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August 8, 2016

Harry Potter Midnight Release Parties

Posted by Rebecca M

It was a sunny, balmy Saturday evening when, all across the boroughs of NYC, six Harry Potter fans with their appropriately themed apparel on and their wands at the ready walked into their favorite bookstores not knowing what the night would have in store for them. All six will eagerly wait until the clock strikes 12 and then the magic will once again fill the air as they reunite with their old friends at Platform 9 ¾.

Question: Have you attended any midnight release parties before, for Harry Potter books or otherwise?

Brianna: Yes! I've attended the last three Harry Potter midnight release parties and (embarrassingly) a BREAKING DAWN release party.

Dana: No, this was my first midnight release party for a book.

Jonathan: First time! First midnight release for any book, actually!

Maya: Yes! I’ve attended every midnight release for Harry Potter since Goblet of Fire!

Natalia: This was my first Harry Potter party, but I have been to a few Twilight release parties.

Rebecca: This was actually my first midnight release party ever!


Q: Where did you attend your midnight release party and why did you choose to go there?

Brianna: I went to the Barnes and Noble closest to my house just because of the proximity.

Dana: I went to Books of Wonder in NYC. I love their signings and other events, but really it was because they promised live OWLS, magicians, face painting and giveaways. I’m a child at heart.

Jonathan: Books of Wonder in NYC --- I pass by it on my run every Tuesday and it looks like a cute shop. Also, owls, live owls. I was sold.

Maya: I hosted the midnight party at Barnes & Noble Upper West Side! I’m the events coordinator there :).

Natalia: I attended at our local Barnes and Noble (Ledgewood) and it was close to home!

Rebecca: I went to Books of Wonder in NYC because it’s my favorite place to go for children’s and YA book events. I think they really have a handle on what’s fun and still makes sense for a large crowd.


Q: What were you looking forward to the most that night?

Brianna: Honestly, just the experience! The atmosphere of a new Harry Potter story coming out was thrilling! It reminded me of being a kid again.

Dana: I was most excited for the experience of being there. There is nothing like the Harry Potter fandom; you feel the exact same way at the Wizarding World parks as well. But also the OWLS.

Jonathan: I was definitely looking forward to the live owls, but also the costumes and Harry Potter environment of it all. It was just cool to see people excited about Harry Potter and the release of the new book.

Maya: Celebrating the series I love with guests and staff who love it too!

Natalia: Spending time with my friends and family in my favorite place!

Rebecca: Since it was my first midnight release party, I was actually excited to see the crowd and watch people get excited over one of my favorite series. Also, I read on the Books of Wonder website that there would be owls, so, you know, OWLS.

Q: What was your favorite part of the night?

Brianna: Probably the countdown. I love the camaraderie of everyone waiting for the book!

Dana: I really loved talking to random people on all of the different lines for activities, it was very crowded and a necessary evil. My friend and I were also really in love with our matching “tattoos” or rather face paint; we got death marks painted on our arms.

Jonathan: Everyone was so friendly and the atmosphere was so much fun so I feel like my favorite part of the night was when everyone was getting the book and the lead-up to that because we were anticipating the midnight release. No one was pushy!

Maya: All the Harry Potter decorations, games, trivia, and activities! I loved getting the chance to immerse myself in the Wizarding atmosphere and let my wizard-nerd flag unapologetically fly among like-minded folks, haha!

Natalia: Exploring all the books since I had more time than usual to roam.

Rebecca: Besides the owls, I really enjoyed the camaraderie and the fact that no one got hostile or pushy despite the nearly-overwhelming crowd. It was like we had all absorbed the values J. K. Rowling wrote about and used them to make the night even better.


Q: What was the best costume you saw? You can name up to three, and one can be your own!

Brianna: Definitely Luna's Gryffindor Lion costume.

Dana: There was a girl dressed up as Devil’s Snare, which was incredibly creative, but kind of looked like Poison Ivy from Batman if you didn’t read her sign. The one that I loved most for its simplicity was a Narcissa Malfoy cosplay, all you need is the correct wig and a black dressy outfit.

Jonathan: There was a whole family dressed up. Their little boy was Dumbledore, the father was Harry Potter and the mother was Hermione. Also, someone dressed up as Hogwarts Express train conductor --- so good!

Maya: I wore a pretty cool modern Harry interpretation outfit --- and there was an incredible Tom Riddle!

Natalia:  An older lady was dressed as Professor McGonagall and it was spot on!! Loved it.

Rebecca: The best costume award definitely goes to the girl dressed as a Hogwarts Express train conductor --- I loved that her outfit was original and would only make sense to a real fan. Then again, there was a baby dressed as Dumbledore, so the competition was pretty stiff.

Q: Did you have any fun encounters with other fans?

Brianna: No, but I did go with a high school friend who I didn't think would ever get into Harry Potter and now is just starting to get into them.

Dana: Books of Wonder gave out numbered tickets to make giving out the copies easier, but the numbers also corresponded with a Hogwarts House. I was Hufflepuff number 58. We had a lot of Hufflepuff pride as we waited for our books, but I did feel like I was cheating on my own house.

Maya: I in my Harry costume and the girl in the Tom Riddle costume took some great battle shots, as well as myself and a bookseller dressed as Bellatrix! My ultimate favorite fan moment was when I was helping with our Harry Potter Jeopardy event. It’s tough to keep kids organized and an all-ages event tears-free when it comes to Harry Potter trivia, because they all knew the answers --- so when a little Ravenclaw poked me and went, “You make a great leader, Ms. Potter,” it was pretty much the nicest thing anyone’s said to me at an event!

Rebecca: Since I’ve never been to a Harry Potter event before, I was surprised to see how friendly everyone was. I wore a “Ravenclaw Quidditch Team Captain” shirt and almost immediately after walking in a girl raised her fist at me and said “Yeah, Ravenclaw!” I’m so used to book events where everyone is focused on the author that it was really cool to see people interacting without even knowing one another. I also got lots of compliments on my Harry Potter nails, which doesn’t happen anywhere else!

Q: What do the Harry Potter books mean to you?

Brianna: Is it corny to say it means my childhood? Harry Potter helped me discover a love of reading and characters and broadened my imagination. It was a companion when I didn't have one and also helped me find friends later on with similar interests.

Dana: Harry Potter made me a reader. I will always be thankful for that. My oldest brother gave me the first book and bought me gifts when I reached certain page numbers. I still have the bookmark he gave me when I was reading it. Harry Potter was the first of many books to bring my brother and I closer.

Rebecca: Talk about a loaded question! Although I grew up reading and being read to, the Harry Potter books were the first ones that really felt like they were written for ME. I remember reading them every summer with such happiness.

Q: Out of the previous seven books, which was your favorite?  Least favorite?


Dana: HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN  is my favorite as well. My least favorite is a tie between CHAMBER OF SECRETS and GOBLET OF FIRE.

Rebecca: With a big series like this, I always say the first book is the best, because it opens the door in the first place. I must say, though, I really loved HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN. I’m not sure why, but I had a lot of trouble getting into HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX.


Q: Who is your favorite character from the books? Least favorite?

Brianna: Sirius Black is my favorite! My least favorite is a tie between Bellatrix and Voldy.

Dana: My favorite characters are obviously Harry and the gang. What Harry Potter fan doesn’t love them? Dumbledore and Hagrid have a hold of my heart though. My least favorite characters are definitely Ginny and Aunt Petunia.

Rebecca: Harry himself, of course! But I also love Hermione because we’re very similar. My least favorite would have to be Lucius Malfoy...what a scumbag!

Q: What house would you be sorted into if you went to Hogwarts?  Be honest!

Brianna: I thought Ravenclaw but now apparently I'm a Hufflepuff. Can I be a Huffleclaw? A Ravenpuff?

Dana: Ravenclaw and proud!

Natalia:  Hufflepuff!! I used to play Pottermore and that was the house I was sorted into!

Rebecca: Ravenclaw 4 lyfe.


Q: Have you started HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD yet? What do you think?

Brianna: Nope! I'm going to see it in April and I'm trying to hold out until then!

Dana: I’ve started and finished it already. For nostalgia value, it touches upon so many plots and characters that will give you the feels. But sadly, I didn’t love it. A lot of the characters just didn’t feel the same and the plot wasn’t very well written. Although, I couldn’t help but be wrapped up in the magic of it.

Natalia: I have not :(

Rebecca: I haven’t yet (blasphemy, I know)! I feel really content with how my relationship with the books ended nine years ago and I just don’t know if I’m ready to try something new yet.


Q: Any additional thoughts about the night and/or book?

Brianna: I'm glad that it renewed a love of Harry Potter --- even if it has its flaws or isn't technically the eighth book.

Dana: I loved seeing so many parents with young children at the event. It was great to see that the magic of Harry Potter won’t be going away anytime soon.

Rebecca: I am SORELY regretting not attending any midnight releases as a kid!