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It’s all over…

July 23, 2007

Hardly watched any TV at the weekend due to having my nose in a certain book. Started it Saturday morning, finished it last night bang on 10pm and it’s marvelous. Not what I expected, but a fitting finale none-the-less.

But I’m not going to talk about the book here, as that wouldn’t be fair to those who’ve not read/finished it yet. No, I’m going to talk about my final Harry P experience – queuing for the book.

Obviously being of drinking age, we started the night at the pub. At 11pm we decided to escort Rhian to an independent bookshop, where she had reserved her copies It was lovely. They opened the doors at 11.15 and had a small but cosy party to celebrate. There was a ‘potions master’ in one corner, offering up Veritasirum (or barley water and sugar to you Muggles), there was a hunt for the golden snitch (lucky dip) and a table full of Honeydukes’ finest sweets and nibbles. At 11.40 Mr Badger, my other friend Holly and I left to go to Waterstones, which is where we’d reserved our copies and arranged to meet Rhian in a bit.

As we rounded the corner we saw the biggest queue I’ve ever seen for anything in my life. For those of you who know Bath, it started at the bottom of Milsom street (where Waterstones is) and snaked all the way up, past Jolly’s almost to the end of the street. We joined at Cafe Rouge (who we think made a mistake in not opening up for people who were gasping for a tea or other hot beverage) and then others quickly joined, trailing the queue up and around the corner.

They were a mixture of kids, fan-boy teens and wary parents, and there was also a Griffin stalking up and down the queue for pictures. “They’re not paying you enough for this are they?” I asked him. He shook his head.

At 12.01 this big cheer rippled through the crowd. My heart started beating and I couldn’t contain my excitement. I hopped up and down giggling and whooping. Ten minutes (TEN MINUTES!) later Rhian arrived with her book in a nice paper bag and said she’d sit with Mr Badger on one of the benches outside the shop and start reading. We said we’d see her in about half an hour (I was sure the queue would go fast because of my past experiences). Forty five -minutes later, they came back and we’d not moved as much as I’d hoped. They went home to tea and the first six chapters, while Holly and I stayed. By this time, the pubs had obviously closed and we were left to the abuse of Bath’s chavs (yes we have some).

“Losers!” they yelled, or just “Haaaaarrryyyyy!”. “Harry’s dead!” was the most frequent, oh-so-original taunt, but kudos to one who shouted, “Ron’s dead!” At least he knew there was a Ron, so fair play to that. By now it was getting colder and one of the kids behind us had left with his dad because it was too late. The queue was moving quite a bit every 20 minutes or so, but there was still a long way to go.

At 1.30 we finally got near the shop and this bastard school kid was reading chunks of the book aloud. “Shut up!” “Stop it!” cried members of the crowd, but he carried on. By this stage, I’d had enough. I was cold, tired and had been queuing for almost two hours. I stormed over to him, “Look,” I said looking him straight in the eye, “we’ve been queuing here for an hour and a half.”
“There’s no queue at WH Smiths though!” he said cheerfuly.
“Well, I’ve already paid for mine here and it’s half price, so there!” I said, suddenly getting a bit childish and smug. I shook it off and went back into firm mode. “You’ve got your book, go home and read it. We don’t want you to read it to us. There are kids in this queue for gawd’s sake! If you read any more out loud, I’m going to come back and smack you! Just GO HOME!” As I returned to my place in the queue, there was a big round of applause and a few cheers. Yay me!

Then I turned around and there were some community support officers chatting to the guy. “Oh shit” I thought. “I just threatened a 16-year-old. I’m so going dahn!” But luckily for me, they simply moved him on, and ignored my crime (ha, I soooo got away with it!)

Holly and I finally got into Waterstones and…!

Another fecking queue! It stretched all the way down to the end of the shop (cannily through the kids’ section just to taunt us) and back up to the tills. But this one moved very quickly (even if there was annoying Harry Potter music on a loop). At about 1.50 I sleepily took my books (kids’ versions, of course – even if the cover is dire this time) and went to the till to be crossed off the list. Then Holly and I staggered back to mine to await her taxi.

I’d like to say the moment the book was passed to me was thrilling. I’d like to say that I raced back home and read the first few chapters. But I didn’t. I was so tired and so fed up of the taunting and the stupid kids reading bits out, or flicking to the back to find out what happens, that I collapsed in bed and didn’t touch the book until 2pm the next day. Part of me didn’t even want to start reading. I didn’t want to begin the end as it were…

“Why didn’t you just wait and get the book Saturday morning?” asked Mr Badger the next day. It’s a fair question and many of you (like Rich) have question the point of queuing in the first place. I could have easily gone to Asda the next day and picked it up for a fiver with my weekly groceries, but I wanted to queue. I wanted to make the effort and show my dedication. JK Rowling has dedicated the final book to “those of you who have stuck with Harry til the end,” and that’s how I felt about the whole thing. It would be easy just to pop in and grab the book. But I wanted to go out of my way as it were.

And we certainly did that!

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS

Right I know I said I wouldn’t discuss the book but I just want to say a few things, so if you’ve not read it yet, or don’t want to know then look away… now!

I was quite shocked at all the deaths at first – it was about one per two chapters at one stage!
Knew Hedwig would die – Harry can’t exactly carry her around on his quest, so JK had to get rid of her really.
Didn’t realise I would be such a big sopping mess at Dobby’s death though. Couldn’t stop crying. It was just so beautiful, and Dobby was such an innocent. RIP Dobby.
All the other deaths didn’t really affect me that much. I was never a huge fan of the twins and while it’s sad and Lupin and Tonks were killed, I was expecting something much bigger. At one stage I thought Molly would be killed (and maybe she should have for a bigger epic?) but she was spared. I also thought that one of the three would be killed, but they all survived, which was cool. I would have been gutted if Ron had died, Hermione needs to be with Ron and Harry – well… you can’t kill Harry!
I was a bit surprised at where the book took me. I had expected it to be a straight run-of-the-mill collect-the-horcruxes quest. But there was a huge tangent which was a bit odd to get my head around seeing as I was expecting something else.
Knew Snape and Dumbledore had a plan in there somehow. I felt it in my bones.
SUCH a shame that Harry wasn’t made teacher at Hogwarts at the end. I really thought he would be as it was stated over and over and over how good a teacher he was and how he really liked it. Lost opportunity there, me thinks.
In fact the whole epilogue was weird. Too many kids and too many names to have to get your head around. I loved that Harry’s son is named after two HW headmasters and that he changes his mind about Snape – he’s the most bravest wizard he knows. I cried at that bit too.

So there we go. It’s all over…

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mark (EvanWhisper05) permalink
    July 23, 2007 10:20 am

    Leaving a good comment, was too detailed not to!

    As I said, I agree the epilogue was weak. Would love to hear a bit more about the characters.. also, George.. how he managed the business and coped without Fred.. would have been nice. She did write the epilogue years ago and said herself recently you can still debate what happens after DH.. maybe it was purposefully done? I don’t like to be left guessing though, to be honest.

    The deaths that shocked me were Dobby, Hedwig, Snape and Moody. Moody simply because it happened so early on… Snape because I just didnt expect it.. I thought he’d come out as good (which he did), but would survive. He did deserve to after all. Dobby & Hedwig the most.. so unexpected. I’d considered characters but never for a moment considered these two.. may seem small but actually affected me the most.

    I cried at 2 lines, because the way she wrote them was amazing. Firstly, Fred’s death – “With the ghost of his last laugh on his face” and “Albus Severus… Severus was one of the bravest men I ever knew” – So moving considering his loathing for him all those years.

    And I dont like the last sentence in your blog. I refuse to accept it’s all over 😦 I’m in the process of re-reading at a slower pace now. Can’t believe it actually IS over.

    However, fantstic book, may become my favourite with a few more reads. JK never fails to impress me. The best chapters BY FAR were ‘Kings Cross’ and ‘The Princes Tale’. Fantasticly written.

    Mark

  2. Clair permalink
    July 23, 2007 1:12 pm

    I have never read an HP book or seen a film. I just don’t want to. Still, thanks for keeping me in touch with the zeitgeitst, Madge!

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