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Aprés Harry

Here we are, ten days later, and the air is still buzzing with Harry Potter Party reports! Brockman did a bang-up job giving the play-by-play the night of the party. And here we offer further accounts of all the fun... But, first, get a load of this slideshow!

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Powell's own intrepid City of Books Kids' Team reporter Sarah H. was walking around with a notebook, interviewing people beginning early in the afternoon of the Big Day. Here is her final report:

The Powell's City of Books Potter Party was a great success. Wizards with umbrellas instead of broomsticks joyfully waited in a line that circled not one, but two city blocks. Excitement hovered in the air, while fans waited for the book that would end an era. As we went about our Friday morning, July 20, 2007, we couldn't help but notice the elation brewing over the midnight release of Book 7. Outside on the sidewalk, near the Couch Street entrance, sat a quiet group of fans carrying a sign that read "We're here for Harry."

As the day rolled on and the line grew longer, fans waited in the drizzling rain. Umbrellas and raincoats protected their labor-intensive costumes. Harry Potter was by far the most popular costume, but most of the book's characters were represented. Hagrid and Dumbledore reached celebrity status, as adoring fans begged to have their pictures taken with them.

By 10 p.m. the street (closed to traffic for this auspicious event) adjacent to Powell's City of Books was packed. Street performers weaved in and out of the crowds -- a group of folk dancers filled the night air with flute music, chants, and the sounds of cracking sticks. There was also face-painting, popcorn-popping, magic-making, and fire-eating.

Just before midnight, a horse-drawn carriage passed by the entire length of the line, delivering Dumbledore with the key to open the door to the store. Shrieks of joy filled the room, and continued into the wee hours of the morning, as excited fans rushed in to buy their copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The night felt truly magical.

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The Cedar Hills Crossing event was also a truly smashing success.

Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing: Harry Potter's Almost Here!

Reporters John S. and Emily M. agree that the highlight of the evening was seeing assistant manager Spencer signing autographs and posing for pictures as Gilderoy Lockheart.

Powell's Own Gilderoy Lockheart

The line snaked up and down the aisles through most of the store, but there was plenty to do for those who had someone to hold their place.

Waiting in Line for Book 7

There was an Arithmancy booth and a Make-Your-Own-Wand table for the kids.

Arithmancy Booth!

Additionally, there was a sorting hat, and it doesn't get much better than tiny kids desperately trying to scramble up a tall stool for a once in a lifetime opportunity to find out which Hogwarts house they belong in.

A Young Soul Tries Out the Sorting Hat

Among the many fabulous costumes, Neville Longbottom's grandmother shone all evening, complete with a British accent and a huge pocketbook out of which she frequently produced a picture of her grandson (in fact, she bragged about him all night long, as any proper granny would).

Neville Longbottom's Grandmother

It was really, really tons of fun and quite successful. Families came with kids of all ages, and the entertainment was a total hit.

Party Revelers in Costume

Two Miniature Harrys

Once the selling began at 12:01, (after a very exciting and dramatic 30-second countdown) folks sped right through the line. Then all rushed home to read it!

I Finally Got My Copy!

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All in all, we couldn't have asked for a better turn out, a warmer group, or a grander reason to celebrate! Thanks, J. K. Rowling, for inspiring us to such heights through your characters and the incredible world they inhabit.

And now I leave you with my favorite anecdote from the felicitous affair:

When one of the first people in line finally, at last, got into the City of Books, just past midnight, she bought two books. She then went outside, walked down the block to the end of the line, and gave one of the books to the last person standing in line.

It may be a crazy rumor — but we really believe it happened, because the night was just that magical.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows...
    Used Hardcover $8.95

2 Responses to "Aprés Harry"

    Sophie August 1st, 2007 at 9:20 am

    I believe the anecdote: in the store I work at (American Book Center in Den Haag, the Netherlands), in the week following the release (we had a party too!) a gentleman bought a Harry Potter book for a girl in line in front of him, who wasn't allowed one by her mom until she'd finally finished some chores. :-) He had to sign it and leave his email address, so she could let him know how she liked it!

    Claudia August 3rd, 2007 at 10:25 am

    I believe it, too. Near my house their was a bakery selling chocolate frogs, fizzing wizzbees, cockroach clusters, butterbeer, pumpkin juice and the famous Dumbledore lemondrops. It was truly delicious!

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