“07-21-07. Who Will Die?” was written on the shirts my mom and I wore to the midnight release party for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final book of the Harry Potter series. We definitely received odd looks as we sat down to eat at the T.G.I. Fridays near the Annapolis Barnes & Noble.
Our waiter said, “Whoa. What’s with the shirts? Who’s going to die tomorrow?” This question irked me because how could he NOT know the final Harry Potter book was coming out tomorrow! It was only the most significant event of summer 2007 (to a fifteen-year-old teenage girl at least). Sensing my temper flaring, my mom said, “Oh we’re going to the midnight release for Harry Potter.” The waiter still looked somewhat confused and I couldn’t wait to get to the festivities.
I can’t believe it’s been a DECADE since I had my mother hold my first place spot in line at Barnes & Noble, while I went around the store and participated in all of the fun activities. I should probably thank her again for doing that because I was the first person to exit shortly after midnight with a copy in my hands. I completed Deathly Hallows in less than 24 hours.
Almost a year ago on July 31st, 2016, the “eighth story” of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, was released. From the opening anecdote, you probably assume I wore a T-shirt and planned to stay out all night again to hold a copy of the new book in my hands. But I did not.
Was it being an Amazon Prime member, which guaranteed release date delivery? Was I “too old” for crowds? Was I not as excited about THIS Harry Potter story?
From several Harry Potter fans to whom I asked these questions, the reactions varied. Some refused to read Cursed Child because it wasn’t written solely by J.K. Rowling and as a result, claimed it wasn’t a legitimate Harry Potter story. Some, like me, were fine with having Amazon deliver it to their doorsteps. A lot were going to download it to their eReaders, which were in infantile stages and rarely owned in 2007.
I loved how the Harry Potter series ended perfectly with Deathly Hallows and I had laid Harry and the gang to rest. I knew Harry, Ron, and Hermione would be there for me anytime I reopened any of the seven books. I didn’t want this “eighth story” to affect my love for the books that defined my childhood.
Technology has changed; publishing formats have changed; Amazon has taken over. However, although it’s been ten years since the conclusion of the series, Harry Potter is as relevant as ever. The reaction of any fanatic whenever the boy wizard’s name is mentioned will be one of pure magic. Always.
About Eden Etzel
Eden Etzel is the Program Assistant for the Maryland Center for the Book at Maryland Humanities. She graduated from Elon University in 2014. Before joining the Maryland Humanities staff in 2017, she utilized her English degree as a member of the information staff at Anne Arundel County Public Library. While at Elon, she was Co-President of the Crime Studies Club where she organized events pertaining to the criminal justice system and its impacts on society. She is extremely enthusiastic about literature, possesses strong writing skills, and has broad knowledge of social media, which are all assets for her current work.