Friday July 20th was the big night; the night a lot of book loving fans have been waiting on for what seems a lifetime: the release of the last of Harry Potter's books, called "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." I know that is hasn't been that long, but it certainly has felt that way to me since I read the last line in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Then with all of the press releases, countless numbers of "authentic" manuscripts, and bludgeon of rumors (potential spoilers) swirling the internet last week, it is no wonder that several fans turned their internet off completely until Friday night. I was able to make it to a local bookstore for the special event. I have been to the last four releases of the Harry Potter series at my local Barnes and Noble, however this year was different. You could honestly feel the magic and anticipation of the hundreds of fans waiting for one minute past midnight.
Barnes and Noble kicked off the event around four by handing out silver and gold starred wristbands to the people who were beginning to line up for the young wizards "final" adventure. The gold bands were for those who had preordered the book and the silver was for those of us that felt there might not be a need to preorder the finale. Several wizards and witches popped in and out of the store until the true festivities began at nine that evening. I saw nearly every character from the series springing to life before my eyes without the aid of Hollywood.
Adults and children alike showed their love for the characters through representation. However, the series characters were not the only ones to show up, several unknown wizards and witches arrived to participate in the activities before 11:15. You could get your picture taken with a standee of Harry and get your face painted or rather your forehead, which most seemed to request their own lightning bolt scar in or out of costume. There was a guessing jar filled with every-flavored jellybeans. Here people could also nab their own glow in the dark Harry Potter glasses, and there was even a place to make Horcruxes, without the killing. If you were someone who had missed the phenomenon of the book series, there was an ample supply of books to ensure you would not miss out. For the parents of a child who wanted a wand all to his own, since they had seen several others with wands, there was a book for every future wand maker in the building. I was one of those parents. As the night progressed onward, the restlessness only seemed to mount from the growing crowd.
A couple of people had taken to buying the last volume, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, and rereading the last chapter or so while they waited. For some fans, waiting seemed to be one thing they could not do much longer. Several people eventually decided to leave the bookstore in a fear of there not being enough to meet the needs of the several people in the store. I watched as small packs of people left the Barnes and Noble to try and score a place in line at another store surrounding the shopping center. Even with the few that left, the numbers grew to a point that there was almost no room for anyone to stand in the store. The claustrophobics among us would not be able to survive for more than a minute waiting for midnight.
When the crowd became reminiscent of what a sardine must feel like, we had to wait a mere 45 minutes before the final release. The gold bands lined up first and then the silvers. It seemed as though the long night was beginning to affect some of the younger Potter fans waiting in line, as they were starting to take off their garb that represented their favorite characters. Finally, the time was here. Many of the people cheered as they exited the Barnes and Noble beginning at barely five minutes after midnight. I finally received my copy of the book around one in the morning. Since that hour, I have been absorbing the novel at an insane speed, more than halfway through and even more excited about the impending ending. Maybe excited is not the right word, rather a sense of euphoric closure is close at hand. After ten years of enjoying everything from the books to the films and the video games, even the countless merchandise to spin out of the series. I, like many fans, would love to see the series continue on, but with the speed and shape of this last installment thus far, I can see the end and I am both sad and happy to see the closure of the series. I just hope that my notions are correct and the ending doesn't happen in a different way. Like so many others across the globe I am off to finish the novel it seems like I have been waiting a lifetime for.
CCC Project Coordinator