Monday, July 23, 2007

Post-Potter Recovery

As we continue to recover from all things Harry, check out Alan Hamari's BrookfieldNOW blog. Alan was at our Brookfield shop blogging away as hundreds of eager fans (and parents and friends) awaited the final book. Thanks to our own Ken Favell for posting the link!


7/21/2007 12:16:59 AM

End of the line

Well, it's done. Almost four hours later, I finally get my paws on "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."

I'd stick around and chat, but I need to get home and brew some coffee. I've got 700-plus pages to read.

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7/21/2007 12:01:02 AM

And they're off!

After a store-wide countdown followed by raucous applause, the Potterphiles finally get their books.

I don't see a sad face in the crowd.

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7/20/2007 11:55:45 PM

I'm going to be here a while...

All I can see is a swarm of people stretching back to the door. I couldn't get out of here if I wanted to.

That's OK; it'll give me a chance to do some serious Potter people-watching as the crowd gets their books.

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7/20/2007 11:50:37 PM

T-minus 10 minutes

Things are getting a little antsy at the front of the line; they've broken into song. I can't tell if it's an original or something J.K. Rowling came up with for one of the books.

At any rate, most of the people in the line have stood up and are chattering nervously. I just heard somebody shout "Ten minutes!"

I can't quite reach that level of excitement, considering I'm going to be at the tail end of the line.

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7/20/2007 11:43:20 PM

The Killing Curse ... with a smile

It's kind of weird to see an 8-year-old kid smiling and laughing while administering a series of Unforgiveable Curses to his friends, but you can't blame Sam Riebs for having a good time.

Sam, who's from Delafield, was running around Schwartz about 45 minutes before the midnight book release, shouting "Crucio!" and "Avada Kedavra!" at his friends.

But Sam wasn't the only member of the Riebs clan having a good time. Sam's dad, Karl, said he was having a blast at his first midnight release party.

"It's great," Karl said. "We can hardly contain our excitement."

Karl said he and Sam have been re-reading the books for a couple months leading up to the "Deathly Hallows" in preparation.

Still, Sam -- who says his favorite character is Harry -- had trouble picking his favorite book.

"I can't know for sure because it's probably going to be (book) seven," he said.

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7/20/2007 11:35:02 PM

Refresher course

Sorry for the delay, folks; I lost my Internet connection for a little bit.

We've only got a half hour left until "Deathly Hallows," and the first dozen or so people in line decided to launch a refresher course on "Half-Blood Prince."

They're taking turns reading from the last chapter of the book, passing it off to the next person in line. A small crowd of people have gathered around them, listening intently.

Twenty-five minutes and counting....

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7/20/2007 11:12:32 PM

We're tackling the big questions here...

What really happened to Dumbledore? Is Snape a hero or a villain?

Those are the questions some loyal fans tackled tonight with a series of fan forums addressing seven key questions that should be answered in the final book.

The forums, held at 10, 10:30 and 11, attracted some lively discussion -- and one comment that made me feel pretty old.

Someone asked when the first book came out. Another forum member chimed in with "1998." "Wow, I was only like 8."

Wow indeed.

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7/20/2007 10:50:55 PM

Squeezed in

We're a little more than an hour away, and it's getting a little tough to move in here. The line has almost doubled back to me, and there are still more Potter fans filing in.

It's a pretty good mix in the crowd, too. As expected, there are a lot of parents with their kids, but there are also a lot of people sans kids in their 20s and 30s. And age is apparently no deterrant from dressing up, either; I've seen a lot of grizzled old wizards wandering around in their robes.

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7/20/2007 10:33:57 PM

"It's surreal that it's the last one"

Allison Struthers grew up with Harry Potter.

The 21-year-old Brookfield native -- and current Tosa resident -- was 12 years old when the first book came out in the United States. She and her group of friends set up shop outside Schwartz shortly after noon today in preparation for tonight's release.

Allison quickly claimed the first spot in line, and will be the first one to get her hands on "Deathly Hallows." She said it's been a unique experience to follow the popularity of the series.

"It's been really interesting to watch the fanaticism grow," she said. "It's the only time in my life I've been a trendsetter."

Allison's favorite book in the series is "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," a sentiment echoed by others in her group.

Allison's friend Caitlin Fuller said the Potter series is something she'll continue to share.

"These will be books I give my kids," said Fuller, 21.

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7/20/2007 10:13:09 PM

Since noon?

Wendy Gowan thought she'd be first in line when she and her friends showed up at Schwartz at 2:30 this afternoon. After all, the 32-year-old Menomonee Falls woman arrived with a group of friends at 5 p.m. for the release of the last book, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," and was second in line.

"I was thinking we'd get here at 2:30 (this time)," she said. "I wanted to be first!"

But unfortunately for Gowan, the group in front of her arrived at noon, so she ended up in second place again.

Still, Gowan said she's excited about the final chapter in the Potter series.

"Oh my God, yes," she said. "Except I don't want Harry to die."

Gowan said she loves the books because "I like the idea that all ages are involved and it's not just for kids."

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7/20/2007 10:00:37 PM

Long line already

An hour into this extravaganza, the line for the books (which, need I remind you, still doesn't come out for two and a half hours) is stretching almost clear across the width of the store.

There are still plenty of people buzzing around the store finishing the quotes quiz -- I think I saw a dementor and a tiny version of Aragog (I'm not even looking through the books for these names, people!) wandering around.

It looks like I missed my chance on the Chocolate Frogs, but there are still plenty of lightning-bolt cookies left.

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7/20/2007 9:35:45 PM

The best costumes I've seen so far

Brookfield's Harry Potter fans are pretty creative, I've got to give them that.

The best costumes I've seen so far have been Fawkes, Professor Dumbledore's faithful phoenix, and an adorable youngster dressed up as Dobby, the mischievious house elf.

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7/20/2007 9:30:07 PM

A little Muggle creativity

As the crowd continues to swell, the number of people in costumes continues to grow, too. Most of them are clad in robes or hats and scarves, but a few inventive fans have made their own t-shirts.

"James Potter and Sirius Black are my homeboys," one boasts. "Muggle Please," another says.

I'm feeling a little out of place in my button-down shirt and corduroys. At least someone gave me a "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" pin.

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7/20/2007 9:10:54 PM

Here they come...

The doors are open, and the first handful of Potterites are registering at a makeshift Gringott's (that's the goblin bank, for the uninitiated) and picking up their forms for the Quirky Quotes Quandry, a 26-question scavenger hunt for famous quotes from the series.

Fans can turn in their finished forms for a chance to win a stuffed Sorting Hat. Employees are also walking around the store administering a "What Book Is It In?" quiz, where customers can win other Harry Potter items, including pins and temporary tattoos.

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7/20/2007 8:56:23 PM

Last-minute preparations

I've got my wristband and I'm ready to go.

The employees at Schwartz are getting ready for 9 o'clock, when the doors will open (actually, they're open now for people on non-Harry Potter related business) and the couple dozen Potter fans station outside will flock into the store for activities leading up to the midnight release of "The Deathly Hallows."

Those customers who have pre-ordered the book give the employees their name when they enter the store, and the employees hand out a wristband to those people who have paid. At the end of the night, the customers will get their wristbands snipped off in exchange for a book.

The employees are putting the final touches on the store, going over line-up routes and setting up for the events, which will include a panel addressing the key questions of Book 7 and a quote-identification contest.

Just a few minutes until the fun begins...

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7/19/2007 1:39:56 PM

Only two days away

It's only two days until the release of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," but the New York Times has already posted its review of the final book in J.K. Rowling's teenage wizard series.

I don't want any spoilers, so I didn't read it, but if you want to check it out, go to (It was at the top of the page earlier, but it's about halfway down now.)

Update: Here's the link to the actual "Deathly Hallows" review. Needless to say, if you don't want to find out some major plot points, don't click on it.

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7/18/2007 8:16:30 PM

The countdown begins...

Well, I guess I can’t hide it anymore. With the release of the final book in the wildly popular “Harry Potter” series this Saturday shortly after midnight, I’ve come to grips with the fact that I’m a huge fan (or is that fanatic?) of J.K. Rowling’s rollicking and wonderful series of books following the adventures of everyone’s favorite teenage wizard.

Even though I was a little late to the game, I’ve read all the books (more than once), seen all the movies (most of them more than once) and think I’d probably fare pretty well in a Harry Potter trivia contest.

So, what better way to celebrate the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” than with my own people – rabid Harry Potter fans?

I’ll be spending the night at the Harry W. Schwartz store in Brookfield, talking to fans, trying to find the most original costume, testing my Harry Potter knowledge and eagerly awaiting the stroke of midnight, when the fate of Harry and his Hogwarts pals will finally be revealed.

Will the wait be worth it? Will Harry survive? Should I be this excited? Join me right here, starting at 9 p.m. Friday, as I find out. (And don’t worry, I won’t ruin the ending for you.)


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