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The Bewitching Hour for Harry Potter Fans at Warwick’s

By Amy Lynne Bowes

La Jolla Light

With 10 seconds to go until midnight last Friday, people in the general vicinity of Warwick’s on Girard Avenue would have heard “9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Harry Potter!”

Warwick’s transformed into the “Leaky Cauldron” for the worldwide release of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” book - the final book in the Harry Potter series.

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Elementary-aged children and grandparents alike lined the whole block of Girard Avenue to get their “muggle” hands on the last book.

Some patrons began the line at 7 p.m. to get their first peak at the newest book. Gay Ann Rogers was one of those patrons who was dressed up with her witch’s hat and sitting with her friends. “We all just love Harry Potter,” she said. “It’s a great story for all ages.” Her thoughts on the Harry Potter series echoed other patrons’, especially, 8-year-old Harry Potter look-a-like Hamilton Allport. “They should have 10 or 13 books. That would be better,” he said.

Rogers and her group of friends let Allport be first in line, because he celebrated his birthday at midnight with the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” “I really like the rescue stories,” Allport said, “My favorite book was the third one (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban).”

At 10:30 p.m. and half-a-block down the street, 9-year-old Emily Andrey waited patiently in line with her family, dressed to impress in her best Harry Potter costume, wand and all. “I’ve read all the books at least 10 times,” she said. “I’m so excited I couldn’t wait.”

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For the crowd of people, Warwick’s used a numbering system so patrons did not have to sit in line for hours. Warwick’s employee Shannon Toll, who was dressed as Moaning Myrtle, was the keeper of the 599 numbered tickets to let people in the store.

“The tickets help with crowd management and it’s something we do at all our events,” Toll said. “It helps so people can get out of line and walk around.”

Patrons waiting for the newest book had a chance to get out of line with their tickets, and at 11:45 p.m., were asked to get back in line in accordance with their number.

After patrons received tickets, many could be seen at “Madame Quill’s Scriptorium,” " The Twisted N.E.W.T. Challenge” or “Cold Stone Ice Cream Shoppe.”

Warwick’s had set up different booths in front of the store and immediate area to entertain the Harry Potter fans before being let into the “Leaky Cauldron” at midnight.

English teacher Dana West, who was still waiting to get her numbered ticket, said that she had gotten into the series shortly after the first movie came out. “I was tempted to look at spoilers, but the only thing I looked at was the New York Times review,” West said. “I’m sad to see it end.”

Many Harry Potter fans are sad to see the series end, but showed no signs while at Warwick’s release party. Everyone seemed excited to get his or her hands on the latest book.

People were dressed in witch hats, carrying sorcerer wands and had their fake Harry Potter scars to show they were every bit as excited about this last book as they were for the rest of the series.

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“It’s the most thought-inspiring book I’ve ever read,” said 16-year-old Nico D’Amico-Barbour. “J.K. Rowling takes many aspects and makes it easy for all ages to read.”

Many patrons shared D’Amico-Barbour’s thoughts.

At 11:45, Harry Potter fans started to get back in line with their numbered tickets. People driving by on Girard Avenue stopped and gawked at all the sorcerers and witches running to get in line.

The crowd starting chanting “Harry, Harry.” Then, the bewitching hour was upon the crowd, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Harry Potter! One by one, the avid fans filed into Warwick’s “Leaky Cauldron” to get his or her hands on the alleged final book.

Rumors on the Internet and word on the street insinuate that this may not be the final book from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.

“I just hope the rumors are true (about more books),” Rogers said.

Only J.K. Rowling knows.