Well, I’m not going to do a review of any Harry Potter books because that feels like a totally pointless exercise. They are legendary, and that is all.
However, over the last week, I’ve been indulging in the completely beautiful illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Jim Kay is the perfect choice of illustrator (and I’m sure they had a queue of illustrators fifteen miles long to choose from). He has a kind of fantasy with a touch of quirk, realistic but not too realistic with a swoosh of watercolour style of illustrating that really suits both this genre and the HP books themselves. It’s completely refreshing to have somebody else’s visuals in my head while I’m reading, having spent all these years first with my own imaginings and then with the film adaptations blocking out anything else (am I alone in thinking this is one of the worst crimes committed by film adaptations?).
Having read HP through several times, these illustrated versions make it feel like the first time again, which is quite a feat. I’m seeing the stories again in a completely different light, and I’ve consumed Harry’s stories in every possible way so far. They are a touch on the expensive side, but if you are anything near the Potterhead that I am, it’s well worth the investment, even just for making the stories feel new again. They are beautiful items to hold in every way: the size, weight, quality of paper and of course Jim Kay’s expressive, captivating and often humorous illustrations, which give the stories a whole new dimension. The Philosopher’s Stone was a genuine treat to re-read this time around, like opening a box of chocolates to find all your favourite flavours inside.
I’m posting a couple of my favourite spreads here.