The Harry Potter series is getting a breath-taking makeover in Thailand by illustrator Arch Apolar. He has designed new covers, chapter headers, illustrations in the books, and an incredible Quidditch-themed box set for your enjoyment.
‘Never in my life did I dream of becoming an illustrator responsible for designing a version of this series,’ Arch told us.
‘I made sure that I put all my effort, my heart and my soul into this project as I would like this version to be like a love letter from fan to fan. From inside of each Hogwarts house to the appearance of each character, I tried to make the details as accurate as I could.’
The covers and interior artwork depict key characters and moments from the books as well as plenty of localised touches to delight Thai fans.
‘I wanted this cover series to have a classic feeling, like it was made back in the Golden Age of Illustration and to pay homage to the artists from that time,’ Arch said. ‘I wanted the character design in this version to relate to both kids and adults, so it should not be too stylised or too realistic - but well balanced between the two. I also wanted the colours to express the themes of each book, so I tried to find new interpretations for them.’
Let’s take a closer look:
You might notice that the Hogwarts logo on Harry’s robe clasp and on the Hogwarts Express is in the shape of an H for Hogwarts, but according to the Thai alphabet, and nine and three-quarters (inside the circle above the train) is also written with Thai numerals.
Here, the Burrow and the Weasleys' mischievous flying car take centre stage. What do you think of Arch’s depiction of young Tom Riddle?
Here, Dementors and Buckbeak are foregrounded, with Sirius Black looming over proceedings. Can you spot Hagrid, McGonagall, Fudge and Flitwick leaving the Three Broomsticks after just having had a conversation that Harry was never meant to overhear?
Harry’s snatching of the egg in the Triwizard Tournament is off-set by the Quidditch World Cup. Can you see Ludo Bagman in his Wimbourne Wasps robes on his way to the game?
Enter the Ministry of Magic... Can you spot Minister Fudge and Percy Weasley?
Weasleys Wizard Wheezes glows in the background and the Inferi stalk Harry in the foreground. Meanwhile, Draco is having a suspicious conversation with Mr Borgin inside Borgin and Burkes...
There are so many details to pick out on this one, but some of our favourites include the depiction of Shell Cottage, the Gringotts dragon, brave Neville Longbottom, and the contrast between Tom Riddle from the cover of the second book with the depiction of Voldemort here.
And here are a couple of the illustrations from inside the books:
This design motif is the Durmstrang ship with the Beauxbatons Abraxan in the background, fusing the symbolism of the two visiting schools we’re introduced to in Goblet of Fire.
This particular image of Dumbledore highlights Arch’s love of finding double-meaning in his pieces. Here, the frame of the illustration shows Dumbledore’s face in profile, but the fire from his wand within the image also becomes an outline of Fawkes, and Fawkes’ body doubles for Dumbledore’s beard and moustache. When you look at the image upside-down, you can also see that the bottom part depicts Fawkes’ head!
‘I tried gathering pieces of ideas from lots of friends who are big fans of this series,’ Arch explained.
‘Everyone has their own unique answer when it comes to their favourite element of Harry Potter. So, I told myself, “Why don’t you make this version full of memories that will act as small Easter eggs so that each fan will have fun finding their favourite things? It will be a special gift that only fans could appreciate.”’
And here’s the beautiful illustration of the front of the box set:
As we look through the various interpretations of the wizarding world Arch has worked on, we had to ask the artist what some of his favourites were.
‘My favourite thing to draw while working on this series would be reimagining settings and characters that haven’t been interpreted as much before,’ he said. ‘Like the Fountain of Magical Brethren [from the Ministry of Magic] or Shell Cottage [the home of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour], I wanted to add magic into all the architecture and details, since this world is so magical that it can also be surreal.’
As a huge Harry Potter fan himself, Arch told us about growing up with the books, now that he gets to illustrate them almost twenty years later.
‘I still remember the first time that my dad read Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone to me when I was just a nine-year-old boy as a bedtime story, which soon led me to the reading world myself. I was amazed by the story and the wonderful artwork by Mary GrandPré. The wizarding world that J.K. Rowling had created totally changed my perception of the magical world, it opened new doors to unlimited imagination and creativity.’
We couldn’t agree more.
Thailand’s twentieth anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone takes place on 1 July, but these editions are released from 11 May. Fans can order the books by contacting the publishers directly at [email protected].