By Tony Gutierrez and Casey Peacock: Freedom Newspapers
Local bookstores threw parties Friday night to mark the launch of J.K. Rowling’s seventh and final installment of the Harry Potter book series, with many residents anxiously awaiting its release.
Managers of Hastings in Clovis and Barnes and Noble in Portales invited local fans to wait with them until 12:01 a.m. today when they could begin selling “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”
“We have it in stock. We just can’t prep it or sell it until (Saturday),” Hastings book manager Jeremy Gardels said Thursday. “We have a lot of reserves.”
Gardels said he expected more than 100 people to show up Friday night dressed in costume for a release party. Hastings also hosted an event for previous Potter books.
“Last time we had that much and this is the last one,” Gardels said. “This one is even bigger. We went all out to create a party atmosphere.”
The party at Hastings included a costume contest, where contestants dressed up as a character from the books and the winner received a free copy of the newest one.
The party also included “kid-friendly butter beer,” homemade candy such as chocolate wands and frogs, and two big-screen TVs, one with movies and the other with video games.
Barnes and Noble in Portales held a party from 10 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m. today that included games, treats and movies.
Tucumcari High School sophomore Matthew Trujillo said he wasn’t a Harry Potter fan until he saw the movies. He is currently reading the sixth book in the series, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.”
“It’s just an addicting book with the adventures they go through and all the magic,” Matthew said.
Tate Eppler, a fifth-grader at Mesa Elementary School in Clovis, said he likes the books because of the characters Harry and Lord Voldemort, the series’ antagonist. Tate planned to attend the costume party at Hastings.
“I was going to dress up as Lord Voldemort, but now I’m going to dress up as Harry Potter,” Tate said. “I already got glasses. I’m just doing the Quidditch (a magical sport in the series).”
Nicole Dickson, who will be a senior at Eastern New Mexico University in the fall, has bought the books as soon as they hit the shelves.
She became a fan of the boy wizard her sophomore year in high school. Attending school in Monahans, Texas, she was against reading the books at first. After being required to read them for a high school class, she became hooked and has been a big fan since, she said.
“I think it’s something that everybody can relate to,” Dickson said of the Harry Potter books. “I think a lot of us have grown up with Harry Potter.”
When the movie “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” opened July 13, Dickson had had tickets for three weeks. She’s already seen it twice, she said.
“The movie was a lot darker than the other movies,” Dickson said.
Though she enjoyed it, she felt it left a few things out that were in the book, she said.
“It’s hard to cram an 800-page book into two and one-half hours,” Dickson said.
She has several items of Potter memorabilia. Dickson also has two Beta fish, one that she named Ron and the other Malfoy, after characters in the books, she said.
“I think Harry’s the type of character we can relate to,” Dickson said.
She feels many people can relate to Harry Potter, he being the underdog and the whole concept of good versus evil. The story also allows for a chance to escape the reality of everyday life for a little bit, Dickson said.
“I think it’s good that it’s coming to an end,” she said. “(It’ll be) definitely a relief to not wait any more.”