Last Friday over 500 people packed into Borders, anxiously awaiting the stroke of midnight to start reading the next chapter of the Harry Potter series.
J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” was first released in the United States in September 1998. Since then a sort of mania has taken the world by storm as people of all ages indulge in the fantasy world of Hogwarts and escape the reality world of regular humans or “muggles,” as they are known in the book.
At a pre-Potter release party, Eric Bond, manager of Borders on Liberty Street said the store sold about 600 copies of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” though about 2,000 had been reserved. Since its release, the book has sold around 250,000 copies every hour in the United States alone.
Jayson Zeeman, the district marketing manager of national events for Ann Arbor’s Borders said that the store was hosting several Potter-inspired events to cater to the excitement and anticipation of the fans.
Zeeman said that the Harry Potter series has changed children’s literature and that the Potter phenomena has inspired entire families to dress up in wizard and witch costumes — readily displaying the wardrobe of their favorite characters.
Zeeman said that the Harry Potter books each have an exciting cliffhanger at the end, which grow more tantalizing as the series progresses — this may explain why both children and adults are addicted to reading about a boy wizard with glasses and a scar.
Matthew Slayton, a 17-year-old who attended the book release countdown, said that he had an almost unhealthy obsession for Harry Potter.
LSA lecturer Carson Maynard said that he only attended the event to purchase a copy of the book, not to participate in the celebrations.
“I was here last year,” Maynard said. “I just kind of came to grab a copy.”
The books’ ability to rekindle the feeling that fairy tales just might be real is what makes them so enjoyable, Maynard said.
Maynard said that his mother cried when she heard that he had been reading them — because she feared that they were satanic. But after viewing the films, she changed her mind, and decided that they teach good morals
“I sort of wish that all school bullies would read Harry potter,” Maynard said.
Also present at the event were two young girls — one of which was Ana Klimchynskaya, a ninth grader cloaked in a Hogwarts robe, who resembled the book’s Hermione Granger character.
“I am basically obsessed,” Klimchynskaya said with a large grin.
Klimchynskaya owns her own Harry Potter website titled Hoggy Warty Hogwarts, which can be found at http://hwh.muggle-host.net/.
Klimchynskaya said that she is fascinated by the series because she enjoys the mixture of magic and mystery with a sense of humor.
“It makes kids read more,” she added.
Her friend Jennifer Herstein, an eighth grader who seemed just as eager to buy the book as they counted down the minutes, said that the characters are similar to people in real-life so its easy to identify with them.
“It’s really fun to predict who’s going to die in the next book,” she added with a grin.