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Sunday, July 22, 2007

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS midnight release party at Border's in Greensboro

Here's the big report - that had to wait until my brain recovered from reading the thing - on the party two nights ago at Border's bookstore on High Point Road in Greensboro for the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (and here's my review in case you wanna read my thoughts on the book). This is the same place that we were at two years ago for the Half-Blood Prince release.

Here's the exterior of the store. It's probably my favorite bookstore in Greensboro, if for no other reason than because I've come to know a lot of good people who work there.

Without a doubt, there were more people waiting inside Border's this time than there were two years ago. And it seemed that the crowd only grew exponentially as midnight approached.

Here he is: the infamous Brian aka Darth Larry, who Border's brought back special for this night before he starts his new job as a music professor at Mercer (click here for what Darth Larry thought about the book after his insane reading binge).

Here's the sign-in table. If you pre-ordered the book you got a wrist-band in one of about 5 or 6 colors, depending on how early you showed up to get a spot in the check-out line (I think). My wrist-band was colored pink, which put me in the group about 5 places from the front of the line (I guess we could have gotten there earlier and received a higher color in line, but Lisa and I did have our fifth anniversary to celebrate over dinner, 'course :-).

I didn't take these next three pics. They came from someone who I let borrow my camera so they could get these photos of the sealed boxes containing the copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I would have probably been severely mangled if I had come within eyesight of these crates before they were brought out at midnight.

This being a Harry Potter release party, a lot of folks came out in costume (and in case anyone's wondering, I did not wear the "Read a Harry Potter book for Jesus" t-shirt). This dude is sporting some wizarding high fashion.

And here's a guy who's either Voldemort or a Death Eater.

For the kids (and the considerably older kids as well) Border's had several events going on, including a "dance floor" and Harry Potter Bingo.

This is Susan Miller, a teacher at Ragsdale High School. She came dressed as Professor McGonagall and her daughter came as Nymphadora Tonks, complete with wild pink hair.

Ahhh yes, the big question we expected to be answered in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (besides whether Harry lives or dies): is Severus Snape a good guy or a bad guy?

Luna Lovegood has become quite a popular character from the books. There were at least two young ladies who came as Luna (complete with copies of The Quibbler).

"The Great Snape Debate": a lively forum about the infamous Hogwarts potions master.

This person came dressed as a Gringotts goblin two years ago. It looked great then and I think the makeup and costume looked even more outrageously terrific this time.

And the Gringotts goblin entered the place accompanied by another awesome costume: none other than He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named himself, Voldemort!

Here's Phillip Arthur, one of the Border's managers not to mention fellow blogger and good friend (click here for the review he wrote of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows).

In the last hour before midnight, the Border's staff had a costume contest. I wasn't able to get too many good pics of this 'cuz of the crowd, but there were plenty of good and original costumes, including one guy who came as "Harry and Cho's secret love child from an alternate universe"!

The calm before the storm: with about 45 minutes to go before midnight, the front counter was bereft of customers. Here you see Border's employee Liz as the lone guardian on the frontier of madness.

Hey look: a kid actually dressed as Harry Potter at a Harry Potter book release party!

Finally, with about ten minutes or so to go, everyone was more or less in their color-designated sections around the story. With one minute left the countdown toward 12:01 a.m. commenced.

And then: Magic Hour! Here are the first customers to buy the book, including the guy in the Voldemort getup who won the costume contest.

The "pink-coded" people wrapped around inside the store, but the line moved very quickly. Darth Larry told me Saturday afternoon that they were able to get around 600 people served within an hour and a half: a new record!

Here are three good dudes that I spent time with in line as we made our way to the counter.

On final approach to the checkout counter. One of the things the Border's people did that seriously expedited things was that they were busy bagging individual books so that they would be ready for purchase immediately.

Our copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is almost in hand!

And there's Brian, in his farewell appearance at Border's before he rides into the sunset for Mercer.

And heeeeeeeere's Harry!

That last picture was taken by Meaghan (here with her husband, whose name is on the tip of my tongue - is it Scott? - but I can't remember exactly, c'mon you guys shoot me an e-mail and please let me know so the record will be accurate :-) who I'd last seen playing cello along with Brian this past December at UNC-Greensboro's performance of Amahl and the Night Visitors.

And, that was what went down on the night of July 20th-21st 2007 at the Border's in Greensboro. The Border's staff did an awesome job of entertaining the crowd and making sure that everyone got their books. It was a perfect model of customer service: I tip my fedora to the whole crew there.

'Twas a wonderful time! Lisa and I both enjoyed the evening (it was still an offbeat way to celebrate a fifth anniversary though). Too bad it will never happen again. But maybe J.K. Rowling will go the George Lucas route and write some prequels someday (maybe about the first war with Voldemort?) and we can all get together again. Maybe then I'll be courageous enough to actually come as Snape next go-round :-)


Darth Larry said...

wow! great pics man.

i'm guessing about the 600 people, but it was actually 1 hour and 15 minutes!!

thanks for posting these!

Malsy (THE Moe of DMOE) said...

Hi- This si a random blog reader- you don't necessarily know me, but I went to our borders for HP and there were some fantastic costumes there too- CHeck it out at my blog- dmoefamilydoings.blogspot.com

and THANK YOU for all you are doing for the transformer score- that is how I found you- my husband LOVED it and wants it!