Partying with Potter Fans gather for sale of latest book on boy

Saturday, June 21, 2003

Almost everybody who is anybody in the world of Harry Potter and the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was there Friday night, including Hermione Grangers, a robed Slytherin teacher, Keeper of the Keys Rubeus Hagrid and a tall white-bearded Dumbledore, the master wizard.

An excited buzz was already building at 9:30 p.m., 2 1/2 hours before "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," the newest book in the J.K. Rowling series, went on sale at Barnes & Noble Booksellers in Cape Girardeau. The 870-page American edition sells for $29.99.

Those who came for the party were handed a pair of Harry's trademark glasses. Various activities were scheduled, including pictures with Harry, face painting, a drawing contest and others. Much the same took place at every Barnes & Noble in the United States Friday night.

Store manager Eric Seiler dressed as Dumbledore, and the rest of the bookstore staff were in various Potter guises. Even though he hasn't read the books, the boyfriend of an employee came dressed as Hagrid.

"I watch the movies," Jacob Martin said. "I cheat."

Whitney Green of Sedgewickville, Mo., was one of the Hermiones. The sixth-grader at Meadow Heights School dressed up as Hermione for Halloween, too. When friends say she looks like Hermione, she doesn't mind.

"I like how smart she is and how she knows all the spells by heart," Whitney said.

She has read all the Harry Potter books twice.

In this fifth book, Harry Potter takes on the evil Lord Voldemort, who once was a student at Hogwarts. Mathus Williams, a 15-year-old Central High School student, dressed as the son of Voldemort.

He likes the fact that Voldemort gave Harry his powers and he doubts bad guys are all bad. "Where all good is, there must be some evil," Mathus said.

Red tickets, blue tickets

Seiler said he was prevented by the publisher from revealing how many books had been ordered. Those who had preordered a copy of the book were given a red ticket guaranteeing them a copy. Those with blue tickets had to sweat it out.

Waldenbooks in Westfield Shoppingtown West Park will hold a Harry Potter party and begin selling the book at 9:30 a.m. today.

335-6611, extension 182

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