Friday, March 30, 2007

Analysis of Deathly Hallows Cover

You know, I knew I was forgetting something. I have been remiss. How could I have forgotten to mark such a momentous milestone event as the release of the cover for Deathly Hallows? (All these images are from Mugglenet and the Leaky Cauldron).

Here is the full version with the back-cover where you can even see Voldemort. In a word, ominous!

And here is the UK children's cover.

And for sake of completeness, here is the UK Adult's cover.

So time for speculations and a comparative analysis.

US Edition: (The best one of the lot in my opinion)

First impression is that this is the FINAL confrontation between Harry and Voldemort. Just hope it doesn't end like The Final Problem with Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty at Reichenbach Falls.

Following up on my theory that the Deathly Hallows is the name of a place, the background coliseum like arena seems to be it. In the full view of the cover we can see what look like stage curtains so this leads me to believe that it is an amphitheater of sorts. And Harry and Voldemort are merely players on a stage, perhaps on the hallowed battlegrounds of magical battles fought long ago, perhaps even as far back as the Hogwarts' Founders era. Further, Harry is raising his hand up in the air as if he is about to call a superior power to his aid.

*Begin parenthetical Star Wars references*
(Go Harry! Voldemort is just a big ugly walking carpet with scales instead of fur! No offense, Chewie - you're far more likeable than Voldemort.).

Noticeably absent in this picture is any other source of help:

No Ron (Han is frozen in carbonite!),
No Hermione (Leia has been captured by Jabba the Hutt!),
No Ginny (Luke, find a romantic interest you must! On this the analogy depends.)

Luke - I mean Harry - you must face Darth Vader - I mean Voldemort - alone. (No, Harry. I am your father! Don't listen to him Harry! Vader - ahem Voldemort - murdered your father!)
*End parenthetical Star Wars references*

And notice what seem like wooden ruins in the foreground. And are those shadows in the background? - perhaps shadows of hooded Death Eaters waiting silently on Voldemort's orders. Or are they the silhouettes of grave-markers, magical heroes who've died waging the eternal battle between good and evil on this hallowed ground? And aren't Harry and Voldemort gazing off to an external point not visible to us? Voldemort's outstretched hand seems like an attempt to stop whatever Harry is attempting to do. As a final note, Harry doesn't appear to have aged that much, so it looks like the plot-line will stay within the timeframe of a year or so.

UK Children's Edition:

What on earth is this travesty? Sorry, when did the target demographic become 8 year olds? About the only potential clues are what the other horcruxes might be. Most of it seems like buried treasure. Not nearly as emotionally captivating as the US edition cover. The only sad part is that it only shows the trio on the horcrux hunt. That probably means no Ginny ::sobs:: (Harry, you dunderhead! Have you forgotten that "the power the dark lord knows not" is love?!)

UK Adult's Edition:

Pretty straightforward and banal, yes? It's Slytherin's locket, the next horcrux Harry will probably destroy. Where is the emotion, where is the drama? ::yawn::

Verdict: Mary GrandPre has made a completely awesome cover once again! Poor UK children :(

And, though I'm now "deathly" scared for Harry, I really hope he survives. Or if he doesn't, we'll have to take comfort in what a wise man (Dumbledore) once said: "To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure". On second thoughts, Harry's mind definitely does not qualify!

Ok, all my thoughts on the cover for now.

-- Arkajit

P.S. A peeve (No not Peeves the Poltergeist!): You have failed me for the last time, Admiral Digg! A mere 368 Diggs for the cover art release? What?!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Top 1000 Books

There was recently compiled list of the top 1000 books in library's worldwide as of 2005.

My Favorite Fun Facts:

* The Lord of the Rings: #8, yes!!!! (what were the AP English test-makers saying about not being of sufficient "literary merit"?)

* Sherlock Holmes: top mystery novel at #192

* If all the Harry Potter books were counted together, they'd be #5 on the list :) But here's the individual break-down:
#220: Philosopher's Stone (a.k.a. Sorcerer's Stone)
#263: Chamber of Secrets
#304: Prisoner of Azkaban
#350: Goblet of Fire
#529: Order of the Phoenix

This was the updated list through 2005, so that probably explains the absence of Half-Blood Prince which came out in the second half of 2005. The 2006 data is not yet available.

* Shakespeare: 37 works in the top 1000, but not counting sonnets, he only wrote about 38 plays! So he's got almost a 100% conversion if it's all plays.

* Austen's Pride and Prejudice is #32 (beat out Tolstoy's Anna Karenina at #67, ha ha :P)

* Gardner's Art Through the Ages made it at #287 - That makes me feel better about having to carry that huge book for Art History :). But it's been great so far (through Baroque Art).

One unfortunate bias is that about 3/4 of all the books were written in English, so many great translated works missed the cut.

List is sorted by tags at del.ic.ious. And more fun facts are also here - go forth and find them.

-- Arkajit

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Page count for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is .... (dramatic silence) ... 784! Yay! It's slightly longer than Goblet of Fire and shorter than Order of the Phoenix. But it could have been longer... nonetheless, can't wait.

-- Arkajit