UP!–The “HARRY POTTER” Clock Strikes MIDNIGHT!

The Cursed Child - coverBack in July 2007, the anticipation was palpable for the release of the last installment in the one-and-only Harry Potter series. The day on which there would be midnight release parties throughout the world for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I made very definite plans to enjoy it. I’d never attended a midnight release and that being the last one (so I thought), I didn’t want to miss it. (You can read about how I spent that unforgettable day in a blog post I wrote when having done a “Harry Potter Re-Read“.)

The question of whether or not there would be additional books to the series was discussed by many and certainly posed to the author herself. J. K. Rowling said she’d “never say never.” The characters and world she built had become a part of her and her life in a very profound way, and the truth is—you can’t turn off the imagination of a writer—certainly not one of her caliber. Aren’t we LUCKY?!

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them-coverThrough her Pottermore website, J. K. Rowling has shared more of that world, its characters and backstory, and continues to do so. With the upcoming November release of the film based on her book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the screenplay also being written by Rowling, we’re being gifted with the history of other Wizarding schools, especially that of the American-based “Ilvermorny,” another in which you can be sorted into one of four Houses on the Pottermore site.

Ultimately, and not surprisingly (at least not to me), she also co-wrote a play with John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, centered largely on Harry’s second son, Albus Severus. Thorne then wrote a stage play based on it. Little, Brown Book Group was able to convince Rowling to allow the play to be printed in book form; “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts I & II” (Special Rehearsal Edition) is officially considered the 8th story in the series. A resounding “YES!” was heard by Harry Potter fans the world over! Long story short, this past Saturday night, in preparation for the July 31st release date, there were bookstores once again resurrecting the custom we all presumed dead, but no, folks, it wasn’t dead—just dormant: The HARRY POTTER MIDNIGHT RELEASE Party! 😎 (I wonder if there will be another Midnight Release when the “Definitive Collector’s Edition” is released * rubs hands greedily * though not confident!)

Back in early April, when the book was first available for pre-order, I did so. Really—there are just some things in life that go without saying 😉 So, for me, attending the Midnight Release wasn’t about buying the book at the stroke of midnight. It was just about the experience, whatever that would be. The people I would’ve loved attending with (my daughter-in-law and her mom who were with me for the Deathly Hallows release), were busy with a family party (which I attended 😀 ) and readying for vacation, so I went solo. As expected, the parking lot was a madhouse, but unexpectedly I got lucky finding a spot right away 😎 Having arrived relatively late, at about 10 p.m., the festivities were well under way, but that didn’t diminish my “fun quotient” one bit. I took a few pics to share with you, including my customary blurry ones.

We had steady rain through the night. Even a few torrential downpours, not that that deters us fans :D, but it did keep me from taking a pic of the entrance to the Hackensack Barnes & Noble upon arrival, so got this somewhat “glowing, magical” photo as I left…

B&N Hackensack entrance

There was the “check in” table where those who pre-ordered books to pick up at the store that night, or walk-ins, would pick up numbered tickets for the queue to purchase the books after midnight. Behind that table was this display of two assembled 3-D puzzles, one each of Hogwarts Castle and the Hogwarts Express

Hogwarts and Express 3-D puzzles

The one thing I knew of before hand was the existence of a Muggle Wall, so that was what I inquired about and found close by. Of course, I signed it, though came equipped with my own pen rather than the “stinky” Sharpie markers provided. Here you can see two young Muggles adding their signatures; this was shortly after 10 p.m (take note of the “written vs. blank” space on the Wall)…

Muggle Wall - two kids

After making my Muggle mark, I proceeded to look about for signs of any “magical” goings-on. The first thing I spotted were balloons beneath which a few robed and somewhat suspicious-looking people sat behind an activity-filled table…

Slytherin table activities-cropped more

I immediately wanted to partake so the first thing I did was draw my patronus. Yes, Muggles have VERY vivid imaginations so live with the delusion that we can actually have things like patronuses 😀 Believe it or not, during all my “Harry Potter” years, I’d never put any real thought into what mine would be so I ran a few possibilities through my head, but since I knew how to draw a unicorn and figured it was such a “pure, magical” animal, that should be it. I happen to face paint unicorn heads a lot, but it’s been years since I’d drawn a horse’s body, so the legs and how the joints bend threw me a bit. (While writing this post I ended up on Pottermore and was reminded that my wand, when originally sorted into Hufflepuff House, has a Unicorn hair core, so ultimately this became quite fitting 😀 )…

Unicorn patronus

While at that table, I enjoyed chatting with suspicious-looking robed person # 1 (pictured here much later)…

Slytherin staff helping keep queue in order

…and suspicious-looking robed person # 2 who, much like a pirate, owned a pet purple dragon (which was animatronic, by the way!)…

Slytherin staff with pet dragon

…and while doing my next activity to see how many three (or more)-letter words I could derive from the motto “DRACO DORMIENS NUMQUAM TITILLANDUS”…

Word Game-mine

…I was asking suspicious-looking robed persons 1, 2 and 3 about the points I heard them talking about, and what that meant. That’s when I learned that I was, in fact, at the SLYTHERIN table! No WONDER they looked suspicious! I, a HUFFLEPUFF, was scoring points for SLYTHERIN HOUSE! AAAAAAAH!! I was COMPLETELY oblivious to the fact that there were GREEN balloons, colored-in sheets with the SLYTHERIN insignia strewn on the table, and, of course, the rather large SLYTHERIN banner hanging in front. I was totally focused on the activities, which included a motto with “DRACO” in it (clueless)! Of course, when I mentioned this to my boyfriend, he thought it was hilarious that I’d been scoring points for HIS house! I was not amused. Honestly, though, I was having so much fun and everyone was so nice, I didn’t care all that much * cringes just a bit *…

staff at Slytherin Table

That’s when I learned the three other House tables were on the upper level of the store, and while writing this it dawned on me that they probably deliberately had the Slytherin table on the first floor and the rest upstairs because, as we all know, Slytherins are in the DUNGEON! Haha! I made my way up the escalator and the first thing I saw were beloved Gryffindors 😀 …

Gryffindor table

Now aware of the whole “points” thing, I did my next activity at their table. I’m always drawn to trivia-type games so jumped into this one! I didn’t look to the bottom of the page where they actually listed names to choose from (duh!), so I was doing it purely by memory which, I was pleasantly surprised, didn’t really fail me. I actually got 8.5 out of 10 right (the .5 was because I picked a Weasley, but wasn’t specific enough)! Had I been referring to the list, I would’ve gotten 10 :D. Here’s the blank version in case you want to give it a go:

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I finally found the Hufflepuff table and had a whole “Hufflepuff is great” conversation with my fellow “sorted into Hufflepuff House on Pottermore” pal. I mean, after all, it is J. K. Rowling’s favorite House 😀 And can you believe it? At the end of the night, once all the points were tallied—HUFFLEPUFFS WON! 😀 Of course, I heard one typical condescending remark made by someone (“How could Hufflepuff win?”), and I have to say—I was surprised myself, but I guess there’s a larger population of our “loyal” bunch than we expect! 😀 …

staff at Hufflepuff table

And here are a few of the other activities available at the tables (there were more!), all of which earned House points upon completion…

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As Hufflepuff House was winding down, I then ran into Carol, a store manager I know, so by the time I reached the Ravenclaws, they were already off to the festivities downstairs now that it was well after 11 p.m….

Ravenclaw table

There was the customary costume contest. The little “Luna” was actually at the Slytherin table when I was there sketching my patronus. Hers was a relatively gruesome-looking, hairy-legged spider!…

costume contest-2

They were awarded prizes, though I didn’t pay attention to what. I believe they awarded the several who placed…

costume contest-1

At 11:30 they announced the winners of the prints (they gave away two sets!)…

sign for Harry Potter prints

…and a Time Turner necklace (I wish these were real!)…

Time Turner - Noble Collection…and shortly after that, began the explanation as to how the queue would work. Everyone gathered without a hitch—anxious and excited, but patient…

queue to buy book

queue waiting patiently

…until the clock struck 12:00 and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child made its way into the hands of the first buyers…

first purchasers at midnight

Before leaving, I made my way back to the Muggle Wall which, by midnight, was much more full, but Muggles still found places to squeeze in their messages…

Muggle Wall with teens

In fact, it wasn’t till working on this post that I discovered, when I zoomed in on this image, the pixels wouldn’t allow us to read what people wrote…

Muggle Wall 2

…so I decided to do errands on Monday, one of them being to return to Barnes & Noble to take some close-ups hoping they would be leaving the Wall up for a while for customers to read. Not wanting to assume (you know the adage!), I called around noon and was told it was down! A little while later I realized I could ask Carol (the manager I mentioned), if I could still take pics of it, so called back. She was the one who answered the phone 😀 and told me it actually was still up but she planned on taking it down in about 20 minutes, on her way to her lunch break. I hurried there first and got the pics I wanted 😎 , Carol having come over while I was there, asking, “What are you up to, you mad woman?” (Yep, she knows me—for years!) You’ll notice how even more messages were packed onto that Wall (compare it to the previous photos), one of which crossed over mine a bit (annoying). It’s fascinating reading what people of all ages and backgrounds had to say. If ever the world “were as one,” it’s through the common ground of Harry Potter…

Muggle Wall FINAL-Monday August 1st

Here are the individual close-ups so you can click on each image to see an enlarged view, enabling you to read the messages if you’re curious:

 Muggle Wall - tile 1 Muggle Wall - tile 2Muggle Wall - tile 3

Muggle Wall - tile 4 Muggle Wall - tile 5Muggle Wall - tile 6

Muggle Wall - tile 7 Muggle Wall - tile 8Muggle Wall - tile 9

Muggle Wall - tile 10 Muggle Wall - tile 11Muggle Wall - tile 12

Muggle Wall - my message

When I returned home after an errand-filled afternoon, the package I’d be waiting for was then waiting for me at my doorstep. And so, having lived with the possibility of there never being another volume in the “Harry Potter” saga, only nine years later we Harry Potter “die hard” fans are thrilled that “the story” continues, as I’d always thought—someday—it probably would…

The Cursed Child - my book

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Did any of you attend a Midnight Release Party for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? Are you going to read the book? I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with this (just no spoilers, please)!

P.S. After having posted this about 9 p.m. last night (Mon. 8/1), I was too tired to get beyond the first 30 pages of the book, but today (Tues.) woke to its words and, in between other activities of the day, couldn’t pull myself away from it. At 1:25 a.m., Wed., I closed its cover, once again incredibly satisfied. In typical “Harry Potter” fashion, I was drawn in and moved from the very beginning straight through to “The End.” I was compelled by the same elements of the original 7-book series: the world, the twists, turns, mysteries and surprises of the plot, and especially—the characters, both old and new. I fell in love—again.

Thank you, J. K. Rowling, and your new cohorts, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany.

Well done! ❤ ❤ ❤

 

 

 

14 thoughts on “UP!–The “HARRY POTTER” Clock Strikes MIDNIGHT!

    • It was fun, Erik 😀 And yes, I read it mostly on Sunday. Couldn’t keep my mind off it when I was doing other things, so finished it that night. I just loved it so much. I don’t know how others feel, but that’s how it is for me. As soon as my boyfriend finishes reading it, I think I”ll be rereading it already 🙂

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    • Aw, thanks, Paola. You’re always so kind to me 🙂 It really was a lot of fun, all but an incident with a woman who was putting on a major act in hopes of suing B&N ’cause a woman accidentally dropped a small package from the balcony. She said it hit her on the head, but the girl who dropped it said she watched it fall and saw it hit no one.

      I really did love the book. It’s funny, last night I was at B&N and a woman I know there said her daughter didn’t like it at all. I told her she was probably one of the people who has specific expectations of the story and author, and if something goes against the way she believes it should be, she’s not going to like it. The woman got all insulted. But it’s true.

      I was heavily involved with the debating prior to and after the release of the 7th book and there were definitely people who weren’t satisfied with the way it ended, were disappointed because all the questions they had weren’t answered to their satisfaction, etc. or outcomes were different than they wanted to accept. In my opinion, J. K. did an excellent job of tying up the loose ends that needed tying up. It’s a series that invokes all kinds of emotions and opinions, that’s for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. In this world of technology, it is great that a book can inspire not just such love but its own special event. The Muggle wall is a great idea to, I bet many a person read that and nodded along to the sentiments.

    Liked by 1 person

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