A uniting factor among many millennials today is a young boy with a curious scar: Harry Potter. Dubbed the “Potter generation”, many of us have had the opportunity of experiencing the sheer euphoria at getting our hands on one of the coveted books – and promptly scrambling home, lest a Pettigrew spoil the ending. J.K. Rowling has thrown a bone, so to speak, to her fans after nine long years with the release of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts I and II”, a special rehearsal edition of the script used for the two-part play with the same name currently running in London.
I could not even remember when I had pre-ordered “Cursed Child” – it was that long ago (after a glance at my receipt, it was in May). I felt giddy with excitement because I had always felt like a cheat. For being such a great Harry Potter fan, I had never been to the midnight book releases. As a girl in my early teens, I was too embarrassed to be seen with my parents, so naturally I had the books pre-ordered to my house. This time, I would get to live out my dream of truly experiencing what being a Potterhead would be like.
Harvard Square would be turned into “Hogwarts Square” for the night. Restaurants in and around the area would serve special treats to guests. One of the movies from the franchise would be shown in the open air.
My friend and I set off in search of the bus stop. We were unsure of its location until we saw a young, frizzy-haired woman in Gryffindor robes waiting on a street corner.
It turns out her grandmother had hand-sewn the robes, an impressive feat considering the actual Harry Potter merchandise did not look half as nice. She was also headed to Harvard Square for the festivities. We discussed the things we had heard about the book at length. How would the script form affect the prose we know and love? Would the story stick to the canon?
The bus ride across the river was short, and our search for Potterheads was even shorter. We found the open air theater after a few minutes of walking. There were so many people that some had taken to watching the screen from the back – a hazy view, but one that guaranteed open seats.
We sat among the diverse audience members. A mother and daughter giggling away at young Ron’s actions. A father gamely propping his daughter up so she could see the screen. A group of four friends murmuring the characters’ lines. A proud audience drowning the sound out with their applause when Harry finally caught the snitch.
Content aside, the Harry Potter series is magical for its ability to capture the intrigue of so many different people. A poster was set aside for fans to write what the series meant to them. Someone wrote “I love Hermione! She’s a hero, too! Smart girls rock,” while a different message from 7-year-old Thea said, “I want to go to Hogwarts when I am 11.”
We then took off for Porter Square Books, where I would eventually get the prized script book.
The line to get into the crowded bookstore wrapped around the corner unsurprisingly. Once we got to the front of the line, they checked our names off the extensive list of pre-orders and handed us the “house” we would receive our book at. It was a smart organizational tactic, though I was unhappy to get a yellow Hufflepuff card.
Adults, teens, children and families lined the store. Some were filling out trivia questions (the Hard questions proved to be too much for my friend and I) while others were sampling “Harry Potter” themed food and drink.
We made our way to the back of the bookstore where a costume contest was taking place. While I thought my hand-drawn Dark Mark was impressive, these people took dressing up to another level. There was a woman dressed as Hagrid with a large beard, “Harry Potter” pants, a lantern and other outlandish items. Another woman was dressed in various shades of green, from the tassels hanging out of her blonde hair to the leaves adorning her skirt – we assumed she was the physical incarnation of Slytherin. The only other one that stuck out to me was this shy, little girl – she couldn’t have been more than 11-years-old. She had dressed as Harry Potter, complete with the lightning scar and Gryffindor robes.
You already know she won the costume contest.
As the announcer coaxed her to stand on a chair for all to admire her costume, the audience was deafening with their applause. The mousy girl cracked a small smile as it was revealed that she would be the first to get a “Cursed Child” book.
The spirit and camaraderie among the crowd never really died. In one corner, two Luna Lovegoods were discussing the merits of their costumes while a group of Slytherins in a another were jokingly discussing cheating on the trivia.
The minute before midnight, the crowd began to chant the seconds to the official release of the “Cursed Child” book.
Some jokingly shouted “happy New Year” into the air while other whooped and hollered in excitement. There was an air of something new, of something exciting.
The fun of these events is not solely centered on getting the book; it’s meeting people who share the same passion and dedication to something that has come to define a generation.