Harry Potter and His Ever-Devoted Fan
by Sarah Keeler
I was excited, perhaps a little over-excited truth be told. It was July 7, 2000, and the fourth book in the seven-part Harry Potter series would be mine in just a few short hours. After almost a full year of waiting! My mother and I went to the grocery to buy “Pumpkin Juice”, “Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans”, and “Chocolate Frogs” imitating the delights Harry and his friends enjoy around the table in the Great Hall. We then stopped by the craft shop to purchase plain white T-shirts so the guests at my party could decorate their own shirts to show fandom (this was at least a year before the big Warner Brothers Harry Potter merchandising frenzy).
By 10:00 p.m., all of my fellow Hogwarts students had arrived. We were wearing our T-shirts and had created signs to wave at the bookstore, including one with that day’s newspaper clipping, which read, “Pottermania!” and showed a picture of the cover of a Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. A book we were all dying to get our hands on! I gleefully put on my “cloak” and unveiled my homemade “wand.” I practically skipped to the car. The Barnes & Noble was a mere minute from our house so we arrived no later than 10:15. My friends and I ran into the bookshop where a few other fans had begun to form a queue. My mother told us that she would wait in line for us, so we ran around the store speculating with other fans and drinking Italian Sodas from the café. We saw a rather pathetic magic show performed by an illusionist who looked as though he’d escaped from a nursing home to come and perform. I was too excited to care much. A rosy-looking employee handed out Potter-style plastic glasses and scar stickers. The Barnes & Noble café handed out free coffee to the adults while the kids continued discussing the wildest rumors we had ever heard. By 11:55 the line to purchase Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was wrapped around the building and well out of the door. Nearly half of these anxiously awaiting Potterites would not receive their copy that night, as the bookshop did not have enough copies. At 12:00 am July 8th, 2000 I held a first-edition copy of the fourth installment in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series under my arm. I was lucky enough to have been 12th in line.
Harry Potter is something very close to my heart. A perfectly healthy obsession in my view. Harry, Ron, and Hermione are my closest and dearest friends, and I believe they can sometimes be more comforting than my real-life friends when I am sad or lonely. However anxious I am for the fifth Harry Potter book I am not going to question J.K. Rowling or criticize her for the delay. I respect her decision not to have a deadline and look forward to the newly released release date, June 21, 2003, with the utmost excitement. I believe the newly married Joanne Rowling-Murray to be a fine, honorable lady who has suffered more than her share of hardships and deserves every penny she earned, and every praise she has been hailed. Jessica her daughter has always come first and I respect that very much. Now, with the birth of David Gordon Rowling Murray, I know that her motherly duties will become more demanding than ever.
I am proud to say I have read the Harry Potter series 35 times and I am sure that J.K. Rowling is writing away happily. I am confident that the next three novels will be just as good and, (if it’s possible) perhaps even better than installments 1-4!