This is old news by now, since many of you have already purchased the book and read it three times as of this writing, but Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released for sale last week, and I spent a good portion of that evening traveling between the city’s bookstores, meeting with the people who were waiting in line to get first crack at the book.
The thing to note first of all is that Harry Potter fans love big events. No one I spoke to during my three hour tour was unhappy to be waiting in line. It was ritual. It was part of the expected pattern of events that 10 years of show-time released have conditioned a generation of readers to expect. One wonders just how they will get excited about books in the future if they don’t have national release parties to go to.
The next thing to note is that Potter fans love to dress up. It’s partly a condition of the party atmosphere and partly the nature of the source material, but it’s like a second Halloween for many fans, ages 6 to 20 (at least). And nevermind the anti-Potter arguments put forth by people who say he is anti-Christian (an argument best saved for another forum), these people were having a lot of fun at their mid-July holiday.
The last thing I’ll note is that parents and adults love Harry Potter too. Of the parents I spoke to, many of them make Harry Potter reading a part of their shared family time. The children and parents will gather around to hear the next installment of the saga, waiting together on bated breath to learn what will happen to Harry & Co. next. And adults are just as excited as the kids, with their own ideas of how the story ends that, in conversation, sound little different than the children’s ideas.
Final observation on that note: it is odd to hear an adult speak a rational sentence that contains the words “horcruxes,” “muggles,” and “Severus Snape.”