Never in my life have I been on hand for a "release" of anything - book, CD, etc. That is, until last night.
I decided to have a slightly immersive HP experience, having seen Order of the Phoenix last weekend, having re-read the last 2 chapters of the Half Blood Prince and starting a pair of Fawkes socks in Lorna's Laces Bittersweet ( I will probably regret not using Flame).
Barnes & Noble and Borders were having midnight release parties. I like B&N, I certainly spend more money there, so off I went at 9:00 pm to wait it out. The children were scary with all their Potter knowledge. Many were dressed for the occasion, and not every child belonged to Gryffindor. The adults were a little pathetic, with one woman missing the point and looked more Amish than a witch.
When I got there, there were maybe 40-50 people in the store. It was in the hundreds by midnight. I spent some time looking, but there were people camped out in the aisles reading, or just lounging and talking. There was a trivia contest, face painting, wand and amulet making, potion lore, and a few other things. I decided to sit in the cafe for a bit, enjoy a macchiato and knit a bit on my Fawkes socks. I tried using my iPod to listen to the most recent LimeNViolet podcast, but the noise in the store was deafening.
Around 11:00 pm, the place became more crowded and much warmer. The air conditioning shuts off at 11pm, when the store normally closes. Being in close quarters with so many people, especially heavily costumed young people who have yet to discover the miracle of deodorant, let's just say the heat and the fortified air were about enough for me to call it quits and come back later. I had managed to hang in there for 2 1/2 hours, why stop now? This was, after all, my HP immersive experience.
At 12:30 am, I escaped my self imposed fetid hell and hurriedly left the full parking lot to return home and start reading. Kevin was already fast asleep, so I made myself a cup of tea and sat down for a good read starting at 1:00 am. When I no longer needed the lights to illuminate the pages, I closed the book having reached better than the half way mark at 6:00 am and went to get some sleep. With a start I woke at 10:30 thinking but one thing - "Harry" - and started up again. I took a break to shower, get something to eat, update Kevin on what happened last night, and around 1:00 pm started in earnest again. At 5:00 pm, it was over. I was done. 10 1/2 hours, 782 pages.
I will admit - I cried three times. My opinion of Snape had been correct. The final outcome of the heroes was as I had hoped. Rowling is an amazing story teller and most of the loose ends were neatly dealt with. I am most tempted to re-read the entire series, which I have never done before. I have only read 2 books twice in my life - Gone With The Wind (shear boredom and lack of accessible reading material while traveling overseas) and The Stand (re-release where King added ad additional 100+ pages). Having read the series over such a long span of years, I almost feel that I have lost something, some of the essence of the story. But with the first 5 books in storage, it isn't likely to happen for a while.
I will not put any spoilers here, only that I hope anyone who reads The Deathly Hallows will enjoy it as much as I did.