The Night of the Deathly Hallows

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It’s here. I’ve got it. I picked up my copy at 00:30, and haven’t set it down since. But I haven’t started reading. Right now I’m just clutching it, putting off the moment that I will read the first sentence of a Harry Potter book for the last time. I have read the dedication and the list of chapter titles. The former almost made me cry, while the latter piqued my interest greatly. I can tell this book is going to be amazing.

Tonight has already been long, full, and exciting. At about 8 pm I arrived at the street party Scholastic was holding in SoHo, New York. They had various activities, such as face-painting, a board to write memories on, and a place to take your picture in a cut-out of the US cover. But mainly my friends and I wandered around, absorbing everything. The atmosphere was absolutely amazing—everyone was cheery, everyone was friendly. People in elaborate costumes were willing to pose for picture upon picture with fans. Whenever we got in to a line, we invariably ended up making conversation with the people around us, about either predictions for Deathly Hallows or something entirely different.

Then we walked over to Union Square, where a massive party was taking place in the Barnes and Noble bookstore. After fighting our way through a mob outside, we made it up to the top floor right before it was closed, just as Jim Dale began reading extracts from the earlier books. Instead of craning our necks to see him, we sat at the back with a group of people and watched him on a TV screen. It was amazing to be hearing the Harry Potter books being read aloud with so many fans around you. Everyone laughed at all the jokes, even though we knew they were coming, and (almost) everyone was willing to participate in a loud chorus of Hogwarts’ school song. Once again my theory about the kindness of Harry Potter fans was confirmed—all of us in the group at the back were talking and laughing and sharing memories of Potter, and everyone in the store joined in at the countdown to midnight. It felt like New Year’s Eve, but a million times better.

And then, finally, we started to line up for the book. For a while this mainly consisted of trying to push our way to the front of a crowd, but we soon got to an actual line, and in half an hour we had the books in our hands, and were running out of the store, massive smiles on our faces and tears in our eyes. And now I’m off to read that first sentence. It’s going to be a very emotional weekend.