Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter Party

So I went to pick up my very own copy of Deathly Hallows on Friday night in Red Deer, donning the newly finished Hufflepuff scarf and carrying my wand in its box in my purse just in case. Once I received my wristband saying that I had preordered a copy, I went through the doors, bombarded with soundtrack music that would be the theme for the night. In short order, I'd written a note to J.K. Rowling, been sorted into Hufflepuff (though I had to point the sorting "prefect" in that direction, despite the HUGE black and yellow scarf), amused myself by watching wizard duels, declined to have my tea leaves or tarot read, browsed way too much of Chapters, and got up the courage to try my own hand at dueling just as they ran out of candy and shut the dueling strip down. After that, I decided to wait in line with all the other Harry Potter fans who had preordered, pulling out my sudoku book to keep myself occupied as I waited for the fateful minute. I chatted a bit with the people around me as the conversation suggested itself, directed those without wristbands to the other side of the store, and waited. Then the "prefects" told us we were lined up wrong. Hoping against hope that I wouldn't lose my place as about the hundredth person in line, I waited for them to resolve the issue. They did, pulling the line ahead and through the stacks designated on the Marauders' Map that I never received. And as they did this, the most extraordinary thing happened.

One person in each of the two groups of three in line ahead of me started to fight about who was there first. The antagonist in the rear-most, a group of young women dressed up as either stereotypical witches or Goths with Harry Potter accessories, proclaimed loudly that the group in front had budged. The respondant in the front group claimed his daughter had been there the whole time, and they had joined her. Back and forth, and as the line moved, so too did they jockey for a spot, for a couple of minutes, with voices getting louder and louder, until finally the wife laid a hand on her husband's arm, and pulled him out of it, thereby letting the girls go first.

I was in shock. Between the six of them, it was a matter of five books. We were so close to the front of the line, there was no chance that none of them would get the book. It would have been a matter of ten seconds, maybe 15, between each of them getting their copies. The girl claimed it was the principle of the thing. I honestly believe she might have overlooked the daughter, who was about 16, 5 feet tall, and dressed in mundane clothes that, next to them, would have faded into the background easily. And yet, when I walked out to my car, hugging my very own copy of Deathly Hallows, a car drove past me, and I heard from the open windows, "I don't care what he said, she wasn't there..."

I enjoyed the night. It was fun sharing the store with people who enjoy the books as I do, comparing my scarf and wand with theirs (and I by far had the best scarf and wand). But the incident kind of cast a pall on the end of the evening for me. It was a fight over Harry Potter, a fight that was completely unnecessary. Heat, high emotions, persecution complexes and prejudices might have played a part. But it was so strange, so out of character and not what I expected. As fun as it was, I will forever remember the fight, and not the sorting, wizard duels, or even what I wrote to Rowling.

Now, if you haven't read the book, READ IT!!!!!!!!! Because Rowling does not let us down.

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