One would imagine that an author with as much clout as J.K. Rowling would be able to control the cover designs of her best-selling books.
That may be reality now, but there was a time before Rowling took the world by storm; a time before all the sequels, prequels, spinoffs, musicals and alternate universes.
It was that time that gifted us with an absolute mess of a cover so out-of-nowhere that Rowling still has literally no idea what is happening on it.
Typically speaking, the covers of these types of books depict characters, settings and circumstances from the plot. As the series advanced, plotlines "evolved" and movies were made, the covers began to take on a more bold and graphic look.
Also there are limited editions, special editions, collector's editions, numbered editions, house cover art editions, movie editions...
You get the point.
forrest gump cooking GIF Giphy
But again, we're not there yet.
This was the point where the covers were simple line drawings of magical kids who went to a magical school and hung out with magical friends and got up to magical shenanigans. It was a simpler, more pure, less Voldemort-y time.
The innocence and wonder translated onto covers from around the world. One cover featured Harry in front of the Hogwart's Express. Another gave us Harry on his broomstick, flying between pillars. A few gave us glimpses of Harry, Hermione and Ron together.
And then there's Italy, who gave the world this.
What is even happening? Is this the Christmas thing ... but with wizard drugs?
As far as we can recall, at no point did Harry visit his local Chuck E. Cheese and throw a chess party.
Did we miss the chapter where ya boy HP was wizard-napped by NYC subway rats and taken to one of those sewer-dwelling-geniuses we see in movies all the time (lookin' at you, August Rush ... and Ninja Turtles) but never in real life?
And the only way he could win his freedom was to live among them, as one of the rats, working his way up their social ladder via their chosen method of battle, chess? Until finally he can chess-battle the boss rat and return to Hogwarts?
Is that a thing in the Italian version? 'Cause that wasn't a thing in the one we read.
Apparently that didn't happen in Rowling's version, either, as she too has absolutely, positively, no idea what is going on in this cover.
I've always loved that cover because it's so odd. Why the rat head? Why the giant rat in the headscarf? I never metâ�¦ https://t.co/vJDUWBksI9— J.K. Rowling (@J.K. Rowling) 1587492287.0
@jk_rowling Well, you know https://t.co/FLlcwpaOXu— Rodrigo Borgia (@Rodrigo Borgia) 1587506523.0
@jk_rowling Believe me, I've been asking myself the same question for twenty years— Hogwarts' princess Ï� (@Hogwarts' princess Ï�) 1587496832.0
@jk_rowling It's Ratwarts. Everything is a rat: the houses, the uniforms, the teachers— Chuck the Sandwich-Making Guy (@Chuck the Sandwich-Making Guy) 1587500976.0
@jk_rowling Scabbersâ�� birthday party?? Can this be canon?— Brandon Willmore (@Brandon Willmore) 1587492463.0
We love how graciously she phrased her total bewilderment.
#WriterGoals right there. So eloquent in one's befuddlement.
Twitter had some fun with this...
@jk_rowling Oh my Jo! the stoned philosopher? #LostInTranslation? Young #HarryPotter looks to be have'n a smoke!— Hogan (@Hogan) 1587494809.0
@BeccaH88 @jk_rowling Okay, the first one I thought was just a take on Christmas Day in the first book where they aâ�¦ https://t.co/PqnpRajRlp— Maura @ FantasticBeastsMovies.com (@Maura @ FantasticBeastsMovies.com) 1587492986.0
And then, like magic, an answer actually appeared.
We don't know how true it is, but here is the story according to ye olde experts, some people on Twitter.
@jk_rowling Yes, are so beautiful. The illustrator is Serena Riglietti ð��®ð��¹— Giac (@Giac) 1587492373.0
@dmagro1 @GiacNat @jk_rowling I need to know too— Daniel Ojeda (@Daniel Ojeda) 1587498422.0
@danielojedae @dmagro1 @GiacNat @jk_rowling I did once. She said that part of her signature style is to put hats onâ�¦ https://t.co/YwY1jr9Gw6— filippo (@filippo) 1587505462.0
@helakott @cosasoccede_pod @danielojedae @dmagro1 @GiacNat @jk_rowling She also wasn't given the full book and hadâ�¦ https://t.co/n7z6xjuWaZ— ð��¢ð��®ð��ªð��»ð��µð��ªð��²ð�� ð��¼ (@ð��¢ð��®ð��ªð��»ð��µð��ªð��²ð�� ð��¼) 1587508931.0
Like we said, we don't know how true it is, but if it does happen to be factual, then this illustrator is our new favorite person. Imagine being an illustrator given a chance to draw the cover of the book that will literally change the children's fiction world ... and you end up drawing a cover that pretty much has nothing to do with anything.
And then later, when you're asked about it, you just shrug and go "Eh. That's kinda my thing."
Yeah ... Yeah. We feel that. That's the energy we need right now. Big ups to you, Italian illustrator Serena Riglietti. You da real MVP.
The Harry Potter Hardcover complete Book Set in Collectible Trunk is available here.