Adventures in Potterdom

The local Barnes & Noble held Friday night a Harry Potter release party. At midnight that night, Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix went on sale, and in the hours leading up to its release a number of activities were planned–readings, trivia contests, costume contests, cookies and punch, that sort of thing.

Friday nights after work I usually hit Barnes & Noble, and this particular night was no different. So, ten o’clock I step inside.

Two women dressed in tacky plastic National Health glass frames stood at the door, wrapped in robes. “Do you have the book pre-ordered? We have copies available.”

“Really?” I said.

One nodded. “If you take a number, you’ll get a copy about 1:30.”

I shrugged. “I have it ordered at Waldens in the mall.”

“But they don’t open until eight o’clock tomorrow morning. You’ll want the book tonight.”

I shrugged again. “I’ll take a pass.” And I wandered into the store.

I’m not used to Barnes & Noble being a loud place. If anything, I’m used to it feeling more like a library, with people talking in hushed tones. Instead, this night children were everywhere, and voices were many and loud. People–children and adults–crowded the aisles, many wearing the plastic glasses, many in cloaks or Hogwarts costumes, many wearing name badges proclaiming their membership in Gryffyndor or Slytherin or Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw.

I’d have bought coffee at the Starbucks counter, but I was weirded out. I couldn’t stay, not in that environment, and not really in the need for new reading material to go on the To-Be-Read pile, I went home.

Saturday morning I went to work instead of braving the crowd at Waldens before work. I picked up my copy that night, right near nine o’clock. Even Order of the Pheonix needs to take its place in the To-Be-Read pile.

Oddly enough, I considered going in the christian bookstore in my shopping center Saturday afternoon and asking if they had Harry Potter. I knew they wouldn’t–when Chamber of Secrets was in the theaters in December they had a window display of anti-Harry Potter books–but why not tweak them just a little? In the end, decorum prevailed, and I left them in peace.

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