July 20, 2007

Harry Potter: Live Blog

I decided that I would see for myself just how deep the Harry Potter phenomenon ran. I usually look at fads with more than a little skepticism, especially here in the Upper Midwest. If kids and parents go nuts for movies or games on the coasts, it would seem unlikely here in Middle America ... or at least in the sleepy suburb in which I live.

Guess again!

Harry Potter's Final Night

That little patch of floor at the bottom of the left corner was about the only unoccupied space in the store. Witches, quidditch players, and plain old Muggles have stuffed the Barnes & Noble almost to capacity already, and I'm certain more will be arriving as we get closer to midnight. They just announced that the store has a live owl show up at the registers, and signs all over the store announce other activities, such as a Quidditch Toss.

I plan to wander around and take a few snaps between now and 12:15, when my group gets their book. I'll post them as I go along -- if I can actually move.

11:24 PM CT - I took a pass around the store, shooting pictures of the various stops. I'm going to see if I can put them into a slide show. It's pretty amazing, but then again, retailers have had plenty of practice by this time. They have several activities to keep kids from becoming too restless, but the stress has begun to show with some. The smaller children seem to be handling it better than the older ones, but every adult I've seen in the place looks exhausted.

They'll begin organizing the sales in a couple of minutes. They just called the "11:30 cashiers" to the register.

11:35 - They just called the holders of orange slips into line -- and a hush fell over the store, I kid you not. The activities continued after a moment of silence.

11:39 - Here's the slideshow. I saved the scariest character until last.

11:44 - They're lining up now; the area in which I've been seated has pretty much cleared out. Pin The Tail On The Hideous Creature -- the activity just across from me -- has emptied out.

11:54 - Well, there's always one in the crowd that has to politicize things. A middle-aged Muggle just walked past me with a T-shirt that read, "Republicans for Voldemort".

11:57 -- Gryffindor won the Quidditch toss -- by one point! It's just like the book -- which a twenty-something sitting on the floor next to my chair reminded everyone.

12:00 - They're doing a New Year's Eve countdown -- happy Harry Potter!

12:01 - Have the first confirmed spoilers hit the Internet yet?

12:05 - My battery's running low, and if the B&N staff has their act together, my color group should get called to the counter in the next ten minutes. I don't plan on staying for the whole party; I'll hit the road as soon as I have my book. I'd stay but I can't get within a half-mile of the coffee bar here, and without caffeine, I'll be lucky to drive the two miles home.

12:52: Just got home a few minutes ago. They had it arranged pretty well, although they could have staged the line a little more efficiently. Not too many people stuck around for more festivities after they bought the book; most went immediately out the door.

It's easy to tease, but I have to say that everyone there looked like they were having a great time, even the employees. It was a fun festival, a magical night in many ways for the smaller readers who probably rarely stay up this late for anything else. I didn't see one tear or hear one complaint from the kids, and that's pretty remarkable.

Blogging may be a little light this weekend, BTW ....


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Comments (15)

Posted by Sara | July 20, 2007 11:48 PM

My son works security for Barnes and Noble as a 2nd job. Normally his shift ends at 11 pm, but tonight he is being paid to stay until 3:30 AM. They are planning a huge party starting at 11 pm with Harry Potter look-alike contests, best costumes, etc. All the employees are dressed as characters from the various books and the store is decorated to the hilt.

My grandson, who is visiting from another state, it turns out, is the spitting image of Harry Potter and when he dons the round glasses could pass for his double. So, we spent the day running around getting him a costume together and he and his younger sister are going to work with their Uncle tonight and try to win one of the prizes. Our small town B&N expects to sell out all 4500 copies they received by 3:30 am and that are under guard until 12:01 am.

Posted by daytrader | July 21, 2007 4:30 AM

Tonight we have a view of totally overcompensating sillyness and Monday and a few days thereafter the pollsters will romp through the let down exploiting the numbers as only they can.

Reality is temporarily suspended.

Film at 11.

Posted by Subvet | July 21, 2007 4:50 AM

"Blogging may be a little light this weekend,BTW....."

Ya think? It's supposedly over 700 pages long!

Posted by Scott Malensek | July 21, 2007 5:34 AM


Yeah, better read fast. The Hayes biography of Cheney is due out real soon!


Posted by Joseph Bell | July 21, 2007 8:58 AM

That's President Cheney today.

Maybe he will release his inner Valdemort for us and nuke Iran. I wonder if Potter fans would notice. :-)

Posted by Strick | July 21, 2007 9:03 AM

Our copy purchased from an online competitor was delivered just before 9:00 am this morning. The UPS driver looked Harried (sorry). Much more my style, having the book delivered to the door after my first cup of coffee.

My daughter ordered one online from the same company, but since her brother is staying with her during his summer internship, she went with him to purchase his copy from Barnes and Noble. She just wanted to enjoy the party.

Posted by Tom Shipley | July 21, 2007 9:11 AM

Picked up a copy for a friend of mine. I've only read the 3rd book, but am a fan of the films. Couldn't help myself (and don't really care all that much) so I read the last line... and it is somewhat revelatory.

Posted by sue | July 21, 2007 11:22 AM

My grandchildren, 17 and 10, were over zealous for the book... it will come from the other grandparents as have all the others. The 22 and the 17have not only read but seen, many times, the Harry Potter books and movies. The 10 year old not so much, BUT, after seeing the movie on Wednesday, she picked up the last Potter book and began to read, albeit slowly. An awesome feat by Harry.
However, after watching the new movie, I realized that maybe the reason the kids go crazy over Harry is that old fashioned values are seeped in the books. Responsibility, respect, honor, integrity, love and compassion are in all of the books in a quiet way. I especially liked the newest movie as it is more "blatant" in the values department than any of the others. It caused discussions about behavior and results in the car going home, when we got home and since we saw the movie. Just a thought, but it explains for me why the young love it....being decent, good and honest, in my opinion, are intrinsically natural human traits needed for a free and successful life and one that the majority on the planet has striven for the past tens of thousands of years.

Posted by EternalMalachi | July 21, 2007 3:16 PM

There were plenty of cosplays over at the Burnsville Store, including one woman dressed as the Fat Lady portrait. She walked around w/ a frame hooked over her neck. There was a Luna w/ a little Lion hat, and various mixed wizards and witches. My favorite was a gal who had made her own shirt. On the back was a color drawing of a Happy Snape under a rainbow with the words "I trust Snape," and on the front "Snape does not kick puppies." ^.^`

I enjoyed the book. Finished this morning before going to bed. ^.^

Posted by S. Craffen | July 21, 2007 8:08 PM


I think you are loosing it a bit with this focus on Potter. You are a little old for this. The strange focus makes me look at you a little differently.

Posted by Tom Shipley | July 22, 2007 1:30 AM

One's never too old for wonder.

Posted by hurricane567 | July 22, 2007 5:05 AM

Got mine midnightish after waiting in line for a few minutes at a local Wal Mart. No costumes, no contests, but i did get a green wrist band that says Slythrien on it. "Republicans for Voldemort"? Feh! How about "Democrats for Umbrage"?

Posted by unclesmrgol | July 22, 2007 2:28 PM

The local Costco has plenty at under $19.00. Every other shopper has one in their basket. Been there two days in a row, and it's the same today as yesterday. No visible dent in the cube of books stacked on top of thirty or so unopened boxes.

My spoilers:

Snape has six fingers on his left hand.

Dumbledore is Valdemort.

Valdemort is Harry's father.

Everybody dies except Valdemort.

The above is offered without having read anyone else's spoilers, nor having yet read the book, of which exactly one resides in my house and is being read in order from youngest to oldest (me).

For those who want a real spoiler, just head on over to Wikipedia. They even have a table of the dead, according to my wife (who smugly cheated and read the end first).

Posted by LIbraryGryffon | July 23, 2007 10:47 AM

We went and did the festivities starting at about 9pm at our local Borders. The girls had a good time, and even the husband, who had come in a separate car with plans to leave early, stayed till I got our copy at about 12:30. We left with said copy clutched tight in the elder child's hands.

Some folks are complaining the the middle section is rather long and dry, but I started reading it Saturday night and finished just before dinner on Sunday (about 7 hours total reading time). Looking back on it now, there are a few bits that could perhaps have been tighter, but while I was reading it I didn't notice them.

Posted by Goats | July 23, 2007 3:30 PM

The Republicans for Voldemort shirt is an artifact of a webcomic called Goats, which is at www.goats.com

The RfV story arc was a few years ago, because of the activities of one Diablo, a chicken with a taste for evil and a tendency to get his head lopped off.