Of Harry, Hogwarts and Hermione

Of Harry, Hogwarts and Hermione

Barnes & Noble holds party for release of new Harry Potter book.

Young wizards and witches move around hurriedly with the buzzing excitement of something to come; something none of them have seen, merely heard about.

Is it the second coming of "He-who-must-not-be-named?" Is the son of James Potter finally going to come of age and defeat his nemesis; inflicting swift justice to the wrong-doings of a sociopathic narcissist who lacks a moral compass?

That's what the crowd at the Fair Lakes Barnes & Noble are here to find out in the seventh and final chapter in J.K. Rowling's epic literary series.

IT'S 9:05 P.M., and the first of what will become a mob of Hogwart's hopefuls is trickling though the doors. It would appear that only the house of Gryffindor was in attendance of this event. Yet spotted amongst this ocean of red and gold are those from the house of Ravenclaw. Even Slytherin students have made an appearance to find out about "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

This book is the last installment of a series that brought back reading to an entire generation of children. It's been almost 10 years since the first book in the heptalogy of Harry was published, and many readers have grown up alongside this reluctant hero. Having to deal with everything from Azkaban to Zonko's Junk Shop, the book has served as a guide book to such things as racial acceptance, and the breaking down of social cliques. While other generations had Transformers, and Scooby-Doo, the children of the Information Age are getting their daily dose of ethics from a book.

The writing is not just for the young, however. Edith Gill of Clifton states: "There are not many books that can capture the imagination and minds of kids as well as adults," from under a black brimmed witch's hat. In an atmosphere expected to be filled with children leading their parents by the arm, there were actually parents leading their children.

An outsider would have guessed that a mother was dragging her child through the unmentionables section of Macys.

BY 10 P.M. many people have retreated to the remote corners of the book aisles, grabbing the first bit of reading material that their hands can find to pass the time. Others still play at the activities tables set up, making wands, hats, runes and bookmarks. The more astute of the Hogwart's students are busy practicing spells and dueling, while their parents sit sipping coffee in the adjacent café.

Another noticeable element is the glasses around everyone's head. Whether prescribed or the replicas of Harry's handed out around the store, a one-time nerd staple has become a symbol of belonging and power. Where glasses usually represent a weaker side or persona, characters such as Harry Potter or Superman's Clark Kent, have shown that the unexpected are capable of great deeds. Although Harry Potter may not be as infallible as America's Boy Scout from Krypton, he is a modern day Super Hero whose flaws and sins make him that more relatable to his readers. Having to deal with puberty, girls, and school bullies, is there any other character in literature that is more realistic? A debatable matter, but his appeal is unquestionable.

AT 11 P.M., people are ushered out of the store and told to line up as the employees prepare for the climax of the evening. Outside, any sign of a line is lost save for the row of people with bracelets and tickets streaked through the horde of hopefuls. Their hour of jubilation is almost at hand, and they begin to speculate more and more about what will happen in the closing moments of the new book.

12 A.M., "Midnight Magic Hour." The doors are reopened and the first group of ticket holders is allowed in. The event, coordinated by Pamela Watkins-Harper and the staff of Barnes & Noble, was a great success. No doubt sleep will be lost to find out just how J.K. Rowling has planned to close one of the greatest chapters in literary history. The store does many similar-type events for schools in the surrounding areas. For any information regarding these events, contact Pamela Watkins - Harper at 703-278-0307.

And what of the fate of Harry and the rest of his cohorts? One will simply have to take one last trip into Rowling's world and read for themselves.