Thursday, July 21, 2022

#tbt Deathly Hallows Book Release

It's been exactly 15 years since Deathly Hallows was released on Saturday, July 21, 2007.  I remember so much about that day... how much I had looked forward to it.  How much I was dreading it.  The anticipation of finally getting my hands on the last book in my beloved Harry Potter series... and feeling like it was all coming to an end.

I touched on this experience when we celebrated 20 years of Harry Potter last summer, but I wanted to write a bit more about it today in another Throwback Thursday post.

The morning of Friday, July 20th, I went down to the Prudential Mall to the Barnes and Noble store.  It was the closest bookstore to Wentworth's campus so it made the most sense to get my book there.  I was a bit anxious about it, since the only other midnight release for a Harry Potter book I'd been to was the one where I worked at Sherman's Bookstore in Bar Harbor and had myself on the list to set aside a copy.

When I arrived at "the Pru", there was a giant line.  It was so big that we had to stand on the left side of the mall, when Barnes and Noble was on the right.  There was a giant roped off queue for all of us standing in line to get on the pre-order list.  My then boyfriend was with me, and he reluctantly stood in line with me while I waited to get my wristband for that evening.  It took us a while to work our way through the line, but we made it eventually.  After acquiring my wristband, I made my way back to campus for the afternoon and sat with anxiety and anticipation for most of the day.

Later in the afternoon, we went over to Harvard Square to join hundreds (possibly even thousands) of other Harry Potter fans in a celebration of our favorite series.  They had turned Harvard Square into "Hogwarts Square" for the evening.  A bunch of my favorite Wizard Rock bands were performing a free concert, so I had to check that out!

When we arrived, the square was completely packed full of Harry Potter fans.  Some were dressed up for the occasion, but most weren't.  There were people of all ages there and it was really cool to see everyone out together on such a big day!

Closer to midnight, we made our way back over to the Prudential Mall.  My friend Sam was also getting her copy of the book at the Barnes and Noble, so we made plans to meet up at the bookstore.  I was so glad to have another Potterhead with me since my boyfriend wasn't into it.  (He basically dragged himself along as our body guard so we'd be safe going back to campus late at night... and Sam and I were both grateful for it.)

We waited outside together until they let us into the bookstore.  Sam and I killed some time taking photos with the other Harry Potter merchandise.  They also had a Polaroid photo area set up!  Then, Sam and I waited along with all of the other fans until it was officially midnight and time for us to get our copies of the book!

Once we had our copies of Deathly Hallows in hand I was so excited!  I couldn't wait to devour it.  But at the same time, I never wanted it to end.

The three of us returned to Wentworth's campus and I shut myself away in my studio apartment. I stayed up the entire night reading until about 4 am when I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.  I think I slept for about 4 hours, before setting an alarm to wake back up to continue reading.  I was so terrified someone would spoil it for me.

I spent the entire afternoon reading the book.  I could have finished it faster, but it wasn't a race and I wanted to enjoy reading it.  I knew that once it was over, that was it; it was done.  And I didn't want to rush through the last pages of my beloved series.

That evening, I was actually going to a girlfriend's bachelorette party.  One of the girls in my interior design class was getting married and all of us were throwing a party for her, followed by going out dancing.  I made each of the girls swear on their lives that they wouldn't spoil the ending for me... otherwise I wasn't going to come.  They all promised and I'm so glad that I went.  I had a great time laughing and dancing with my girlfriends... but I was also so anxious to get home to keep reading!

After returning home, I changed into my pajamas and settled onto my bed.  In the quiet stillness of the night, I spent hours reading while everyone else on campus was fast asleep.  It was so quiet... almost eerily quiet.  I only stopped reading when I had to use the bathroom.  Occasionally, I would pause for a moment to grab another lemon drop candy- eaten in Headmaster Albus Dumbledore's honor.

I finished Deathly Hallows as the sun was rising in the early hours of the morning on Sunday, July 22nd.  It was a surreal moment.  After reading the ending a few times to let it soak in, I just sat there on my bed completely stunned that it was over.  

Surely, there had to be more that I missed.  It couldn't just end... could it?

There were a lot of tears shed in those final moments... both happy and sad.  I was happy with the ending.  And I was relieved that there was an epilogue that took us into the future to see how the lives of our favorite characters turned out.  But I wanted so much more.  I was so sad to see the book series that I loved so much come to an end.

I definitely went through a grieving process after it all ended.  I talked with a few of my friends who read the book and we shared our thoughts with each other.  Thankfully, there were still a few more movies that hadn't been released yet, so I still had plenty of Harry Potter to experience at that moment in time.  

After the original eight movies were released... that was kind of the end for me.  I own a copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, but I've never read it.  I never even bought a copy of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  (Although, I did see the play with Eliot's family and it was absolutely ah-maz-ing!)  And I've never seen any of the Fantastic Beasts movies... not because I haven't wanted to see them.  I think it's a mental thing- by not reading the books and by not seeing those movies... there is still something that I haven't yet discovered in the world of Harry Potter.

At this point, it's been long enough that I think it's time to dive back in.  I wanted to re-read the entire series, and finally read those books that I haven't.  Eliot and I have also talked about watching the Fantastic Beasts movies together.

The Harry Potter books and movies were a wonderful thing to experience, and I'm so thankful for all of the friends and experiences that I've gotten to have because of them.

Happy 15th Birthday Deathly Hallows.  "You'll stay with me?"  "Until the very end."  °o°

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