Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Midnight Release Party!! Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Arrives!!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
(Harry Potter, Book 8)
Special Rehearsal Edition
Parts 1 and 2
Hardcover, 320 pages
Arthur A. Levine Books
(An Import of Scholastic, Inc.)
July 31, 2016
Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction


This long-awaited book is finally HERE!!!! Potterheads (one of which I proudly consider myself to be!) the world over are rejoicing!! The book is not only here, in my local bookstores, but in every bookstore in the world that has been offering Rowling's famous, beloved series for sale for many years now!! The play itself premiered in London on July 30th!

Of course, I did my Google search well ahead of this release, to find out when my closest B&N store would hold its own party. And then I prepared! Since I sadly had to donate my Gryffindor robe, tie, and scarf to Goodwill when we moved in March of 2015, I went to Amazon and ordered new ones! I also ordered a white blouse to wear under my robe, but the one that arrived was too small, so I rushed over to Ross, a local discount store, on Friday, July 29th, and found one that fit. I also bought a sleeveless gray top that doubled pretty well as the type of 'sweater/vest' worn by the characters in the films. Last but definitely NOT least, I also ordered my Hermione Granger wand from Amazon. Finally, I was totally ready!
 Maria as Hermione Granger

The festivities began on Saturday, July 30th, at 8:00 PM. I happily arrived at the store, where other Potterheads had already begun to congregate. Just before I walked in, though, something made me check my purse, and I discovered that I had left my debit card at home! And I had NO cash in the purse!! HORRORS!!! I got a hasty cash loan from my husband, who was dropping me off, so, thus in a calmer frame of mind, I entered the store. 

I went to a table to sign in and get my red wristband (so as to get in line for the book later). At the table, I was told that I could get the book much faster, through their "VIP line", if I applied for a B&N Mastercard. I would then go to the second floor to get the book, as soon as it was released. I accepted a pamphlet about the card, and went to grab a bite at the snack bar, as I had not eaten anything for hours, due to my excitement. After consuming my Farmer's Wrap (YUMMY) and chocolate biscotti (DELICIOUS), I went back to the sign-in table, telling the people assisting new customers that I had changed my mind about getting the Mastercard. So then I got a regular red wristband. Then I started wandering through the crowds to see what was going on.

There was already a long line for the Sorting Hat, which I was in for a while, and then left, as it was taking too long. Besides, I would NEVER want to be in any other house except Gryffindor, anyway. Lol. 

Just after I left the Sorting Hat line, I was approached by three girls with a list of names. One of them asked me if I wanted to participate in a Harry Potter Look-Alike Contest. I laughed, telling them that I was really Hermione Granger, but agreed to participate. So I wrote my name down on the list, and they thanked me and walked away. 

As I continued to walk around, I noticed that tables had been set up with different activities. There were activity sheets -- such as trivia quizzes, word search and maze puzzles, and, to my GREAT delight, sheets from one of the Harry Potter coloring books (which I've since ordered, of course!). There were coloring sheets for each of the Hogwarts House crests. I grabbed several, and went over to a table in the Children's Department, as they had two tables with chairs, and I preferred to sit. (The other tables that were set up, at the front of the store, were higher, and there were no chairs.)

So I happily sat there and colored one of the Gryffindor crest sheets. I really got into it, too! It's been too long since I've done any coloring, so I'm really glad I actually finished this! I Googled the crest and modeled my coloring on the images I found online. The colors of the helmet and lion are not exactly right (they're supposed to be a metallic gray color), but heck, I had to work with what was available.

There are actually several different versions of this crest online. The one worn by the girls below is one of them. I prefer the one I picked, as it has more color variety.

Then there was an announcement for the participants in the Harry Potter Look-Alike Contest, so I picked up my activity sheets, and rushed to the front of the store, where the contest would be held.

When I got there, a small crowd had already gathered. We contestants all lined up in front of some large bookcases, and one of the store employees, also in costume, began introducing each contestant. Each of us stepped forward, gave her our names, and then bowed to the audience, which then clapped. Oh, I just LOVED it!! This was so much fun! The clapping was loud or not, according to how well each contestant fit the HP description. Cheers also went up for the best costumes.

There were two contestants wearing full Slytherin costumes, with robes and neckties. There was even a young mother in full Gryffindor costume, carrying a baby who was a very young Harry Potter, as he was wearing Gryffindor regalia, and even had a little lightning mark drawn on his forehead. I took a picture of them, but it came out too blurry, so unfortunately, I couldn't post it.

There were also two young girls wearing HP T-shirts, with Gryffindor banners hanging down their backs. Other contestants were not wearing full costumes, but only bits and pieces of recognizable HP clothing.

The winner was a young boy who was wearing a regular T-shirt and jeans, but whose black HP glasses, and black hair, made him look the most like Harry. 

Several runners up were also picked, and I was one of them! As my prize, I got a small, ceramic, metal and wood replica of Hedwig the owl, in her golden cage. In the box, there was also a small booklet of HP stickers. So cute!!

Right before 11:00 PM, I went back to the snack bar to get a bottle of water. There was a long line, so, as I stood there, I began working on a word-search activity sheet. Then, at exactly 11:00 PM, the announcement came for those with the green, red, and white wristbands to line up for the book. I ran to the front of the store, bottle of water in hand. I had already drunk half of it, too. Well, I figured I'd pay for it when I got the book.

The line was already very long when I got there. It snaked, or should I say, slithered around some bookcases, toward the front registers. So I stood there, and began chatting with two ladies, one in front of me, and one behind me.

During a little break in the conversation, I decided to check the  time on my cell phone, and saw that I had a missed call from hubby. By that time, it was around 11:15 PM. I called him back, informing him that I would not be getting the book exactly at midnight, as it would be released for sale at 12:01 AM, and not a minute sooner, so, by the time I got it, it would probably be 12:30 AM or so, because of the long lines.

I got the sweetest surprise at that point! My husband said that I would be standing for quite a while, and offered to bring a folding chair from home. We don't live that far from the store, so this was not a problem. I was so happy about that! He did indeed bring the chair, and that helped a lot, as I'm not very good at standing for any prolonged period of time.

Finally, at midnight on the dot, it was announced that the books were going to be distributed! A HUGE cheer went up, all over the store! Then the countdown began! When the announcer finished, another HUGE cheer went up!! All of us Potterheads were ecstatic!!

The line started moving pretty fast after that. By that time, I had taken off the robe, as it was a little hot in the store. And I had to drag the chair with me, but heck, it was worth it!

I got another little unpleasant surprise when I finally got to the cash register..... Unbelievably, I was short of cash! My husband had given me $30.00, and I had spent $8.45 plus tax at the snack bar. I thought the book was going to cost $17.99 plus tax, but it was actually $23.99 (we got a 20% discount, which was nice of B&N). Plus, I also had the by-now-empty bottle of water....I started to panic, but a store employee stepped forward to help. I explained that my husband was in his car, out in the parking lot, and I could run out there to ask him for some more money, since I had left my debit card in my other purse. The employee was very nice, and said that this was fine. He added that he'd be waiting for me, right at the entrance, to escort me back to the register, so I wouldn't have to wait in line again. True to his word, he was waiting for me inside the store, at the entrance, when I hurried back. So I was FINALLY able to pay for my book, as well as the bottle of water. WOW!! Way to go, Barnes and Noble!!  GREAT customer service!!

Daniel (my husband) gave me another $10.00, with which I was FINALLY able to get my book into my eagerly waiting hands!! SQUEEEEE!!!!

And there you have it, folks, the full and unedited version of my magical, perilous, B&N adventures on the night before the release of this book!!!! Needless to say, I returned home a VERY happy camper, clutching my beloved book, along with my wand!!! 

I can hardly wait for the next HP release to do it all over again!! Lol. And I know there will be future ones, too, because each of the original seven books is being released in new, beautiful, illustrated editions!!  YAY!!! "Wingardium leviosa!!!!!"


  1. It looks and sounds like this was such fun.

    These fandom events, be they release parties, conventions, or other gatherings can be so special. It has been too long since I participated in one.

    1. Hey, Brian!

      Oh, it most certainly was!!

      I haven't been to a fandom event in quite some time. In 2007, I inadvertently attended a Harry Potter Midnight Release Party. I had gone to a Barnes & Noble store, located in another part of the city, to do some browsing, and was surprised by what was going on. Obviously, I was not an HP fan at the time, although of course I had heard of the series. I wasn't sure I wanted to read it, either, as I thought it would 'too juvenile' for me. Lol. Well, when I saw all those fans there, dressed as various characters from the books, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. So I went and bought the second book in the series, as someone had already given me the first one.

      The party, by the way, was for the last book in the series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows".

      Well, I bought that second book, went back home, and read the first book a couple of days later. I was immediately HOOKED!!! Then I saw why there was such a big fuss!!

      Well, I ended up getting the entire series, although I haven't gotten beyond the middle of book 6. Something very sad happens in that book.... but I will go back and attempt to finish the series. I LOVE it, after all!!

      Years ago, I used to attend small Star Trek conventions here in Miami. How I miss those!! I collected fanzines, pictures of the characters, and bubble gum cards. I almost bought a phaser once, but it was $30.00, so I couldn't afford it. Lol.

      I'm looking forward to more HP midnight release parties later on this year! I know there will be one in October, for the release of the Cinematic Guide Collection, and another for the "Fantastic Beasts" book in November. AND there will another one for the illustrated edition of the second book!! YAY!!!!

      Thanks for the nice comment!! :)

  2. What a fun event, Maria! I am glad you were able to go. You look so great in your outfit. :-) That is so cool that you were a runner up in the costume contest! We don't yet have a copy of the new book, although I'm sure we will get one eventually.

    One of the local shopping centers got all decked out as Diagon Alley Saturday night into Sunday morning for the release. I would like to have gone, but we were out of town Saturday and didn't get home until late. We were all too exhausted to try to make it, especially with a sleeping five year old in the car. We did pass a Barnes and Noble on our way home and the parking lot was packed. That was about 11 something, I think.

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Maria. Sounds like such a fun night!

    1. Hi, Wendy!

      Oh, it DEFINITELY was!!! I'm glad I was able to go, too.

      Thanks for the compliment on the costume! I was able to get everything together just in time for this event! You see, I had owned the robe, necktie, and wand years ago. When my husband and I moved in March of last year, I thought I wouldn't have any room in my closet for some costumes I owned, and used to wear on Halloween. My Gryffindor robe and necktie was one of them. So I ended up donating these things to Goodwill. The wand, too.....boo-hoo.... But, when I found out about this event, I rushed to Amazon and bought them again!! Lol. Now all I need to complete the costume is to get the real 'sweater/vest' worn by the characters in the films. What I picked up at Ross was pretty good, but it's not the real thing. I'll get this piece of clothing eventually!

      I was SO happy when I was chosen as a runner up in the contest!! I LOVE the prize I got, too!! It's too bad I can't have my very own white owl.... This is the next best thing, though!

      Gee, it's too bad you guys couldn't go to the event at the shopping center..... I LOVE Diagon Alley!! But I can understand your situation, with little Mouse sleeping in the car. When you drove by that B&N you got an idea of what a BIG deal this book release was!

      I hope you do get a copy of this book very soon! I saw an article on the Internet which mentioned that more than TWO MILLION copies were sold in just TWO days!!!

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving such a NICE comment!! <3 :)


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