A Magical Era Comes to an End

Kiera Manion-Fischer

Bookstores begin preparations for the final book’s release

Credit: DKS Editors

Will Harry Potter live or die?

Whose side is Severus Snape on, anyway?

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling’s seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series, will answer these questions as soon as fans can digest it after the book’s midnight release Friday.

Amazon.com spokesman Sean Sundwall said the book is the most pre-ordered in the history of Amazon.com, now with 1.3 million orders.

The sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, had 919,000 pre-orders.

The largest local Potter release party will be in Hudson where The Learned Owl Book Shop, located at 204 N. Main St., will host “The Last Extravaganza.” Downtown Hudson will transform into Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley Friday evening with at least 60 participating stores.

For example, the Learned Owl will become Flourish and Blotts and Caribou Coffee will be Trelawney’s Coffee and Tea.

The festivities begin at 6 p.m. and last until midnight and beyond.

Some highlights include a lantern parade featuring Hagrid on his motorcycle, costumes and death eaters and shows with magic, owls and raptors, and snakes and spiders. Stores will have various activities and restaurants will have Potter-themed menus.

“There’s an unbelievable amount of stuff going on,” said Liz Murphy, Learned Owl store owner.

She expects many Potter partiers will be in costume.

To get a book at midnight, Murphy said customers must pre-order and pre-pay to get a line pass. The line will start forming about 11 p.m.

Murphy said the store has handed out more than 900 line passes and is still selling them. She said she ordered 17,000 copies.

“We’re going to keep taking pre-orders until we run out,” she said.

Murphy said the unique thing about the Harry Potter books is their universal appeal.

“I can’t think of any other book that appeals to all ages,” she said.

The Dubois Bookstore at S. Lincoln St. in Kent will hold a Potter party too, beginning at 11 p.m.

Store clerk Hannah Jencius and supervisor Cathy Sopko are organizing the party.

Jencius said they will have Harry Potter games, food and one of the movies playing in the store.

Sopko said customers can pre-order, but might still get a book at midnight if they don’t. The store ordered 40 copies.

“We’re just a small bookstore,” Sopko said, “It’s easier to get your book.”

Borders and Wal-Mart stores are also holding midnight book releases.

Most Borders stores are holding a “Grand Hallows Ball” unless they are located in a mall that will not allow them to stay open until midnight.

The Cuyahoga Falls Borders, located on Howe Ave., will stay open for the midnight release.

There will be a magician, crafts, a costume contest and a spelling bee with Harry Potter words to entertain the people in line.

Merchandising supervisor Mary Burch said customers should have pre-ordered by July 8 to be guaranteed a copy. But those who have already registered must pick up a wristband Friday.

She said there will also be a special grand prize give-away.

Customers at the Ravenna Wal-Mart, at 2500 state Route 59, will receive colored wristbands on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 8 p.m. Friday.

Co-manager Katrina Dodson said customers can leave after receiving wristbands and return around midnight, when the books will be distributed based on wristband color. There will be a separate line for pre-orders.

Wal-Mart will also host costume and trivia contests and a game of Harry Potter Scene It? between 8 p.m. and midnight.

The Learned Owl and Dubois offer a discount for those who pre-order, The Learned Owl for $33.46 and Dubois for $21.87.

Borders offers a 40 percent discount on all copies and Wal-Mart advertises the book for $18.78 hardcover.

Contact principal reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at [email protected].