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SA Partridge

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Harry Potter and the midnight launch

wristbands

cursed child

As an adult you have to accept that certain things are inevitable and you just have to get on with it. And one of those things is queuing. You queue when you do your taxes. You queue when you renew your vehicle license or your passport. Queues can’t be avoided.

There are some cool things that also involve queuing, like the waiting lines at Disneyland rides, the queues at ComicCon (and in our case, FanCon) and the midnight queues for new Harry Potter books.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was released on Sunday at 1am. It was the third time I’ve stood in a thousand-strong queue for a new Harry Potter book. And I’ve accepted that queuing is part of the process.

And I don’t mind.

The reason why I say this is because there has been some negativity surrounding the local release. My best friend stood with me in the line, and she was a little disappointed that there was no amazing party as advertised on the invite. Only a long queue.

Like I said. This was my third time. There is always going to be a long queue. Harry Potter is extremely popular, and we’re incredibly fortunate to have bookstores willing to stay open that late so we can get our hands on a copy at the same time as the rest of the world.

The aim of the launch party is to get the book. That’s it. Think about it. At a local book launch you can expect snacks, sometimes entertainment, a talk by the author and if you’re lucky, a reading. Local book launches are about celebrating the author and the birthday of their new book. If you can get 60 people to attend your launch then you can count that launch as a success.

wizards

If you are expecting 3000 people to turn up for a release party, snacks are out of the question. Your biggest concern is whether there’s going to be enough books for everyone, and how many of your staff are going to be available to pull an all-nighter.

The staff at the Canal Walk branch of Exclusive Books were champions. They dressed up and got into character, they put in the hours with smiles that never faltered and most importantly, they were super helpful and enthusiastic the whole time.

I am so grateful to Exclusive Books for being willing to do these midnight launches, so that super fans like myself can get the book at the same time as the rest of the world and be part of a global experience.

There might not have been snacks and entertainment, but that’s not the point. I will stand in a queue for a new Harry Potter the whole day if I have to. Next time I’ll remember to bring my camping chair along.

So why call it a party? Because it is one.

The fun part is the dressing up, the expectation, the theory swopping.

It’s the guy dressed up as Quirrel running down the length of the queue shouting that there’s a troll in the dungeon. It’s the girl with a toilet seat over her head and a thousand people turning around and saying, “Oh look, there’s Moaning Myrtle.” It’s the six people who all came dressed up as patronuses taking a picture together and delighting in the fact that they all had the same idea.

cupcake

It’s about standing in the middle of a thousand people dressed up like witches and wizards at one in the morning and asking the person next to you why Dumbledore didn’t use a time-turner to save Sirius or why muggles can’t see the centaurs that roam the forests.

It’s about buying your best friend a cupcake with a broomstick on it because she’s tired and you just want her to be as excited as you are.

It’s about holding the new book in your hands and getting a tingling feeling under your skin because you know it’s going to be brilliant.

So now that that’s out the way, can we talk about Delphi please?

 

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