So, off to Barnes and Noble we drove, knowing a decent cup could be found there well into the wee hours of ten pm. Noticing an unusually overcrowded parking lot, I thought, Well, at least we aren't the only crazies out looking for caffeine after eight!
But there was more going on than lattes and blonde brownies. My first clue was when a robed and hooded little person exited the double doors of the bookstore. Then beyond the grinning youngster, through the windows, I saw a sea of heads, stirring and percolating throughout the store. Music and voices leaked through the door cracks.
I smelled a party!
My suspicions were confirmed when we got inside. The place was jammed with kids and adults alike--dressed in round glasses, pointed hats--and all wearing neon wristbands. What was up?
Well, Alohomora! As mere muggles, we had stumbled upon the launch party of the long-awaited new Harry Potter book! After seven years of wizardry famine, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was just a few hours away from being released!
The place was abuzz with broomsticks, spectacles and capes. The cafe was filled to the rim; surface tension threatening a big spill of J.K. Rowling fans who were biding their time over coffee until the midnight book distribution!
I checked in with Dana Meve, Barnes and Noble's Community Relations Manager and asked her what the evening held. She said there were wand and Pygmy Puff-making activities, Hogwart's House Sorting Quizes and Potter trivia games--a charmed evening for all! She also said that these mid-night parties had been regular book-release events since the late 90s. "Some people come early, purchase their book, get a wristband and return at 12am." But, I learned that most Hogwartaphiles hang around all night and responsibly enjoy the magic.
My next question was met with raised eyebrows and secretive looks. "How will the books be distributed?" I asked.
The employees' faces darkened and in hushed tones they said, "Oh, we can't tell!" and "It's a secret!" and "It'll be magic!" and "You'll have to wait till the bewitching hour to find out!"
What's an interviewer to do? I abandoned my macchiato and my husband and started photographing Harrys, Hermiones and hippogriffs that were meandering through the maze of book shelves.
|A Harry look-alike, for sure!|
Here fans were making wands and other serious Potter-nerds were preparing for a mean game of trivia!
This House sorting activity had a long line of folks eager to experience the famous quiz.
|Hogwart's House Sorting Quiz|
With this cauldron of delights it was no wonder that people happily lingered more than three hours to summon the newest book from their favorite series.
I didn't stay to find out how the volumes were delivered, whether it was on the back of a hippogriff, or by one of Bellatrix Lestrange's antics or on the Hogwart's Express. But whatever the method, I'm sure the Potter-fans were pleased -- as were my husband and I when we found not just a cup of coffee on a Saturday night, but a whole Pot (ter) full!