Harry Potter Midnight Queue at Brooklyn Exclusive Books
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
We looked forward to the Midnight party at Exclusive Books Brooklyn. Some people even waited from 15:00. But was this really a party?
We waited in the queue, bought the book and went home.
in 2003, when my son was 10 (Harry Potter's age when he received his invitation to attend Hogwarts), my sister gave him his first Harry Potter book, an Afrikaans translation. I remember we sat in bed that morning and read non-stop. That was the beginning of our Harry Potter journey.
From then on we pre-ordered our new copies with the rest of the world and the morning after the books were released, we received our copy by courier - although now of course we took turns to finish reading. Yes, in our house, as in others, JK Rowling inspired children to read and re-read books and discover the joy of reading.
So somewhat sentimental we held thumbs for our invitations from Exclusive Books Brooklyn Mall. My son, now 23, pretended that he did not want to be seen in public with his mother and his aunt, just relenting to please us.
The Harry Potter Midnight Party was sold as THE party of the year. People who did not get invitations were disappointed. It felt special to have the invitation.
We arrived about 22:00, finding that there were people already queuing, apparently from 15:00 in the afternoon. We had supper at the "Three Broomsticks" a restaurant in the mall who undertook to stay open until 3am on Sunday, 31 July.
We were a bit lazy to dress up, but found many interesting characters around us. A fantastic Voldemort, two broomstick with headdresses from sticks, two moaning Myrtles with toilet seats around their heads, many dressed in Gryffindor school attire, a few Harry Potters, many Sybill Trelawneys, a few golden snitches (including a harassed-looking staff member who handed out Ferrero Rocher chocolates). The shop hinted at Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans before the party: was that it?
A group of these Every Flavour Beans queued somewhere behind us.
Of course Dumbledore was there and Sirius Black. Witches and wizards framed themselves in Daily Prophet style. Wands were waved at the lift as if to indicate that the doors of the lift opened magically. Harry Potter's famous Patronus also walked around unbeckoned. Dobby was there with a few elves.
Dementors roved around to check the invitations and hand out armbands. This was really not done properly: I could have printed out my invitation 3 times and brought 6 more guests, because it was not checked against any data base: just counted and dropped into a black bag by the silent Dementor.
Queuing, queuing, queuing
By 23:40 we decided to join the queue. We knew that the book sales would start 01:00 am, but the "party" was supposed to start at Midnight.
The queue was long. All were in good spirits. At midnight the queue started moving slowly - just to stop at the tills where the shop was ready to sell their books. We eventually got inside at 2:40am. Inside one of the old movies were showing, you could take a photo with the sorting hat on, and could exercise your colouring skills on a cardboard replica of Hogwarts. That was it. That was the Midnight Party: The bookshop making a lot of money with very little effort at transforming this into something enjoyable.
Some people were in the queue from 15:00 in the afternoon, really looking forward to something special.
At least most people there did enjoy themselves, but mainly because of their own company, making jokes, finding friends, and being amused at some people's costumes.