Counting Down the Minutes

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Well, we’re almost there. Less than two hours to go for those in the UK and beyond, and less than seven for the rest of us. In Australia, where the release time is 9 am on Saturday, friends of mine are queuing outside Borders (having woken up at 4 am). In London, fans who were lucky enough to win a contest are eagerly waiting the first reading of Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. If you’re not at a party by that time, tune in to at 6:50 EST to catch the reading.

Here in New York, we still have some hours to go, but festivities are already starting to kick off. A Scholastic-run street fair started at 5 pm in SoHo, and at the Barnes & Noble in Union Square, there have already been lines round the block to get just a wristband to mark a place in line at midnight. I arrived at 10 am, when the store opened, and waited two hours for my wristband—number 407. Rumors were milling throughout the line that lucky number 1 had started camping late yesterday afternoon.

It really is almost upon us now. People are, one by one, signing offline for the last time before the book, often with long posts about everything Harry Potter has meant to them. The common salute is “see you on the other side,” which somehow seems very fitting. So here’s to a magical night, and “To Harry Potter— the boy who lived!”