A Bit of Book Redesign Needed…?

TTT_post_graphic_txt

Top Ten Tuesday was originally started by The Broke And The Bookish, where a topic is given every Tuesday and the blogger then produces a top ten list of books to fit the weekly subject. The hosts are currently on a break from TTT, so I’ve decided to go back through the topic archives to find things to write about until we begin again for real. The topic this week is ‘Book Covers I Want To Redesign‘. I did a post a few weeks ago about my favourite book covers, so here is the reverse. These are book covers I have come across over my many years of reading that I have been barely able to look at, hiding them away on my shelf and giving them away as soon as I have finished reading them. Unfortunately, some of these books have been really enjoyable, and I hate it when I am deterred from a great book because of the design. Also, lots of books now have different editions with different cover designs, so I will mainly be focusing on the covers that I have personally come across that I would like to redesign if given the chance…

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

6512140

I have heard so many good things about this book, and I can’t quite put my finger on it, but the cover has never appealed to me as something I would want to read. It gives off some really odd vibes, I would probably stick to something a bit more simple and focused on typography rather than introducing a weird atmosphere with the inclusion on a standing cow!

 

 

 

Her by Harriet Lane

her

Since I first laid eyes on this cover, I hated it! It took a lot to pick it up in Waterstones, and I mainly did because it was the next best mystery and ‘Book of the Month’. The description intrigued me, which seems to override my hatred for the cover, but I really didn’t like having it on my bookshelf. It clashed with everything, and stood out for all the wrong reasons. Worst of all, when I got round to reading it, I didn’t even enjoy it that much. I was glad to get rid of it!

 

 

The Confessions series by James Patterson

img_0106

I loved this book series! It was absolutely brilliant, and made me want to read more and more of Patterson’s writing. However, one of my pet hates when it comes to cover design is using people on the cover. It detracts from what a reader loves doing, which is using their imagination to picture the character’s appearance. If there is already someone on the cover, then how am I meant to have any input into what this character looks like? Don’t even get me started on movie tie-in editions!!

 

The Selection Series

10507293

Don’t get me wrong, on first glance, these covers are really pretty, and I’m not necessarily saying that I dislike them completely. I do however, dislike the use of people on the cover! What is wrong with designers eradicating reader’s imaginative ability and giving them what they think the character should look like? No, just no, please stop!

 

 

 

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Marueen Johnson and Robin Wasserman

32718466

Again with the people on the cover! I know most Shadowhunter books have included people on the cover, but they have been done in a way that still leaves a lot up to the imagination, such as not showing faces, and adding more details to focus on. Here, however, most of the cover is face, and it’s not how I want to picture the particular character. Don’t use people on the cover!!

 

 

 

Confessions by Kanae Minato

confessions

So a book cover that doesn’t have a single person on it, and I don’t know what it is about the book, I just feel it looks like not a lot of work has gone into it. Don’t get me wrong, I understand someone has probably worked hard on the design, but I feel like they could have done a lot more with it.

 

 

 

 

Organ/Soul Reapers by Shay West

23365359

These books are amazing! I was sent them by the publisher and was completely blown away by the storyline and character development, and the writing in general was amazing for an author is not very well known, but the cover definitely did not do this justice. Everything from the photography and image editing to the use of typography would have definitely put me off if I had seen it in a bookshop! This is the perfect example of why we shouldn’t judge books by their covers!

 

 

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

1217100

More people on the cover! Need I say more? It just puts me off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth

Allegiant_DemiJacket_WetProofTest.inddThere are many different covers for the Divergent series, but the covers I read were the kind I would steer clear of in the book store. The images were not well put together, using stock imagery for the most part, and the typography really didn’t do it any justice either!

 

 

 

 

Me Before You

13373663

Okay, so the cover design is nice for this one. It’s cute and the colour and typographic choices were well made, but the reason I would redesign this cover is because it gives off the wrong vibe for the story. It makes it out to be an adorable contemporary where two people fall in love and live happily ever after, but there is so much more to it than that, and I just don’t feel like it is fully communicated through either version of the cover.

 

 

What do you think? Are there any here that you disagree with, or any books on your shelf that you would jump at the chance to redesign? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time…

Jade 🙂

Stories: To Kill a Mockingbird

discuss_post_graphic_txt

It’s Sunday, which means it’s discussion time. This is when I write to think more deeply about books, why we read, and why literature is so important in our lives. Today is the last essay installment in the Stories collection, which aims to explore four of my favourite books, discussing characters and their relationships with each other, and how they are affected by predominant symbols in the story. I will have a final post to wrap the collection up next week, but for now, here is the final essay in the Stories series…

To Kill a Mockingbird

169182

 

In which we explore Scout and Boo’s relationship with regards to The Radley House

Scout and Boo’s relationship differs slightly from others in this collection, because Boo doesn’t make a physical appearance until the end of the book. However, there are ways we can see their relationship developing without being fully introduced to Boo. Scout Finch is our narrator throughout the story. She lives with her brother, Jem, her father, Atticus, and their nurse and cook, Calpurnia. She is a young girl, the story beginning aged 6, and ending aged 9, and she is very independent in how she thinks and feels about certain things, such as racism and gender tradition. Boo Radley is a neighbour of the Finches and is known for never leaving his house, and is often described as a hermit. He is assumed to be mentally unstable, and goes out only at nights to hunt and eat squirrels and cats. Most blame him for unexplainable happenings in the county of Maycomb, where the novel is set. Boo and Scout are neighbours. Scout develops, to some extent, an obsession with Boo Radley, and her and Jem often try and get him to leave his house. The Radley House is an important symbol in this relationship. It symbolises fear and mystery, particularly through the depth of description, paired with character assumptions of Boo. The house has a tree on it’s threshold, which comes into play later in the novel.
Boo and Scout don’t actually meet until the end of the book, but their relationship is prominent from the very beginning. Despite not ever meeting, Scout is infatuated with the man who never leaves his house, and with the rumours floating around about him. Deep down, she wants to know if he is truly as others say he is. They describe him as an ‘unknown entity’ and a ‘malevolent phantom’, but they do not know his honest character. The Radley House is introduced in the first chapter, being described as ‘jutted’, ‘darkened’ and ‘drunkenly guarded’. This gives it a very gothic vibe, not unlike a haunted house. The idea of Boo being a ghostly figure supports this. This shows that Boo’s personality is supposedly reflected through the house’s appearance. Scout trusting other’s opinions about Boo and his house also brings in the theme of innocence, and how Scout has not matured enough to fully form her own opinions at the beginning of the book. The children are scared of the Radley House, because they believe terrible things happen to people who cross the threshold, which is why Boo Radley is the way he is. The main connection between Scout and Boo here is the house, as it is the only physical representation of Boo as a character. This is the only thing that Scout has to judge Boo on, and because of the way the house is described, the judgement is not a good one, but neither is it fair. The idea of prejudice shines through here, which becomes a main theme through the later trial of Tom Robinson, but it is clear that Scout is judging Boo solely on appearance. However, instead of this being a case of black and white, it is the appearance of a physical object, rather than a person.

Boo begins to leave presents in a hole in the tree of the Radley House threshold. These gifts include chewing gum, coins and medals. Through this, the Radley House continues to be a part of Scout’s life, but instead of just through her figurative imaginings of Boo inside the house, there is now a physical connection. The gifts are one of the main things that connect Boo and Scout in the book. It brings Boo to life, rather than just being a ‘phantom’ in a house, by representing himself in the objects. Miss Maudie, another neighbour of the Finches, tells the story of Boo’s childhood, and how he was under the strict supervision of his father, which led people to believe Boo became crazy being honed up inside. Again, this brings Boo’s character to life more, and the house becomes a device for why people think of Boo as crazy. Scout is excluded from the fun when Jem and a friend, Dill, plan to try and touch the Radley House. She isn’t involved because she is seen as too young. This turns the house into a symbol of maturity, and how it shows the difference in the innocence of Scout, and the slightly more mature nature of Jem and Dill. This idea is extended later in the novel. After the thrill that comes from touching the Radley House, Scout and Jem find carved soap figures in the tree as a final gift. This shows the house continuing to be bought to life through the personalised soap figures, as they are carved into the shape of the two children, and again makes Boo seem more human and connected to the world, and Scout in particular.

After the gifts in the tree cease to appear, Boo is hardly mentioned, as the story turns it’s attention to the trial of Tom Robinson, the main plot point in the book. After the trial, Scout points out that her fear of the Radley Hosue has decreased, or ceased to exist entirely. This shows that Scout is growing up and becoming more mature, particularly after being exposed to a more adult world through the trial. This also goes back to a point made earlier about how the Radley House, or fear of the Radley House, can be an indicator of innocence developing into maturity, especially in Scout’s character. Her lack of interest in the house could also show that she as begun to respect Boo’s privacy, another way of showing she has matured through what she has experienced in the trial. In the final chapters of the book, Jem and Scout are attacked by Bob Ewell, who is the father of the young girl who Tom Robinson is accused of raping. Boo rescues the children from Mr Ewell, and takes them home. When in the Finch’s home, he is described as a fragile man with a ‘thin frame’, meaning it must have taken great strength for him to save the children. This shows he is a kind and courageous man, and nothing like anyone described him to be. With the appearance of Boo Radley, and Scout coming to a full understanding of who he is, her decreased fear of the Radley House is suddenly explainable. She is growing up, and has come to respect Boo a lot more. After everything settles down after the attack, Scout walks Boo home. She stands on the threshold of the house, but instead of looking towards it like she used to, she looks out from it, onto the street. She is finally found a moral connection with Boo, seeing things from his eyes. As her father once said, “you can never really understand person until you consider things from his point of view” (Lee, 31). Scout now understands why Boo liked to stay inside, because she has experienced the prejudice in the town, and understands why he wouldn’t want to be a part of that.

To conclude, Boo and the Radley House help the reader to realise the growth in Scout’s maturity throughout the novel. Scout’s relationship is always there in the background of the story, and is occasionally mentioned, the majority of the time in relation to her growing up. Despite not being fully introduced to Boo’s character, we see a major development, from what he was assumed to be at the beginning, to what he ends up actually being in the end. This is the perfect way to show prejudice, and how people assume to be something because of the way they live. This is how Scout sees Boo, and as she matures, and is faced with the problem of prejudice, so does her opinion of Boo. The Radley House, and Scout’s relationship with Boo, develops from being a symbol of fear, to a way of measuring Scout’s maturity levels.

If anyone has any thoughts on anything written here, then please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments, as it will be very interesting to see what others have found when reading this particular book.

Seeing as this is the final installment in this (very exciting) collection of essays, here is a small conclusion to round up everything I’ve spoken about over the past four weeks.

Conclusion

This essay collection was comprised to explore character relationships, and how they can be developed over the course of the novel, as well as looking closer at narrative theories and symbolism. They successfully communicate how each of the separate character connections are formed, developed and closed, through the use of one main physical symbol.

If each of these essays can prove that physical symbols play an important part in character relationships, then we can track this across a wider range of literature. This is just a small selection of books, part of a much larger collection. Each of the stories referenced in these essays are from a different genre; modern classic, children’s fantasy, historical fiction, and young adult fiction. Even in this wide group of genres, the formula can still be applied. How characters come together can be tracked back to something physical in their lives, that plays a big part in the overall narrative. But what does this tell us about other books? Surely if this is proof, we can start to see the formula in action in every book we read. For example, Jane Eyre and Mr Rochester’s relationship can be symbolised by the chestnut tree, or how Gatsby and Daisy’ relationship can be symbolised by the green light across the water.

Each of these separate essays tell a story; the story of a relationship developing. The importance is how they come together to communicate a broader narrative. Collaboratively, they show how readers can begin to find links in the books that are part of their own reading journey, and teaches about the importance of using symbolism in literature.

Next week I will be discussing how I went about studying the stories I read for this project, what I have learnt from my experience, and how I want to apply it to my reading in the future.

Until next time…
Jade 🙂

I’m on Etsy! A Little Bit About My Journey…

Hello fellow bookworms! A few days ago I made an exciting announcement over on my Instagram, letting all my lovely followers know that I am now open for business on Etsy!

I’ve kept this project on the down low, because I constantly doubted my ability to make it this far, but after much perseverance and belief in myself, I have created my own small product range for my shop, The Literary Artisan.

Artboard 3-100

The purpose of this shop is to bring you handmade paper cut bookmarks with literary quotes, with the option to customise with your own chosen quote if you wish. I will provide a link at the end of this post for anyone who is interested, and I will be expanding my product range in the coming weeks!

This has been a very interesting, stressful, yet exciting process, and I thought I would just share with you a little snippet about why I joined Etsy and how I went about setting up my shop, through the research, branding, design, and production stages…

The idea came to me when I was struggling to find work experience, which was required as part of my university course. I had already completed a weeks worth of experience in London, but it wasn’t enough. I knew I had to take matters into my own hands and setting up an Etsy shop is something that I’ve always wanted to do. So I sat down and drafted ideas, and made a business plan. It felt so amazing to have an idea of how I wanted to use my summer to gain experience, and how to use what I enjoy the most in life, and on my course, and combine them to create products. I completed a lot of research into selling on Etsy, such as seller policies and online selling laws, before even starting to develop designs. I wanted to know exactly what I was getting into, and how much work I had ahead of me.

Then I needed a name, and oh my gosh I think this was the toughest part of the process. It took me a fair amount of time, but after trying to combine so many different aspects of what I wanted to do, and what I wanted to sell, The Literary Artisan kind of stuck (it was lot better than some of the earlier names). It embodied the theme of what I wanted to base my product range around, which was literature, while creating a professional sense of carefully hand crafted, one-of-a-kind products.

While ideas for products were zooming around in my brain, it still wasn’t time to start the production process. I had to brand my store to have a stable base for what I wanted from the store, and what I wanted the brand to embody. I worked on my brand values, and completed several logo trials with colour schemes before finalising these to have a completed strategy for the store.

Finally, it was time to start designing the products! It was lot more difficult than I first anticipated. I am not an illustrator at all, so I had to find a way to communicate what I wanted to say without learning how to draw! There was a lot of development, experimentation and several hours spent gathering inspiration on Pinterest, but I got there eventually. I went through bouts of creative block and bursts of inspiration, and went in circles, until I suddenly had this surge of creativity, and designs just came flowing out of me! Finishing my first product was the most amazing feeling, and it was at that point that everything started to fall into place.

I worked solidly for about a month creating my first wave of products, and I planned my final day of photographing, editing and putting my listings online. It was by far the most stressful day throughout the journey (so far), because nothing seemed to be going right. But, as soon as the photographs were taken, and edited the way I wanted them to look, and the listing were ready and prepared, it was time to go online.

It was a very overwhelmingly exciting feeling to think that what I had been working on over the past 2 and a half months was available for the world to look at and buy! I’ve only been open on Esty for a few days, but I feel like this project has been part of my life for so long, and wanted to share a little bit of background as to how the idea formed and where the ideas have been before being created.

If you wanted to have a little nosey around my shop, then feel free, you can get to it by clicking here. I can customise orders, so if you like a pattern, but want to change the quote, I am more than happy to talk about your ideas and make a personalised design. I am also pleased to say that I am able to ship worldwide, so anyone can have access to my products.

I hope you enjoy what I have created, and there will be more designs coming very soon!

Until next time…

Jade 🙂

Quote Exchange

QE_post_graphic_txt

That’s what the voices in your head are for, to get you through the silent parts.

– Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins

review_post_graphic_txt

I was very excited when I saw Paula Hawkins was releasing a new thriller, since I loved The Girl on the Train, and was ready to read more from the author of such a great book! Unfortunately, I was disappointed, possibly because I went in to it with such high hopes. Below is my review, plus a sneaky peak at the front cover and description and places to buy:

About The Book

33224064

‘Into The Water’ by Paula Hawkins

A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.

Left behind is a lonely fifteen-year-old girl. Parentless and friendless, she now finds herself in the care of her mother’s sister, a fearful stranger who has been dragged back to the place she deliberately ran from—a place to which she vowed she’d never return.

With the same propulsive writing and acute understanding of human instincts that captivated millions of readers around the world in her explosive debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins delivers an urgent, twisting, deeply satisfying read that hinges on the deceptiveness of emotion and memory, as well as the devastating ways that the past can reach a long arm into the present.

Beware a calm surface—you never know what lies beneath.

My Review

Into The Water is Paula Hawkins’ second stand alone novel from the mystery thriller genre, and is set in a small British town, following several different characters and their actions and reactions to the death of a local woman, Nel, in a famous part of the river known as The Drowning Pool. The events that happen throughout the book are cleverly shown to the reader, allowing us to try and guess the outcome of the investigation. Nothing is given away, but I still found it slightly predictable because of the limited character selection, and the ending wasn’t as exciting as I expected, as it was with Hawkins’ first novel. The point of view that the chapters were written from changed with the characters. For example all of Jules’ chapters (Nel’s sister) were written in first person, but all of Mark’s chapters were written in third person. This change in perspective threw me off in the beginning, but I got used to it as the book went on. I did think that this was done for a reason, but unfortunately I could not find any valid literary reason for Hawkins to do this. However, having Jules’ speak in first person narrative created a sense of her talking to us as if we were Nel. This filled in Nel’s character, placing us in that position and therefore allowing us to sympathise more with what happened to the characters who were close to her. The plot was mostly fast paced because of the shorter chapters, and cliffhangers featured at the end of each character point of view. Everything, as with any thriller, was fairly logical, although there were some parts that didn’t make sense, and didn’t fit with the storyline. They had no reason to be there, for example, the history of the other women in The Drowing Pool. It created a false lead to a possible link between the women in the pool, which would have made it slightly more interesting and exciting. There were a lot of red herrings in the story line, making it too complex, and some were not really tied up at the end like a good thriller should be.

I wasn’t really overcome with a sense of favouritism for any of the characters, although I did feel sympathetic towards Jules and Lena, because of what I previously discussed about first person writing. Every character had a darker side to them, which made them slightly less likeable, but if I had to pick, Jules seemed the most kind, and genuinely worried about Lena losing her mother. The setting helped the characters feel more realistic, and they were written with a fair bit of development and character history, which made them more interesting to read. I did find Erin’s character to be a little on the flat side, and that Hawkins left it too late in the story to introduce her past misdeeds. If they were important to the storyline, they should have been introduced a lot sooner, but alas, they were not at all relevant, and could have been missed completely and allowed the character room for a bit more development within the story.

Of course, because it was a thriller, I wanted to try and guess what happened, but I did’t feel a strong urge to try and guess who did it, because I didn’t really find a lot of drive in the story line. The police investigation seemed to fall a bit flat, because they didn’t really find a lot of evidence, and relied a lot on what people said. I like to read a thriller with a string of evidence that I can unpick as I read it, and that makes me guess what happened, but evidence seemed to be a bit thin on the ground where this story is concerned.

However, I would like to applaud Hawkins writing style, and her very clever use of language throughout the book. She references the water, and vocabulary relating to the Drowning Pool, which could also be related to the characters being ‘drowned’ by their emotions. These vocabulary choices were one of my favourite things about this book.

The beginning was a lot more gripping than the middle to the end of the book, because it was setting the scene and I wanted to find out what had happened. As the story unravelled it started to become clear there wasn’t really a lot to uncover, and with the lack of evidence, there wasn’t the promise of a shocking ending to keep me turning the pages.

The characters were well written, but I didn’t think the storyline and the outcome of the crime was as exciting as some other thrillers I’ve read, and not as good as Hawkin’s first novel. If you enjoyed The Girl on the Train, then you might feel the need to read this book, but you may be disappointed.

My Rating: 3 Muffins out of 5

Where To Buy

If you want to have a read of the book, here is where you can buy the book (including, but not limited to):

Amazon

The Book Depository

  Cover photo and description taken from Goodreads (view book profile here)

SaveSaveSaveSave

Books I’m Dying To Read

TTT_post_graphic_txt

Top Ten Tuesday was originally started by The Broke And The Bookish, where a topic is given every Tuesday and the blogger then produces a top ten list of books to fit the weekly subject. The hosts are currently on a break from TTT, so I’ve decided to go back through the topic archives to find things to write about until we begin again for real. The topic this week is ‘Books I’m Dying To Read‘. I have an ever-growing TBR list that has plenty of books that I am desperate to read, and these are the ones at the top of my list…

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

23437156

I have heard so many good things about this book, and it’s sitting on my shelf waiting to be read, but I know it’s the first in a duology, which means I want to have plenty of time to binge read both books!

 

 

 

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Mass

22839894

Another first book in the series which I need to find the dedication to read all in one. I prefer to read a series together rather than scattered, and I’ve been into stand alone novels at the moment, but I do want to get to this one soon!

 

 

 

 

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson and Robin Wasserman

32718466

I must revisit the Shadowhunter world soon, I’m having withdrawal symptoms… After finishing Lord of Shadows which was a massive book, I took a bit of break, but I think I’m ready to dive back in very soon!

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

28763485

I absolutely loved Nicola Yoon’s first novel, and I am desperate to read this one as well! I read Everything, Everything in a day, so I’m hoping to whizz through this as well, but as with many of the books on this list, I need to find some time to actually sit and read them!

 

 

 

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass

13519397

Another Sarah J. Mass book I haven’t started for the very same reason as ACOTAR! Which series to read first is the question…

 

 

 

 

 

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

23734628

I absolutely loved Fangirl and I really want to find out how Cath wrote the ending of Carry On. I was intrigued by the snippets throughout Fangirl and would love to read the story in it’s entirety!

 

 

 

 

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

23395680

I’m not gonna lie when I say I brought the book for the cover! However, after hearing all of the amazing things about this book, and it’s sequel, I must pick it up soon (so I don’t feel as guilty about buying it just for the cover!)

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

25162632

I’ve been on and off with thrillers at the moment, but this is one I definitely want to read! Again, another start to a series, so I need to find that time to read them all, and I know the fourth book is on it’s way shortly as well, but I really need to be in the mood to read a lot of thrillers to start this one.

The Night Stalker by Robert Bryndza

29073628

I read The Girl In The Ice, which is the first in the Erika Foster series, but I loved that one so much, and the only reason I haven’t picked this one up is because it’s so expensive to buy (I can’t even find it second hand anywhere at a decent price)!

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

20983362

And finally, yet another book which has a book to follow. I know this is a duology, but the books are quite chunky, but I have heard great things, and want to get to it really soon!

 

 

 

 

 

What are some of your favourite books on this list? Are there any books you are dying to read?  Let me know in the comments!

Until next time…

Jade 🙂

Stories: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

discuss_post_graphic_txt

It’s Sunday, which means it’s discussion time. This is when I write to think more deeply about books, why we read, and why literature is so important in our lives. This collection of discussion posts is called Stories, and aims to explore four of my favourite books, discussing characters and their relationships with each other, and how they are affected by predominant symbols in the story. Here is the next installment in the Stories series…

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

In which we explore Harry and Voldemort’s relationship with regards to Harry’s Scar

Harry and Voldemort’s relationship is probably the most complex relationship in this collection, as it has the chance to fully develop over a series of 7 books. However, how their relationship first comes to existence is crucial to the story of the first book, and can be explored in it’s own way. Harry is an orphan, who grows up in the Muggle (non-wizarding) world, until, on his 11th birthday, he is informed by half-giant Hagrid that he is a wizard. He has been accepted to study at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he meets fellow wizard Ron, and witch Hermione, who stay with him and form a strong bond together over the 7 books. Voldemort is known as one of the darkest wizards of all time. He was the one responsible for the death of both James and Lily Potter; Harry’s parents. Voldemort attempted to kill Harry, but failed when the killing curse rebounded and he supposedly died. We find out later that he is just without his body, and his soul has to latch on to another live being to continue surviving. Of course, Harry and Voldemort are arch enemies. We find out later in the series that there was a prophecy spoken about them, which explains that neither can live while the other survives. The main challenge that each face throughout the series is trying to kill the other. However, in the first book, Harry is only just beginning his journey to find out everything about this new world, and is presented with his nemesis that he must eventually defeat. There are several things that connect these two enemies across the series, but the main symbol we are introduced to in Philosopher’s Stone is Harry’s scar. It remains throughout the 7 books as a representation of Harry’s fame, and how he is recognisable as the only known wizard to survive a killing curse, making him somewhat of a celebrity. However, there are deeper meanings and problems behind the scar that are further explored as the story progresses.

At the beginning of the novel, we learn about the murder of Harry’s parents, committed by Voldemort. When he then tries to kill Harry, Voldemort unintentionally marks Harry with a lightning bolt shaped scar, not truly understand why the curse didn’t kill Harry, and what happened when it rebounded. The scar here is believed to create a connection between the two characters, which is unknown to either of them until a lot later in the series. Voldemort doesn’t make a full appearance until further into the novel, because of what happened to him on the night his curse failed, and some believe him to be dead. Before starting at Hogwarts, Harry journeys to Diagon Alley to get his wand, where he finds that the wand that has chosen him has a core similar with only one other wand, which belonged to Voldemort. This was the wand that gave Harry his scar, which helps us as the reader to start to see the connection between them forming. Harry doesn’t encounter any problems with his scar until he starts at Hogwarts. On the night of the start of term feast, Harry gets a burning sensation in his scar when Professor Quirrell has his back to him. We learn later that Voldemort is living in Quirrell, and Quirrell’s turban is hiding Voldemort’s face on the back of his head. This is the first time Harry feels pain in his scar, showing how Harry will come to experience pain whenever Voldemort is close or particularly powerful at the time, the fact of which is fully uncovered later in the series. Knowing this, it foreshadows the end of the first book when we find out about Voldemort’s soul latched on to Quirrell. That night, Harry has a dream about Quirrell’s turban, which foreshadows what it is hiding underneath. This could also suggest development later in the series when Harry starts having dreams connected to what Voldemort is doing, and find his dreams being somewhat controlled. This begins to show their connection through using the idea in the first book, and also points to why the scar provides the connection it does, which is the Horcrux that Voldemort accidentally left in Harry when he cast the killing curse.

As the novel continues, there are only subtle mentions of Voldemort, but the story mainly focuses on Harry and his first year adventures. However, when Harry, Hermione, Draco and Neville are taken into the Forbidden Forest on detention, a discovery is made. Voldemort is using Quirrell and going into the forest to kill unicorns and drink their blood, which offers you eternal life, albeit a cursed one. Harry experiences intense pain in his scar when they encounter Voldemort hovering over a dead unicorn, showing the connection between them whenever Voldemort is close to Harry. It also shows that Voldemort is getting stronger through drinking the unicorn blood, and therefore become more powerful. The pain in Harry’s scar continues even when Quirrell isn’t around, such as when Harry is sitting his exams, which further supports how Voldemort has gotten stronger through Quirrell and drinking the unicorn blood. Harry states that he thinks “it’s a warning… it means dangers coming” (Rowling, 192), showing Harry beginning to understand the severity of the situation he and his fellow wizards and witches face if Voldemort were to return. This takes us to the final chapter of the first book, when Harry faces Voldemort for the second time in his life.

Harry meets Quirrell when he is attempting to steal the Philosopher’s Stone for Voldemort, which would provide him with eternal life that is not cursed from unicorn blood. Quirrell asks Harry where the stone is, and after using the Mirror of Erised, a magical mirror provided by Dumbledore as a barrier to the stone, it appears in Harry’s pocket. When Harry is questioned, he insists he doesn’t know where the stone is, but Voldemort can tell he is lying. This could be through the connection they have through the scar. When Voldemort instructs Quirrell to attack Harry, and they come into contact, it causes Harry extreme pain, which solidifies that the connection was definitely between him and Voldemort, and the pain is caused when he is close, and is increased in severity the closer or more powerful he gets. However, Voldemort is unable to have Harry touch him, because of a protection Harry has from his mother, something that Voldemort will never understand. Love. This becomes an extremely important protective shield through the first half of the series.

In summary, the first novel in the Harry Potter series builds a strong foundation for Harry and Voldemort’s relationship to continue growth and development. The introduction of the scar is imperative in understanding how the two characters have a more magical connection, and how Harry will learn how to develop that connection over the rest of the series. The most important part of this first book is establishing the relationship between these two long term enemies and learning how they are connected, as well as showing how Harry’s scar will become a key symbol throughout the following 6 books, particularly with it’s clear link to one of the darkest wizards of all time.

If anyone has any thoughts on anything written here, then please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments, as it will be very interesting to see what others have found when reading this particular book.

Until next time…
Jade 🙂