Saturday, July 21, 2007

Potter reports & other sightings

NO SPOILERS!!!

Owls are flying in to report on book-buying, or crowd-watching, experiences. Just inside, in the first comment, Jason, has an incredible report from New York City. (UPDATE: We now also have reports from Florida, North Carolina, and Kansas in the comments.)

I haven't been out to pick up mine yet, how about you?

And for those of you who, unlike me, actually have a life outside of Harry Potter today, it's okay to talk about other things. Not that those of us with our noses in books will notice, but you can try. . .

Just don't spoil our fun, please. :)

Wands up! Now point to the comments! Shazam!

28 comments:

Nancy P said...

I'm reprinting Jason's comment from the last thread:

jscs said...
So the NY report (where I'm visiting for a couple weeks) is that the countdown to midnight was NUTS. From around 10-10:30 I wandered Times Square where a huge countdown sign towered above Toys R Us; hundreds of people already in line. All eyes were on the countdown to midnight. People walked around giving Harry Potter quizzes with prizes, lots of costumes.

I got a call that a meeting with a friend was called off at Union Square where Jim Dale (voice of Potter on the audio books) would speak. Friend said you can't get in line and even if you did it would be after 1am before we'd get a book. I didn't want the book tonight, I just wanted to watch. So, friend and I have a plan to meet tomorrow, buy our books, and stand in line for illustrator autograph. But I moseyed over to Union Square B&N just to watch. There were three huge crowds totalling thousands. One crowd was in line to get the book and play inside. One crowd watched this crowd standing near the door (and blocking the street) hoping to get in after the line went down. Another crowd stood across the street watching the other crowds. I walked into and out of all crowds (including getting on someone's camera asking a Jew for Jesus who was preaching the evils of Harry Potter why we all had to take five minutes to talk to him about Jesus but why he kept refusing to talk to the cameraman about Harry Potter. I was just asking!).

At 11:45 the crowd began to squash together. Harry Potters' ran around fighting Voldemorts' all over Union Square. At 11:55 a Prof Macgonawhatshername came to the door and told everyone to stand back! At 11:59:40 a live countdown began, funny lightning strikes went off inside the store, and the crowd cheered! Within five minutes a police escort had to help a woman out of the crowd with the first book, soon followed by a college-age kid (the originial 14 year olds who started this phenom) who ran the length of the street holding up his copy. Then all over Union Square appeared Harry Potter books. I stopped into a Starbucks and at every table people had already jumped into the book. One young woman was on page 25 before I was out of line (again... the original tweens who kick-started this thing, now all grown-up). I got on the Subway around 1:30 to head back Uptown, and on this packed train I figure 50% of everyone at least had the book or was reading. It was the talk of New York, and quite a sight to see.

Nancy P said...

Recently--was it here?--I was talking to some friends about how our kids are all the wrong age for Harry, and none of them are interested in him. They're too old to be real kids, but too young to be Old Kids like us. We were talking about how much fun it must be to be a Potter-loving parent or grandparent who has been able to read the series clear through with their children, and share the anticipation, excitement, giggles, tears, and all those great discussions about the characters, plots, etc.

Nancy P said...

I rethought my last comment and decided I was all wet. It can't be the ages of our kids--too much range. It's just that they--though they're big readers--aren't fantasy fans, I think. Or, at least not that kind of fantasy.

I've loved fantasy forever. When I think of my fav novels, fantasy pops up again and again: The Once And Future King, Tolkein, Lost Horizon, etc.

Family Man said...

Good morning Nancy.

I think you hit it with your last comment. I never was one for fantasy series that much. I did really get into Anne McCaffrey's Pern series, but I don't think that is completely fantasy. I was always more of a hardcore SF reader.

Hope everyone's weekend goes good.

Nancy P said...

Happy weekend to you, fm. Even if you were a fantasy fan, it is sooo "not slacker" to be up at midnight! :)

GreenMinute said...

Lost Horizon is a fantasy?

Dang.

Nancy P said...

green, lol, I know!!! I always wanted it to be true, and then I read it again a few years ago. Big mistake. Let us just say that I am pretty glad it's NOT true.

It made a huge impression on me, though. Probably paved the way for all of my interest in Things Eastern. I even remember exactly where I was sitting when I read it, and how wrenching it was to have to leave the book to go with my dad to shop for a Christmas tree that day. . .lol.

Nancy P said...

I saw a fox last night. A beautiful creature in the heart of the suburbs. I slowed my car, we looked at each other--me with admiration, he or she with nervousness--and then it ran off between two houses.

Beth said...

I'm not a fantasy fan, except for Lord of the Rings, my favorite book since 8th grade - which was last year, right? But I love the HP series - maybe it's Fantasy Light?

Nancy, I finished VoSP last night. I was going to read one chapter since I was really tired (I was halfway through) - well, the next thing I knew it was 11:30, and I was done! I loved it all the way through. Loved the girl getting the right guy - the bad guys thwarted - the potentially bad guy redeemed - I never saw any of it coming.

I can't tell you how cool it is to read a book, and then tell the author the next day how much I liked it. (Well, you probably have had that experience before - I haven't.) I loved watching you practice your craft. I have a lot to learn.

Anyway, thanks for this forum, where I can send virtual hugs for a great read....

Nancy P said...

Ah, thank you, Beth.
The nicest thing a novelist can hear are the words, "I'm so mad at you! You kept me up late reading!"

I am boggled when I try to imagine how J.K. must feel today. Wow.

Nancy P said...

From mystery writer extraordinaire, Margaret Maron:

John (Margaret's son)called last night at 11 from Quail Ridge (bookstore)here in Raleigh. He was in a rather orderly line that stretched around the corner and out into the parking lot. He was on the front sidewalk within sight of the store though. They had it set up so that all the pre-solds could go straight to their particular alphabet station set up inside, give their names, get it scratched off the list and take a book. John said Julia (Margaret's granddaughter), who came as one of the house elves, was bopping in and out of the crowd, watching the magician, touching an owl, getting her face painted. She did grab the phone and thank me for getting her the book. "It's gonna be awesome!" We discussed possible plot points. It's lovely to see the kids so excited about something like this. Kids? Ha! Me too!

I'm wondering if she'll have it finished by the time we get over there this afternoon. If so, I'll have to borrow it. ("Get in line!" John growled, when I suggested this possibility.)
M.

Nancy P said...

And from another talented pal, suspense writer T.J. MacGregor, about her 18-year-old daughter and Harry. . .

"(she) fell asleep reading and is still asleep. She didn't get home till about 1:30."

Catharine said...

First, I totally agree with Beth:

"I loved it all the way through. Loved the girl getting the right guy - the bad guys thwarted - the potentially bad guy redeemed - I never saw any of it coming.

I can't tell you how cool it is to read a book, and then tell the author the next day how much I liked it."

Second, Thinking I'd get there early, I went to the bookstore last at a little after 11pm. HA! the parking lot was so full, I had to park next to the Italian Restaurant way at the other end of the mall!

And loads of people where driving in at the same time as me.

I ran into a friend (who was leaving) as I walked in and she said that she got their an hour earlier.

She had a colored bracelet that determined her place in the checkout line and she was in GROUP 3. Which they figured would be called around 1pm.

And I was an hour behind her.

Still, I checked in and got my bracelet (The end of GROUP 4) and wandered around.

The place was packed. It looked like an emergency evacuation center for Goths and Wizards and Exhausted Senior Citizens.

They had fun stuff (costume competition, face painting, spell-lessons, etc) going on in various places around the store.

But everywhere else people were sitting and lying on the floor reading and talking.

And then there were long lines, to the snack bar and (already) to the check-out counter.

I took photos because I know that when I look back on the event I wouldn't believe it without proof (Late Night at Borders on Harry Potter Night)

It's funny -- just looking at the photos gave me that "What if there's a fire in here?" Disaster feeling....

Nancy P said...

It looked like an emergency evacuation center for Goths and Wizards and Exhausted Senior Citizens.

Too funny!

Thank you, Cathy. I'm loving these reports. And here's my brief one: I'm home with my copy! I tried to get it an an independent bookstore, but they were sold out, so I went to a Borders, where they said they'd had "hundreds" of people at their partylast night. But they had plenty of books left over.

I'm going to submerge now. (After I go look at your photos, C.)

Nancy P said...

Another cool animal sighting! A slim dark snake with yellow stripes slid through our front garden just now. (I was barefoot. I did jump back a bit.)My neighbor thinks it was a black snake. I didn't know they had stripes! He looked like a racer dude.

Nancy P said...

Hmm, but after googling, I'm wondering, garter snake?

Family Man said...

A snake and bare feet. [He shakes uncontrollably trying to type]

I wouldn't be outside again for at least two days. I like to give them critters plenty of space.

Maria Lima said...

I didn't do the midnight thing, but went out early this afternoon (after waiting in vain for UPS, which *still* hasn't arrived).

Picked it up at 1:15; finished around 5:30.

As I said in my blog: What a long strange trip it's been.

Oh, and I did get a free poster at the store, which I'll pass along to a friend's daughter.

Catharine said...

Could this shocking news from the San Francisco Chronicle be true?:

Flip Out, And Flip Through 'Potter'
Thousands worldwide finally get hands on the last book. Some are so eager, they skip to the end. AP

boran2 said...

I owned my copy by 10 minutes after midnight. At the last minute (literally), I decided to run out to the local market and join the hoopla.

Nancy P said...

I'm back from dinner at friends' home--so I'm still only at the start of Chapter Eight. I want to read, but I don't know if I can keep my eyes open. . .

Knucklehead said...

I`m most happy for all the people`s exuberance.
I never read any of the Harry Potter books, but know very well, the nodding off to sleep, reluctant to give way, to the anxiety of the tale.
Have a good night, all.
Katiebird`s photos & the crowd descriptions of other commenters make it seem like it was a "Happening".
As for FM, he`s too funny.

Nancy P said...

Hi, Maria, and kh. I'd say more, but Harry beckons. . .

mary s. said...

Hi, Nancy - I've been enjoying your blog. Thought I'd pop in to say I saw a fox this morning! It's my first time, after wishing for years to see one. He was beautiful.

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a little fawn up close. Its nose was caught between two bars on a gate. Mind you, I'm not a hands-on wildlife person, but I thought I'd try to pull it free. Right before I grabbed it, it bleated and scared the stuffings out of me. :) It got unstuck and ran off before I got the nerve to try again. I was so mad at myself for hesitating. That chance won't come around again. Ah, well, it was great to see such a beautiful little creature.

Happy Harry reading-
Mary Saums

Nancy P said...

Mary! How lovely to see you here, and how cool that we both got to see a fox this weekend! It feels like such a privilege.

I'd say you DID rescue that fawn, just by scaring it out of its trap. :) But I'm sorry you didn't get to touch it.

We have a wee herd of deer around here--a big stag and at least three others, including a doe who may have had babies recently, though nobody has seen them. I've only seen one of the group, though, while my neighbors all brag of seeing the rest of them. Maybe your report will bring me luck, since we seem to be on the same creature wavelength right now. :)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

I've got a much more mundane (yet delightful) critter sighting to report ... we've been spoiled the past several weeks with the hummingbirds visiting the bee balm out front (we just sit on the porch and watch them do their thing), but yesterday we discovered that the pair of goldfinches we saw last year has returned. Both of them working some mint (of all things!) ... well tonight they were back again, this time visiting the Sea Holly and the Calendulas out front. Such delightful creatures and so beautiful, we're glad they've come back to grace our garden.

Now on the HP front ... though there was all the expected hoopla and hoohah here at the bookstores, I did the slackerly thing and ordered it months ago from Amazon. Fernymoss came up yesterday afternoon all excited because it had just been delivered ... needless to say, he was very occupied last night. And from what he tells me (and a few reviews I've read) it's a real hum-dinger.

Yes, I'm one of those odd birds who has never read any of the books thus far. I've seen the movies though, sorry excuse that that is. There's just something about a job that requires me to spend my entire day reading and digesting data that has dampened that part of me so that I don't view reading as the pleasure it once was. Hmm, I think maybe that tells me I need a course change and should maybe consider trying to get back into teaching literature again, hehe.

Nancy P said...

IVG, I just tonight found you down here. :) I didn't know you'd taught Eng. Lit. I'll bet you were a terrific teacher. (And you'll probably never see this comment, lol.)

FARfetched said...

Argh, Beth! No VoSP spoilers either! I'm starting my read tonight....

Mrs. Fetched tells me that Daughter Dearest picked up the HP book from a shelf, looked at the last sentence, and said, "OK, I know what happens." She's pretty well tied up with a fairly extensive summer reading program that the school dumped on everyone: Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, and I don't know what else. I think she read Grapes of Wrath during the school year. I suppose that's her excuse for slacking on fun-reading… beyond Terie Garrison's (another writer whom I "know" online, from the Techcomm list) fantasy series, anyway.