By Charly SHELTON
Harry Potter, the boy wizard, has been part of many young people’s lives since “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was published in 1997. Now, 19 years and one month later, the continuing adventures … continue. Harry Potter has graduated from Hogwarts, gone on to have a middle management job at the Ministry of Magic and is the father of three school-age children. This is where the newest installment, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” picks up as a stage play in the West End of London and is being released worldwide as a script book on July 31. There is much celebration going on around the world with the release of the new book, and the Crescenta Valley is no slouch when it comes to celebration.
“We are celebrating the launch of ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ parts one and two, which is actually a play script for a play that is premiering in London the night of July 30,” said Gail Mishkin, event and marketing coordinator for Flintridge Bookstore and Coffeehouse in La Cañada. “The play is based on a short story that JK Rowling wrote and it’s a continuation of the Harry Potter series in the sense that this actually jumps into the future when Harry Potter’s son is at Hogwarts.”
Flintridge Bookstore will be hosting a midnight release party on Saturday, July 30 with to hand out books at 12:01 a.m. on July 31. Starting at 10 p.m., guests who have preordered the book or will purchase it on-site are invited into the store for a Harry Potter party with trivia, a costume contest, a “Have You Seen This Wizard?” photo booth, butterbeer float and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Bean stations, and a golden snitch hidden somewhere inside the store. The entire store will be decked out as the Great Hall of Hogwarts, with different areas themed to the four houses – Griffyndor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin.
Earlier in the day, from 1 p.m. to about 4 p.m., face painters will be available in the store to get guests in character for the party that night.
“Guests can come early in the day and have their faces painted the whole entire day for Harry Potter and then come at night to celebrate,” Mishkin said. “We figure to have your face painted from 10 to 12 might not be enough time and, if you’re a Harry Potter fan, you won’t mind walking around in public looking like a character from Harry Potter. Then you can come back to the party that night.”
Over in Montrose, Once Upon a Time Bookstore will be holding a Harry Potter party as well. Store owner Maureen Palacios is very excited about the event which start at 10:30 p.m. and will include a costume contest, O.W.L. trivia, Professor Trelawney’s divination table, election of Tri-Wizard candidates, a sorting hat area and, exclusively at Once Upon a Time in Montrose, Moaning Myrtle’s Memorial – an eerie experience near the front of the store. Even the store’s resident cat, Pippi Longstockings, will be in costume as a familiar.
Once Upon a Time, like Flintridge Bookstore, has sold nearly 100 preorders of the book with an expectation to sell more on the night of the event. But Palacios expects an older audience for this midnight release – kids who have grown up with Harry Potter and are now in their 20s.
“[The story] will be a very interesting take, of course, because it is so far in the future. It will leave open [an opportunity for more installments], if [author JK Rowling] wanted to fill in the blanks,” Palacios said. “It’s the same kind of franchise where they can just keep going and hopefully continue with new generations of fans. That’s sort of what we’ve been seeing. I don’t think that 9 and 10 year olds will be coming to the 10:30 p.m. event. They might, but we’re expecting the older kids to come and have fun. My take is that it’s going to be the regulars, the people who are reliving it, maybe in their 20s.”
Books are still available at both locations for preorder but they cannot be handed out until 12:01 a.m. July 31. For more information, visit shoponceuponatime.com or flintridgebooks.com.