By McKenna MIDDLETON
Crowds of devoted Harry Potter enthusiasts gathered in local bookstores Saturday night, anticipating the midnight release of the newest book in the wizarding saga. Flintridge Bookstore and Once Upon a Time Bookstore hosted release parties that night for fans who had preordered the book.
“I think I’m most excited for what I expect to be a countdown to midnight,” Jenny Wannier of Flintridge Bookstore said. “I just imagine the anticipation and excitement of counting down as a group.”
“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Part 1 & 2,” the script of a play based on an original story by Jack Thorne, J.K. Rowling, and John Tiffany and the eighth part of the series, takes place 19 years after the last book left off. The play recently opened in London, but the book’s release was announced in February.
“I had two people preorder the book the day it was announced,” Maureen Palacios of Once Upon a Time Bookstore said.
While the release of the new book was the main event of the night, each bookstore hosted a party complete with games, costume contests and activities for guests starting at 10 pm.
Flintridge Bookstore served Harry Potter-themed snacks and drinks at its coffeehouse, including Butterbeer floats. Guests meandered the decorated aisles, trying out each of the many activities the bookstore prepared from a trivia game and a find the golden snitch contest to face painting and Harry Potter-themed activity booklets.
Once Upon a Time has hosted midnight release parties for each of the preceding Harry Potter books, and each has been unique and creative. Saturday’s festivities included a very competitive costume contest, a “Have You Seen This Wizard?” photo booth, adventures to find Moaning Myrtle, potion making, and more.
“Personally, I love being around people who love what I love, which is Harry Potter,” said Claire Wallace of Once Upon a Time Bookstore. “This is our tradition and we are so happy to continue it, especially with this new generation.”
Although this new book may be different in format from the original series, the Harry Potter story still has the power to bring people together, united by a love of reading and magic.