WARNING: From here on out, I will LJ-cut spoilers on this journal, but they will be in the comments. Read anything at your own risk.
Record First-Day Sales for Last ‘Harry Potter’ Book.
JK Rowling reading from Deathly Hallows (videos).
A fitting finale for Harry (review; some spoilers); Review: Rowling brings Potter to magical end; Final ''Potter'' book: ''Stunningly beautiful'' (no spoilers). What I find so interesting about this is that the mainstream press seems to love the book; it's (some of) the fans who seem pissed about it.
‘Fan’-tastic Wizards Cast Spell Over ‘Harry Potter’ Midnight Madness Event.
List of characters killed in DH, via Wikipedia.
Part I: The McWane Center Party
McWane Center pictures on Flickr (none of them are mine, btw); Witching hour for Potter fans at McWane Science Center.
Witches and wizards abounded. From Harry to Ron to Dumbledore, scores were present as the center conducted one of the thousands of book-release parties in the final hours before the midnight release of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."I saw this and started shrieking and pointing--Luna's Quidditch hat, remember? So awesome. There were a number of good costumes--lots of really good Quidditch players and students, several good Lunas with cork necklaces, a number of Tonkses with colored hair, and a McWane staff member who had an absolutely perfect pink Umbridge suit. And their Professor Sprout was adorable. And there was an older gentleman who seemed to be in charge of things who had the most fantastic black robe spangled with gold stars and moons--seriously, I have to find you a picture of this guy, it was awesome. He stood in the "bookstore" and thanked people for coming as we turned and walked out with our books; he reminded me a lot of Dr. Berte at Birmingham Southern, for y'all local folks. Oh! And they had a portrait of the Fat Lady! Except it was a very nice lady in fancy dress and a wig standing in a "portrait" box who asked us for the password when we first came in. "Uh... please?" said Brett the Vet, thinking quickly, and she laughed and let us in.
Costumes were popular. One participant wore a hat with the Gryffindor lion atop it.
Along with the heroes, such unsavory characters as Draco Malfoy and Dolores Umbridge were present. Copies of the Marauders Map helped guests find their way around.These were effin' cool, by the way. They folded out just the right way and looked like the real thing on the outside, and had layouts of the four floors on the inside. The cafe had been dressed up as the Leaky Cauldron, for example, and different areas were designated by very attractive signs.
At a charms class everyone gathered to eat smoking crackers. In Herbology, Professor Sprout helped kids paint with plants.The woman in those pictures actually looks more like a Trelawney; the Sprout I saw was one of the greeters--she was standing with Umbridge. And someone was teaching astronomy out with a big celestial globe out in a concourse! In a Ravenclaw robe! It was adorable.
(Wait, smoking crackers?)
Visitors could also sample the center's usual range of science exhibits and activities, but Harry Potter and Hogwarts magic were the attractions as visitors counted down the moments to the witching hour when Harry's fate would be revealed.Eh, they weren't that great. They were very much oriented at young, young children. "Ollivander's," for example, was a table where you made "wands" by stuffing a sparkly tassel-pom thing into the end of a white tube. There were Flying Lessons, however, up on the second floor of the building, and kids were actually on a mechanical seat that went back and forth over a net over the first floor. It wasn't so much a "lesson" as "Holy Christ, my child is suspended over a net and a shitload of nothing," but it was definitely an A+ for effort. Oh--and the Defense Against the Dark Arts lessons, holy God. The woman in charge of that (see picture: short dark hair, very nice, very unassuming) was calmly tossing some kind of chemical powder at this kid's foot-long lighted match until a THREE-FOOT BALL OF FIRE ERUPTED.
As the clock neared midnight, the third floor at McWane filled with fans waiting to grab their copies of the seventh and final book in the Potter series to learn Harry's ultimate fate. Even Moaning Myrtle with a toilet seat around her neck joined the lines.Heeeee, I didn't see Myrtle. I did see a woman in her 30s in a simple but effective Bellatrix costume--it was the grey streak in her hair that did it. Also a number of Mini Snapes running around. I was irrationally terrified of running into a McWane Staffer Snape who would be in character and, like, snarl at us for having Dippin Dots outside the snack room.
At the midnight hour, the door to a Flourish and Blotts bookstore opened to cheers from the crowd. The fans pushed through the doors to grab their copies of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," only to race away to their curtained four-poster beds to read the night away.Okay, this is the part where it was fucking insane. There was no pushing; it was very orderly. They had the brilliant idea of having you pay for your book ahead of time and then giving you a voucher, so that at midnight, it was just a matter of us all filing through, handing the voucher to one girl and taking the book from another. Really smooth, really quick. (Whoa: "McWane Center staff members managed to distribute all the reserved books in a lightning fast 8 minutes, to the pleasure of the over 1,000 attendees.") No, what was insane about it was that there were hundreds and hundreds of people there, and I'd say it was about equally divided among adults, teens, and very young children. And when midnight struck? People shrieked their heads off. Okay, I was ready for that; the mostly-adult crowd at B&N did that for HBP. What I wasn't prepared for was that everyone kept shrieking. "Flourish and Botts" was a large room on the top floor that had three doorways into the main hall/concourse, so we were in three very jumbly lines, which I'm pretty sure wound back around down the stairs. And every time a new clutch of people would reach those three holy threshholds, they'd start screaming like the fucking Beatles were waiting for them. ("TOUCH THE DOORS!" the girl behind me was screaming, "TOUCH THE DOORRRRRRS!," much the way one might shriek "OH MY GOD THERE'S RINGO TOUCH HIS SHOULDER!!!!") They'd scream when they got to the doorway, they'd scream when they got to the table, they'd hoist the book high and scream when they walked back out, and everyone else would scream in transports of reflected giddiness back at them. And then when the Lovely Emily and I reached the table, they gave the last book to her. Okay, not the last book, but they had to open a new box to get mine, and the poor girl in charge of that was frantically trying to wrestle the thing open while I just smiled patiently and listened to The Fangirl Rapture behind me. I have never seen anything like it in my life--certainly not for a book--and if I ever see a fraction of that hysteria for a book that I wrote, I could die happy.
Part II: The Obligatory List of Observations
>> HEDWIG? SHE FUCKING KILLED OFF HEDWIG? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?
>> The breaking of Harry's original wand: I think I was almost as upset about this as I was about Hedwig dying. I mean, really, really upset. At least at the end she FIXED THAT.
>> And what did they do for that year at school they missed? As the Lovely Emily said, sure, Hogwarts Class of '98 could get jobs without finishing school after, you know, saving the world, but I feel like this is something that would be very important to Hermione: she couldn't live without having NEWTs to ace, you know? What jobs did everyone get? I still want to know if Harry made Auror like McGonagall promised. Did anyone go take Fred's place in the joke shop business with George? Please tell me someone did. And what does Ron do? Hermione? Ginny? Neville's a professor, but did he hook up with anyone? Apparently JKR nixed Neville and Luna in some interview, but there seemed to be some kind of suggestion of Dean and Luna hooking up (doesn't he take her hand at some point)?
(I still can't believe JKR killed Fred. I mean, I can in the sense that war is horrible and horrible random things happen, but--that's just horrible, killing anyone's twin brother. Kill them both or don't kill them at all, seriously.)
>> It's not that I didn't like Rose and Hugo as names, but... where exactly did they come from? You know, next to Harry's
>> Battle of the Unfortunate Names: Albus Severus Potter or Scorpius Malfoy?
>> As someone on FW noted, each horcrux is destroyed by a different person. Nice.
>> Is Dumbledore kind of an ass, y/n? I mean, beyond the simple fact that yes, he had a dark past, and the fact that the "I cared too much about you" scene in OOTP is now fraught with the extra level of "I was raising you to sacrifice yourself for the greater good, not just to fight someone who wanted to kill you, but now I care too much." I may have been reading too fast, and this is why I'm doing a reread, and Snape's Pensieve memories may be purposely biased, but... Dumbledore seems a little cavalier about things at times. Ideally, when you have a saintly character, a dark past should be something they overcame to be a better, richer, more complex character. Which Dumbledore does, in theory. There's just a point where... I don't know, I'm just not sure he ever got it. I'm not sure he ever did overcome it to be the wise man we thought he was. I wanted him to have become a wise, if flawed, man through that dark past, and I'm sure that's what happened on paper, but... yet... there's just something a little bit off about the whole thing.
>> Wait, so... the Muggle boys did what to Ariana? Did... did JKR actually go there with that?
>> "Look... at... me..." So... Snape's dying wish is for Harry to look at him. With his green eyes. His green eyes that are totally his mother's eyes. Lily's eyes. I'm, like, 35% touched and 110% creeped the fuck out.
(Interesting point: a lot of people had been complaining that the Snape Loved Lily theory was trite, but it's interesting that, since Lily is the one thing that keeps Snape on the side of good, essential assholery and all, it's yet another example of The Power That the Dark Lord Knew Not.)
(Another example: Narcissa totally screwing Voldemort over to find Draco.)
(Hey! Snape is "that awful boy" Aunt Petunia mentioned to Harry, not James!)
>> youngcurmudgeon, regarding "The Prince's Tale": "I think this is the only place I can say this: Snape's Patronus is a teal deer."
>> Speaking of the Malfoys, I loved that nothing really happened to them. Lucius, who has been one of the major antagonists of the series, is just reduced to sulking in his own mansion and then running around Hogwarts with Narcissa searching for their son. They weren't given any huge comeuppance, but at the same time, all importance was stripped from them as well--they weren't even important enough to bother killing. And that's kind of why I love that Draco and his new family are in the epilogue--he's still there, but he's been so totally outclassed by the kids he tormented, the variously-blooded kids who rocked the Battle of Hogwarts, that there's not really much place for the pureblood ideal in the new wizarding world. He's just... there.
(Who did Draco marry? Pansy Parkinson would have been my first guess, but... wouldn't Rowling have just mentioned her by name instead of "his wife"?)
>> I was upset when Lupin and Tonks died--they didn't even die, they were just revealed as casualties!--but I'm kind of okay with it, now that I see how Teddy
Luxpin Lupin is now to Harry as Harry was to Sirius, and that the three Marauder spirits walked with Harry to his "death." I mean, it sucks for Tonks, who was a fabulous character but died mostly so Teddy could be an orphan, as opposed to Lupin, who at least had a purpose in the afterlife, but as a writer, I tend to take comfort in any sense of purpose.
This is also, I see now, why Moody had to be dispatched pretty quickly. Moody was one of the strongest protector characters they had, and if JKR hadn't removed him, the trio probably wouldn't have to have fled so soon. It's also the reason Harry's Daddy Issues had to pick a fight with Lupin--Lupin was far too strong a wizard to accompany the kids. The kids had to do it on their own.
>> I want Hermione's Beaded Bag of Holding like whoa.
(Hermione made her parents think they didn't even have a daughter and sent them to Australia! WAHHHH. I guess we can infer that she brought them back, though, because that's what she said she'd do if things went well.)
>> I also love that girl-hapless Ron finally got a clue from that book, and that the book wasn't all about "wandwork." If you know what I mean. And I think you do.
>> "Happy birthday, Harry! I give you... sex."
>> If you had told me last week that Dobby's death would be horribly touching and Kreacher would become one of my favorite characters, I would not have believed you.
>> The flayed baby under the chair in the "King's Cross" chapter: My understanding is that Harry and Dumbledore's souls are standing, whole and upright, in some kind of afterlife. The baby is what Voldemort would be if he were there--i.e., that's all that's left of him: nasty and freakish and small.
(Only Dumbledore could be a year dead and still have the Power of Exposition.)
>> So apparently the Sorting Hat has the power of summoning Gryffindor's sword from wherever it may be (in COS, I think it was in the headmaster's office when Harry needed it for the basilisk) when a True Gryffindor needs it. So... now there's a really pissed-off goblin out there somewhere.
>> If I reread nothing else, I have to reread "The Battle of Hogwarts," because that was like 100 pounds of awesome in a one-pound
beaded bag. Neville Longbottom and his Gran, vive la résistance! Minerva McGonagall, Commander of Desks! Molly Weasley, Pwner of Bitches!
>> Things I can't wait to see in the movie: The Seven Potters--Daniel Radcliffe will have a field day with that. For some reason, I really want to see the trio in their formalwear out on Tottenham Court Road. I really want to see Happy Homemaker Kreacher. If Yates does the last movie, I want him to whip out The Power of Montage for the interminable camping section. And if Cuarón does it, I want him to bring the Children of Men battlecam to the Battle of Hogwarts. EEEEE.
BRING ON THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE SET PICS!