Can we consider the illustrations in the newly released illustrated version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone canon? I.e. can we draw conclusions about some events, characters and similar based on the illustrations in the book?

(as a side note - I got the book and it is really fabulous) :)

Here some of the illustrations as requested:

Platform 9 3/4 Platform 9 3/4

Hagrid's Hut Hagrid's Hut

Diagon Alley enter image description here

  • 4
    Can you add an image of the newly released illustrated version, so we can easily see your reference?
    – TylerH
    Oct 20, 2015 at 16:06
  • @TylerH all the links I found are of commercial sites selling the book. Linking these might be considered an (unapproved) advertisement.
    – vap78
    Oct 20, 2015 at 16:41
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    @vap78 I think that what TylerH was asking for is an example of a picture that might allow you to draw conclusions about events and characters, as you suggested. You wouldn't have to link to a site that sells the book, just show a picture from it, as is common in many SciFi.SE questions. Oct 20, 2015 at 17:07
  • @vap78 Indeed, like Thunderforge said, I meant something like this: i.imgur.com/YkTOmpS.jpg not simply a link to an e-commerce site.
    – TylerH
    Oct 20, 2015 at 17:35

1 Answer 1


To my knowledge (and the knowledge of the Horde), there is no official canon policy for Harry Potter. So really, my only answer can be:


You could make a good argument for both sides. The illustrations were not done by Rowling herself, but by an illustrator named Jim Kay; that alone will make them non-canon in some people's eyes.

However, Rowling has approved of them, both publicly and privately; as the Telegraph reports:

Rowling has given it her public seal of approval: "Seeing Jim Kay's illustrations moved me profoundly," she wrote for the dust jacket. "I love his interpretation of Harry Potter's world, and I feel honoured and grateful he has lent his talent to it." She also wrote to Kay privately. "She sent a really lovely letter, and that's the first time it hit me that this was real," he says. "Imagine you’re a vicar and you find a Post-it note from God on your fridge. It was like that."

However, keen-eyed readers will note that Rowling very carefully says that Kay's illustrations are his interpretation; you might read that as approving of his illustrations without endorsing them as factual - like if she saw some fanart and said "wow, that's quite good."

However however, Kay did seem to go to a lot of effort to be true to the characters; later on in that Telegraph article, we read:

he took photographs of [the child models], in the positions he needed according to his preparatory sketches, and altered their features to fit Rowling’s descriptions.

Personally I wouldn't consider them canon, but in the right situations they might make a good addition to a conversation. But that's just my opinion, and there's enough leeway that you can happily form your own.

  • Great, now I'm getting Buzzfeed flashbacks.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Oct 20, 2015 at 14:28
  • @RogueJedi Sorry; I couldn't resist Oct 20, 2015 at 14:28
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    Basically this all sounds like a "no" to me, much like the new "from our own correspondent" stuff on Pottermore.
    – Valorum
    Oct 20, 2015 at 14:38
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    @ThruGog Well I found this tweet where she argues that the new musical should be considered canon; I'm not entirely sure I'm comfortable saying that she's declaring it as canon, though. It reads more like she's trying to inform fan opinions, rather than setting out an explicit policy Oct 20, 2015 at 19:21

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