reading. It’s so hard! Especially with the early books, there are so many lines taken directly from the book that are used in the movie that it’s almost impossible not to hear the actors’ voices in your head. This isn’t as big of a problem reading the later books because they started to change a lot more to adapt them to film (plus I disliked the later movies anyway, and therefore watched them fewer times. Fucking David Yates.). But I will say that reading the illustrated edition helped this problem some. Jim Kay provided me with images other than the actors and sets from the films to see in my head, and it was rejuvenating.

It definitely made the entire reading experience a lot more “magical,” and I look forward to be able to share these editions with my future children one day (if I have them…). I’d be more than happy to have their first experience with HP be these editions.

I’m excited to continue my series reread with the Remembrall Readathon, and hopefully finish on July 30, right before the big day. I’m still skeptical about the Cursed Child business, but that’s another post for another day…


14 thoughts on “Reading the Harry Potter Illustrated Edition”

  1. I’ve said many times before that I don’t usually re-read, but this wouldn’t even count!
    It’s absolutely stunning! I’ve seen it on display at B&N and have paged through it. ❤
    I will make sure my future child reads this illustrated edition before seeing the film.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, this edition looks incredible! It looks like so much work went into creating it. I often have the same problem when I read HP, in that the scenes from the movies start to bleed into my reading, although I do make a conscious effort to preserve the world as I originally imagined it in my head. But it can be tough. Maybe this edition would help with that for me too. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. For the reason you mentioned, and others, I never watch the film if I love a book. Perhaps I hate the person who acted the character, or, even worse, to me, is when I can’t remember the details and where they came from — the movie or the book! This is why I’m so skeptical that they made a movie of The Great Gilly Hopkins using an actress who is 16 instead of 12.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lol you sure had fun reading it. I was excited during the time leading up to the publication of the illustrated copy, but then was let down when I saw the book in the store because I thought the entire thing would be illustrated and it’s not. I think I’ll get copies of the 4th book though because that one is my favorite…the first is my fav too and after reading about your experience here, I kinda want to get it. Ahhh indecision!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I see. Yeah, not everything is illustrated, but there are like small pictures that are sprinkled in some pages, so you never really know what will be on the next page turn! I don’t know how they are going to do the longer books because this edition is such a large object. They are going to have the change the layout if they don’t want people hoisting books 4 and 5 around with a crane 😛


  5. I love the illustrated edition, the pictures are absolutely gorgeous. I can’t wait for Chamber of Secrets to come out to see what that one is like, actually all the future ones.
    I sure hope they make them all into illustrated editions, imagine Sirius and the Yule Ball illustrated? XD
    – FanGirl mode initiated…

    Liked by 1 person

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