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Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

A Reader's Guide

Covers and Title Pages

Notes and links by Steve Vander Ark and Michele L. Worley
Assistant page editor: Trish Drasnin

About the Dedication:

For Jessica, who loves stories,
for Anne, who loved them too;
and for Di, who heard this one first.

This first book is dedicated to three of the most important women in Jo's life. Jessica is her eldest daughter, Anne was her mother, and Di is her sister.


Original Scholastic cover art:

US cover of the first Harry Potter book

The U.S. cover was painted by Mary GrandPré. It shows Harry about to catch the Snitch, with other Quidditch players in the far distant background. Hogwarts castle appears behind Harry and the columns through which he is flying, and Fluffy's three vicious heads are visible in an opening in the castle wall. In the distance the forest's pointed pine trees mirror the pointed towers of the castle, while a unicorn gallops by. It is this image of Harry -- wearing a striped Muggle shirt, jeans, and trainers and with a simple cape to indicate robes, that is most familiar to fans, at least in the U.S. There are patterns in the columns, but they are very difficult to make out. If they are supposed to be actual images of things, they are too distorted to be recognizable.

Original Bloomsbury cover art:

Bloomsbury, front cover art Bloomsbury, back cover art
The original Bloomsbury cover by Thomas Taylor includes a rather bizarre-looking figure on the back. The man in the picture really doesn't match any character in the book, although fans have speculated that it is supposed to represent either Dumbledore or Quirrell. After a few editions, the back cover was changed with a new image, this time clearly identifiable as Dumbledore, even holding a Put-Outer:
second back cover

Other resources:

WEB LINKgallery of cover art from around the world (from SnitchSeeker.com)

Title pages:

Pertinent text from the title pages: [image]

First published in Great Britain in 1997
Copyright Text Joanne Rowling 1997
Copyright cover illustration Thomas Taylor 1997

Frontispiece (US edition):

Frontispiece by Mary GrandPré


Harry Potter canon: PS | CS | PA | GF | FB | QA | OP | HBP | DH | FW | DP | JKR.COM
Philosopher's Stone: covers | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17

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Page layout by Lisa Waite Bunker and Steve Vander Ark, banner graphics by Camilla Engelby © 2007.

Primary editor: Steve Vander Ark. Previous editor(s): Steve Vander Ark, Michele Worley.
Invaluable assistance with graphics and notes: Trish Drasnin
Original page date 21 October 2004; Last page update 10 July 2011 SVA.