Archive for Thursday, July 26, 2007

Fans line up for last Harry Potter book

July 26, 2007

His black cape floated from his shoulders as he gripped his wand in his right hand. His glasses rested on the bridge of his nose. He was Harry Potter -- at least for one night.

Jackson Gulick, 12 of Shawnee, was one of many fans who dressed up Friday night as Harry or other characters from the popular book series by J.K. Rowling. All of them were awaiting the release of the final book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" at Borders Express in Shawnee.

Between 600 and 700 fans went to its Grand Hallows Ball and joined in the several games, a costume contest and face painting, store manager B.J. McMahon said. He would not say how many books the store has sold because of corporate policy. Worldwide more than 8.3 million copies of the book were sold in the first 24 hours.

Gulick came with his dad to the store. His Harry outfit was an old Halloween costume.

The store buzzed with excitement as fans discussed their predictions for the last book.

"I think Harry will probably die," Gulick said. "It just kind of makes sense that Harry will kill Voldemort and Voldemort will kill Harry."

Although Gulick didn't start reading the books until he was about 9 or 10 years old, he is now a big fan and the books even inspired him to write.

"I've written one book so far, and I just finished it," he said. "I started it at the beginning of the year."

The 308-page book is called the "Stone of Creations" and it was inspired by the Harry Potter series as well as ancient Greece, Gulick said.

"It's about four kids discovering they have powers," he said. "One of them can shoot blue lightning out of his hands."

Eventually, Gulick hopes to make his story into a series and possibly get it published, he said.

Friday's event brought out fans of all ages, including those who grew up with the book like friends Megan Hix and Lori Lero, both 24 of Shawnee.

The first book, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," was released in the U.S. in 1998, when Hix and Lero were teenagers.

"When I first read Harry Potter I hadn't even heard of it," Hix said. "It's kind of neat to see how the characters have grown."

Themes and characters in the book have matured along with its fans, Lero said.

"They shift from very much children to very much adults," she said.

The De Soto Library received two copies of the "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," however both were picked up because there was a wait-list for the book before it was released, librarian Janine Myers said.

Nobody else asked her about the book besides those on the wait list, Myers said.

"I have a huge suspicion that the one's in this area that really wanted it are way down on the waiting list or already bought a copy," she said.

The Johnson County Library ordered 140 copies of the final book for about $3,000. Before the book's release, the waiting list had more than 600 requests, which is typical for a Harry Potter book, said Debbie McLeod, youth collections specialist.

The library also purchased 30 audio books and on compact disc and 12 on cassette.

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