Sunday, July 17, 2005

Midnight launch of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at Border's in Greensboro

Well, finished reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince about 30 minutes ago. Going to need some time to let it all "sink in" 'cuz this one packs about the biggest wallop I've ever seen for a kids' book.

Is it even still safe to call it that anymore? I will say this again later: there are things in this book that make what happens in Star Wars Episode III seem mild by comparison. J.K. Rowling did not keep things safely within the borders at all: she went all for broke on this one, and it's positively going to horrify a lot of people that she not only pegged the needle but broke it completely loose off the meter. This is like the final episode of Blake's 7 for little kids, where all the main characters were KILLED OFF one by one. Darn nearly artistic rape and Rowling is going to get nominated "Cruelest Person of 2005" after word gets around on what she did here.

But more on that later. Time to finally focus on what happened 24 hours or so ago...

Border's bookstore on High Point Road in Greensboro, North Carolina. Where we went to for the midnight launch of Half-Blood Prince. Counting this and the "Midnight Madness" for new Star Wars toys a few months ago that's three times this year so far I've gone out for something crazy at midnight. Only three things bring out this many people out this late: a new Star Wars movie or toys coming out (which'll never happen again), the rollout of a new Windows operating system, and a new Harry Potter book. After the next book we're only left with Microsoft software. That's a pretty sobering thought...

Inside the front door. You checked in at this table and got one of the golden tickets that gets you inside the choco... I mean, you got one of these tickets that has your spot in line to buy a copy of the new book:
About twenty-seven thousand people (mostly ages 12 and under) were packed inside Border's last night...

Naturally, some came dressed in the spirit of the books...


I told these two young ladies that I wanted to take a picture of 'em for my blog. They wanted to know where to find it at so I hope they'll forgive me for how late it was that I posted their picture here :-)

That last one was probably my favorite costume of the night: AWESOME job creating a Gringott's Goblin banker from the books! Here it is again with two other costumed fans...
These three won the costume contest about 10:30 or so, and part of the prize was that they got spots #1, #2 and #3 in line to buy Half-Blood Prince.

And even the Border's employees got into the act (this guy's dressed up like Harry's owl Hedwig):

At 12:01 AM on the dot, the doors to the inner sanctum of Border's opened up way in the back and a crew of associates started hauling out the hermetically-sealed high-security boxes (that had been kept under lock and key under penalty of mangling) onto the floor and toward the registers. Midnight - magic hour - had come at last...
...and the Border's folks wasted no time unleashing the mayhem...
We got our copy at the register about 12:45 AM. Way, WAY sooner than two years ago when I went to the local Barnes & Noble instead (where I understand it that they had everyone outside the store before midnight). Border's had a well-organized event that went well for everyone involved. Anyway, here's our copy...
I'll be posting a full review tomorrow. This is one of those things that you need time to digest, to dwell upon some before you can do it any justice with a real encapsulation. Some things in it I'm gonna want to go over two and three times, just to see what I "missed" the first go-round. Expect more tomorrow or maybe Monday. In the meantime, do yerself a favor and pick up a copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: there's things in this book that break all the rules of literature, so you owe it to yourself to check out what will soon become an instant classic.

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