By: Reignell Francisco
Welcome to this year’s No. 93 Diagon Alley awards! Which is this weird thing we do where we rank all of the Harry Potter chapter art drawings from the Scholastic version and determine which are the best to be included in the top ten. The drawings don’t change, but the list do, based on our whim for that particular year.
But we are always guided by three basic criteria: the drawings must be awesome, in tandem with an awesome chapter title and lastly, it must be relevant to the whole series. So for our 15th anniversary of the Potter Magic, we present to you this year’s top ten Harry Potter chapter art drawings.
Top 10: The Ministry of Magic (Order of the Phoenix)
For a time, I was obsessed with the Fountain of Magical Brethren especially after I read the duel between Voldemort and Dumbledore and how the headmaster of Hogwarts transfigured the statues during that battle. It’s awesome! This chapter on the Order of the Phoenix book basically tackles Harry’s hearing at the Ministry of Magic (after he performed a Patronus Charm in front of a muggle which constitutes a violation of the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery and a serious offense under section 13 of the International Confederation of Warlocks’ Statute of Secrecy, but enough of that). The fountain, as was depicted in the art drawing, consists of the statues of a wizard, a witch, a goblin, a centaur and an elf (no giants). Harry did throw some galleons on the fountain after he was cleared of all charges (all proceeds will be given to St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries).
Top 9: Quidditch (Philosopher’s Stone)
Part of the Harry Potter series’ charm is Quidditch, the magical game played in broomsticks and involving crazy heavy black balls aiming to knock you down. This art drawing in the first book depicts exactly the excitement of the game and is a good introduction for readers. This one is about the chapter featuring Harry’s first ever Quidditch game (against Slytherin), famous for the fact that he captured the snitch by swallowing it (150 points for Gryffindor!). For more information regarding Quidditch, read Quidditch Through the Ages by Kennilworthy Whisp.
Top 8: The Cave (Half-Blood Prince)
This creepy and accurate representation of the Half-Blood Prince chapter was also creepily and excellently portrayed in the movie version. The style differs from most of the art drawings in the series and with the title on the top, makes the drawing more powerful. The story of the chapter is also one of the most powerful and profound scenes in the series. This drawing portrays Harry and Dumbledore at the mouth of the cave protecting one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes, the well-designed protection of which was successfully penetrated by the duo. The defenses involved a wall which requires a blood payment (crude), a boat which only one person can ride at a time (that is if you could find it), and a potion that you need to drink. And also inferi. Lots of it.
Top 7: The Lightning Struck Tower (Half-Blood Prince)
“If Dumbledore chooses to ignore the warnings the cards show…again and gain, no matter how I lay them out…the lightning-struck tower. Calamity. Disaster. Coming nearer all the time.” That was a quote from Professor Trelawney shortly before the Battle of Astronomy commences. You might be familiar with the battle as we featured it last time in our The Great Battles article. I’m not sure about the astronomy tower featured in this art drawing, it looks like a light house, but the Dark Mark depicted here is so accurately loyal to the book’s description (stars forming a constellation in the shape of a skull and a snake) it’s kind of great. This chapter is after the events on The Cave, and tackles the battle inside Hogwarts, primarily in the astronomy tower, when Death Eaters managed to penetrate the defenses of the school. And also they killed Dumbledore, which is sad.
Top 6: The Final Hiding Place (Deathly Hallows)
A flying dragon as a art drawing for a chapter is cool but when it was used as a prelude to a climactic chapter to the whole series, it becomes way much cooler. The style is reminiscent of the art drawing for The Cave chapter in Half-Blood Prince, much less about objects but more on a particular event on that chapter. The art drawing here showing a dragon on flight couldn’t be more symbolic. In this chapter, the hiding place for the last Horcrux (except Nagini) was revealed to Harry shortly after they broke into Gringotts Wizarding Bank (where they stole Hufflepuff’s golden cup) and escaped via that dragon on the picture. The Battle of Hogwarts would soon start after that.
Top 5: The Journey From Platform Nine and Three-Quarters (Philosopher’s Stone)
“Anything from the trolley?” One of the turning points for new Potter readers is this chapter where Harry rides the Hogwarts Express with Ron. At this point, readers could either fall in love with the series or become a casual reader. If you’re the second one, go die. Harry’s first ride in the Hogwarts Express is remembered with the candies and other diabetes-inducing sweets Harry and Ron (or just Harry) bought from the old trolley witch, who until now, still hasn’t got a name. There were Pumpkin Pasties, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and Cauldron Cakes but the best remembered sweets of all of them was the Chocolate frog, with a chocolate-covered frog, bewitched to move so please eat it fast or else. If it escaped you, don’t worry, besides, it’s the card you would want in there, featuring famous wizards like Dumbledore and umm Dumbledore. I’ve got six of them. This art drawing is as iconic as the Harry Potter series itself.
Top 4: The Only One He Ever Feared (Order of the Phoenix)
The legendary duel between Dumbledore and Voldemort was memorialized in this art drawing with a hair-raising title and after a shocking ending in the previous chapter (where Sirius died during the battle between the Order of the Phoenix and Death Eaters). I was so in awe with this one I made a huge painting of it and displayed it in my room so I could look at it everyday. I know. This drawing can’t capture the entire greatness of the duel so I would just like to include some of the paragraphs from that chapter, for effect. “Dumbledore flicked his own wand. The force of the spell that emanated from it was such that Harry, though shielded by his stone guard, felt his hair stand on end as it passed, and this time Voldemort was forced to conjure a shining silver shield out of thin air to deflect it. The spell, whatever it was, caused no visible damage to the shield, though a deep, gonglike note reverberated from it, an oddly chilling sound…”
Top 3: The Mirror of Erised (Philosopher’s Stone)
The chapter featuring the mirror that shows most desperate and deepest desire of your heart is so profoundly simple yet it set the tone for the succeeding chapters and for the building of Harry’s character. The chapter is so important yet many failed to recognize it. This chapter, alongside this art drawing, exemplifies the best of the Harry Potter series: it is simple, it is profound, and it is from the heart. This art drawing also shows why the first book is so special amongst the other six books in the series. It’s because of the child-like innocence of the drawings, which captured the true magic behind Harry Potter.
Top 2: Priori Incantatem (Goblet of Fire)
From the innocence of the Mirror of Erised we go to the chapter which introduced us to the powerful reverse-spell effect that is the Priori Incantatem. Ok so what is Priori Incantatem? What makes Goblet of Fire special is that it combines the elements which make the other Potter books excel: the childhood nostalgia-inducing power of Philisopher’s Stone and of the Chamber of Secrets, and the depth and complexity of magic like that of in Half-Blood Prince. This chapter signals the departure of the childhood innocence of the series to a more dark one going to the final three books. As was discussed in the chapter bearing this wonderful art drawing, this reverse-spell effect could happen when two wands, which share the same core, were forced to duel each other. One of the wands will regurgitate spells it has performed, in reverse. It’s too much to process, I know. This art drawing features not of the spell, or of the ensuing duel, but of Lord Voldemort himself, shortly before Harry was forced to duel him in the graveyard (and produced the Priori Incantatem). This art drawing, though lacking color, captures, in a profound way, exactly what was described in the book: “Voldemort’s red eyes flamed in the darkness. Harry saw his mouth curl into a smile, saw him raised his wand.”
Top 1: Diagon Alley (Philosopher’s Stone)
J.K Rowling showed us that the destiny of Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort was intertwined in this chapter by giving to Harry the Phoenix wand. This chapter is one of the most important chapters in the entire series for it contains a declaration and a hope that came true at the end of the Deathly Hallows. It was proclaimed by the wandmaker Ollivander at the very start: “I think we must expect great things from you, Mr. Potter… After all, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named did great things — terrible, yes, but great.” The art drawing for this chapter not only contains the childhood innocence and charm of the first book but also accurately represented the whole chapter: “The pile of tried wands was mounting higher and higher on the spindly chair, but the more wands Mr. Ollivander pulled from the shelves, the happier he seemed to become.”
Author’s Note: The awards was originally called “Harry Potter Chapter Sketch Awards” but was renamed in 2007 as the No. 93 Diagon Alley Awards, in reference to the author’s answer during the Triwizard Tournament of 2007 which earned him the silver medal.
This post is approved by the Ministry of Magic.