Tag Archives: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

On Cover Art and New Covers


This week there have been a few new covers revealed this week. Both the US and the UK covers of Go Set and Watchman  (the ‘new’ Harper Lee novel) were released this week, and so was the cover of the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I had planned to write this post just about the Go Set A Watchman covers, but when I saw the Harry Potter cover I thought I may as well use that too.

US Cover

The first cover I saw was the US Go Set a Watchman cover. My initial feelings were ‘meh’ it’s ok, but not great. There’s something kind of amateur about it I think. It looks like a good indie ebook cover, not remarkable, but better than a lot of things out there. There’s also a bit of an old fashioned air, which I think is probably to reflect the time when it was written. I can see reflections of the original To Killa Mockingbird cover with the tree. Plus apparently a train journey is apparently important, so I suppose it makes some sense at least.

UK cover


I guessed that the UK cover would somehow link with the To Kill a Mockingbird cover too. I was pretty much right, there’s the tree which reflects the original cover, and the bird which reflects some of the subsequent covers, including the longest standing cover. Plus the orange reflects the orange from the original and later covers. Generally I prefer the UK cover, although I don’t like the text on the cover, it’s silly to read, first time I read it as “Go Set A To Kill A Watchman Mockingbird” which makes no sense. Then I began to wonder if the UK publishers are trying to trick people into thinking they’re buying a double edition, then text for the To Kill a Mockingbird bit is just too big to seem to refer to a by the author of note, which is what it actually is. Really I can’t say I like the UK cover so much either, but it is more instantly likeable.

So onto the illustrated Philosopher’s Stone. We’ve seen a few images from this already (if you look at the pictures on the amazon page you can see what has already been released) and I’ve had mixed feelings about them, I can certainly see the appeal, but I’ve grown up with the original covers, anything else just seems strange. I do like the cover art though. It makes Platform 9 3/4 seem more magical than the original covers. Generally I have to admit the illustrations are good. I especially have liked how Hermione is drawn. I think this is a book I would like to posses when it is released.

What do you think of these new covers?

Pre-order ‘Go Set a Watchman’ (UK cover):

Hardcover (£9.00)

Kindle (£7.47)

Pre-order the illustrated edition of Philosopher’s Stone:

Hardcover (£30.00)

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Changing Book Titles


US cover

UK cover



In my recent review of The Officer’s Lover I mentioned that in America The Officer’s Lover has the title Almost Home. I also briefly said that I believed the American name was better. I certainly think it reflects the story better. Whilst The Officer’s Lover does have a slight baring on the story I feel it doesn’t reflect the main content of the story at all. However I an see Almost Home working. The main character, Jordan, had been floating since the death of her boyfriend. Making few connections, moving frequently, but never returning to England where she dated, and lost, him. I can see that her search for closure could make her ready to settle and get ‘home’.

So why was the novel name changed? Well I can see a little that it may have been changed to fit with other books by Pam Jenoff. It fits with the pattern of Kommandant’s Girl, The Ambassador’s Daughter, and The Diplomat’s Wife.

That’s what it often comes down to, marketing. It’s similar to changing book covers to film covers. Generally speaking I don’t like film covers- and them often being cheaper suggests to me that many people feel the same. However I can understand why the covers are changed- to make a link for people who have seen, or want to see, the film.

UK cover

US cover


Another notable time that a book title has been changed is the changing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in America. Apparently because American’s won’t understand the word philosopher. If I was American I think I would be offended at the assertion that I wouldn’t be able to understand a word- or even have the sense to look up a word I didn’t understand in the dictionary. I’ve heard of a few books being ‘dumbed down’ in this way for America.

 

UK cover

US cover

There are times when it works of course, when a word is something which is not used internationally. I did think that Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging had been changed to take out snogging in America, but apparently not. Some of the others have been changed however (USA list, UK list) I had heard it was due to the UK titles being too racy, although someone in America will have to tell me if they actually appear to be racy!

Generally speaking I think authors chose to title books by a certain name for a reason. And whilst other titles may work well on a marketing point of view I think really the author’s title should be stuck with. What do you all think?

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Discussion


So Shannon has posted some discussion questions for the Harry Potter read-along on her blog Giraffe Days

1. How many times have you read this particular book? Did you like it more or less on this read?

I used to really, really be into Harry Potter in a big way. Until very recently I was a frequent visitor at The Chamber of Secrets forums talking about different theories so I’ve read all the books more times than I can remember. I’ve read Philosopher’s Stone at least 8 times because every time there was a new book out I used to read it then read all the books leading up to it before reading it again. The only one I haven’t read more times than I can count though is Deathly Hallows. I think I liked this one more this read through, simply because it’s been a while since I last read it nd it felt a bit like coming home.

2. Did anything surprise you on this re-read, something you never noticed before perhaps or a detail that struck you as more important, knowing what’s coming later?

You know what I’ve read them so many times that I anticipate rather than find new things, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the first few chapters which I usually miss out.

3. What is your favourite scene in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone?

Oh hard one! Probably where Harry realises what Hagrid has done, it just gives so much anticipation!

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone- J.K Rowling


Cover of "Harry Potter and the Philosophe...

Cover via Amazon

I read this book as part of my re-read of the Harry Potter books

This review contains spoilers

Synopsis (from Waterstones)

Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy. He lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, who are mean to him and make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. (Dudley, however, has two bedrooms, one to sleep in and one for all his toys and games.) Then Harry starts receiving mysterious letters and his life is changed forever. He is whisked away by a beetle-eyed giant of a man and enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The reason: Harry Potter is a wizard! The first book in the “Harry Potter” series makes the perfect introduction to the world of Hogwarts.

Review

Oh Harry how I have missed you! I didn’t realise until I was getting excited about every little bit of Philosopher’s Stone (if you follow me on twitter I am sure you will agree with me on this point!) how much I have missed Harry. Since the release of Deathly Hallows (the book not the film) my Harry Potter activity has dropped dramatically. I barely ever visit the Chamber of Secrets forums anymore, I don’t really use my Livejournal now except to read other people’s posts (and I didn’t talk about Harry on there much anyway, it was just very connected to the Harry Potter side of my life)., and unless you count my re-read of Deathly Hallows last year I haven’t read the books for years.

It’s a bit difficult for me to write a balanced review of Philosopher’s Stone simply because Harry Potter has been such a big part of my life for so long. I love it just because it’s part of Harry and part of my history. I am trying to remember how I viewed it when I first read it but it was so long ago that I can barely remember. I grew up with Harry so my first reading of Philosopher’s Stone was over 10 years ago.

I do know for sure this is my least favourite of the books. First time round I actually almost gave up within the first few chapters just because it takes a long time to get going. Of course I am glad I didn’t because by the time Harry got to Hogwarts I was beginning to really get into it. In truth I usually actually don’t start my re-reads at the beginning but skip to Hagrid’s entrance at the shack in the sea. This time though I decided I should do it properly and actually found myself really enjoying reading those bits I usually miss. I mean the bits when the letters come give a kind of exciting anticipation for what I know is coming up.

As I came further towards the end it struck me that although this is the lightest-hearted of the Harry Potter books in some parts it is pretty dark. I mean that image of Quirrel-mort drinking that unicorns blood is certainly very chilling, and when you are so engrossed in Harry’s world you can actually feel the revulsion Harry would feel from seeing that image. Then there is Quirrel having Voldemort sticking out the back of his head, that isn’t exactly a nice image either. Of course the way Harry wins in this book is amazing, and in some ways less scary, although you’re rooting for Harry there is something about the way he wins that seems so innocent and right, almost as if he is not really fighting.

I remember eagerly looking for the next book after I finished this one and now I am eager to start my re-read of The Chamber of Secrets.

4.5/5

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