March 4, 2013 by drandmrso
I stumbled across this article on NPR over the weekend: A New Vision of Harry Potter Premieres With a Fresh Take on ‘Sorcerer’s Stone.‘ I’m still not sure how I didn’t see it when it was first published since my Harry Potter radar is pretty much always on full alert. The gist: Scholastic is re-releasing the paperback books to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter in the U.S. At first I was appalled. How dare they mess with the legacy of one of the greatest series of all time? But then I saw the new cover and my ire cooled. Here she be, the first re-designed cover:
Insert record scratching noise here.
15th anniversary?! 15th! How old does that make me?! I vividly remember receiving the first book for my 12th birthday and gobbling it up as if I were Dudley Vernon in a candy store. With every new book release, my admittedly dorky friends and I would dress up and hang out at the bookstore with all the other hyper Harry Potter fans–the vast majority of whom had not been able to drive themselves there as we had. When the movies came out we had many a great debate over the merits of turning literature (as we saw it) into film. Inevitably we caved and would dress up and hang out at the movie theater with all the other hyper Harry Potter fans–the vast majority of whom had not been able to drive themselves there as we had. See a pattern here?
Those that know me see this little Harry Potter tribute post as no surprise. But here are some things that might surprise you. Where was the world 15 years ago when the very first Harry Potter books in their original covers by Mary GrandPre (whose art, by the way, will still be on the hardcovers) hit U.S. shores?
- Bill Clinton was president…and Monica Lewinski became a household name
- Titanic won Best Picture at the 70th Academy Awards
- iPods were years away. Facebook wasn’t around. Only (some) professional photographers had digital cameras.
- Connecting to the internet sounding like contacting an alien race over radio
- Google was still a beta test
- There were roughly 70 million cell phone users in the U.S. Today it’s over 300 million.
- I looked more or less like this:
- “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” by Will Smith was a huge hit
- “Tuesdays With Morrie” by Mitch Albom was one of the best-selling books of the year
- Steve Irwin, Walter Matthau, Katherine Hepburn, George Harrison, Johnny Cash, Brittany Murphy, Farrah Fawcett, Bob Hope, Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson were all alive and well
Oh, how far we’ve come! After I adjusted to the idea, now I really like the new Sorcerer’s Stone cover. It’s magical, features some of my favorite characters, and actually does have a stylistic nod to Mary GrandPre’s art. What do you think? What else was happening way back in 1998 that I’ve totally forgotten about?
P.S.: I followed the daily prompt today and there are not one but two letters of the alphabet that I managed not to use in the post. Can you identify them?