I was sorting through my many spares of Harry Potter books the other day (the shelves on my ‘good’ bookcase are starting to bow) as I had just purchased some to sell. I had some US editions in hardcover. While I don’t mind the US editions I was never a huge fan of the artwork. I also hate the fact they changed the text in them, but that’s another rant.
I have two American collectors editions, which are fantastic, leather, super-bound, gorgeous pictures including an insert facsimile of an orginal J.K Rowling drawing of the Harry Potter gang. Those, of course, stay. Also, why didn’t they print them all? Seriously. The British deluxe editions pale in comparison.
I do like how the US editions have little illustrations by Mary Grandpre, and I like her cover art on the later books. I’m not a huge fan of the art on the earlier books, it is a little naive, but I suppose that could be said for the British ones, and yes they are children’s books. But Cliff Wright’s and Thomas Taylor’s work on the British books, especially those gorgeous watercolours by Cliff Wright, just suit the books better.
Anyway I had a first US edition of The Prisoner of Azkaban. I had never looked at it closely in all honesty, my US editons were buried behind my full set of UK large prints, which have to sit on the bottom shelf because they weigh so much. But here, friends, is Buckbeak.
At this point in the book Harry and Hermione have managed to get Buckbeak’s assist in rescuing Sirius Black from a tower on Hogwarts. They have gone back in time, have very little time left to get back to the present, Hermione is terrified of Buckbeak, the Ministry of Magic and Dementors are swarming the place, and if Sirius is not rescued in time, they will administer the Dementor’s kiss and suck his soul out of his body. And Hippogriff’s can be temperamental. Ask young Malfoy.
Now on the British artwork Buckbeak looks fierce, Harry looks determined, and Hermoine looks petrified. Check.
But Ms. Grandpre presents me with a Happy Hippogriff and two fugitives of time smiling with carefree and gay abandon. Now I know you artists read the book before you design the cover art. Don’t condescend us.
You can buy some of my spares here by the way.