Jill Pantozzi and the Grown-Up Harry Potter Midnight Release

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Knowing what a big Harry Potter fan I am, I had to get myself to a midnight release party for J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. But this time I thought I’d try something different – the grown-up version!

Now, you know me. I like getting dressed up. I was going to wear some of my regular HP gear but then I remembered my wonderful mom gave me a surprise a few weeks ago. That purple dress? She found it at a rummage sale! And someone made it themselves, it wasn’t from a store. I wasn’t sure it was going to fit (it doesn’t have a zipper) but with a little help from my fiancé I was able to get it on and feel like a total witch.

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My good pal Victoria McNally (formerly of TMS and MTV, now at Revelist) was actually the one who found out about the party. She was going to be covering it for work and since every other one I saw was the same kind of midnight release I’d been to already, I figured why not? The night was put together by WORD Brooklyn and Hypable and held at Villain LLC in Brooklyn.

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I wasn’t sure what the crowd would be like, this was Williamsburg after all. There was a line around the corner when we arrived but the venue quickly got us all in and then I realized they underestimated how much we would all want to drink. This was the line for the bar, which was sadly understaffed at first, and that we waited on for about 45 minutes to get a drink.

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This wound up being my only drink of the night because of that but it was a good one – Butterbeer, of course!

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They also had Quidditch pong set up but I don’t think anyone was playing it correctly…

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Here I am trying to save some memories of the evening…

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Just after midnight, the folks from WORD started giving out the new book. Considering how many people were in attendance, they go through us all pretty fast. I wasn’t sure what everyone else was going to do but I was ready to get home immediately and start reading. Turns out most of the other fans there had the same idea.

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Overall it was a good event but not quite what I expected. While there were fans in costume, there weren’t nearly as many as them as I thought there would be. It was also a very club-like atmosphere inside and while some of my group thought this was odd, I wonder if it’s just what everyone else there wanted (I would have been happy listening to the movie soundtrack for two hours). While it was a 21+ event, a few small children showed up with their guardians, which was also a bit strange considering the atmosphere.

I think I’d like to go to another grown-up HP release party but maybe I should organize one next time?

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  • ABR

    Ummm I couldn’t comment on Hitfix since the page is Facebook comments only (WTF?) but I don’t understand how there’s remotely a question of why the sales are lower than Deathly Hallows. I’m not only a huge Harry Potter fan, I straight-up worked a release party, and I still didn’t buy a copy, because the early rumors I’d heard were weird, and because of the point you gloss over pretty quickly in your post – it’s not written by JK Rowling. It’s fanfiction, and everyone knows it’s fanfiction – author inspired and approved fanfiction, which yeah, definitely makes it much more of a big deal – but fanfiction nonetheless. Even if it wasn’t in script format, much less a rehearsal edition, and even if it was a conclusion or continuation rather than a spinoff, the turn-out still couldn’t compare.
    The opening I worked was in a college town so of course it had a pretty solid turnout (sold half the copies we got in on the night of), but among most of the HP nerds I know, trepidation was a much stronger emotion than excitement. This isn’t Star Wars, where the universe has moved passed its auteur’s voice and it’s about the universe and potential storytelling, and it’s not James Bond either where the storytelling torch can be passed, it’s definitively Rowling’s world. Maybe that’ll change, but I really don’t think I’m in the minority when it comes to having quite limited interest in that possibility, no matter how much I love the universe. It’d take a hell of a storyteller to break it open in that way.

    • There’s FB comments on HitFix Harpy to ward off the really bad trolls. Sorry!

      I didn’t spend too much time on the not writte by JK thing because it was based on her story. For me anyway, that was still good enough to give it the seal of approval. I’m sure she would have said no to things she felt were really wrong, you know?

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

  • Wheelchair

    A college town near me had a Potter-themed street fair for the midnight release. They decorated the place to look like Diagon Alley and had a live music and a scavenger hunt for kids and a great costume contest–there was an older guy who used a wheelchair and slipcover to dress up as couch!Slughorn with just his head sticking out. Waited in line two hours to get my copy, but it was still tons of fun!

  • You look really swank!

  • lev36

    Jill, that dress is so fabulous!!!

  • I previously commented on the free-for-all Speak Nerd page, but was FORCED (yes, FORCED) to come here and repeat myself. Against my will. Subjugated. By a tyrant. A mean one. Or, like the daaark vampyyyre I merely needed the invitation. Muhoohoohwah. Are there vampires in Harry Potter? I don’t remember seeing any.

    So, there was no big event like this close to home but I got the same sense that the midnight release was a bit of a poorer showing than everyone planned. I’m assuming this is because the core audience has grown up into reasonable adults who manage their time better.

    I mean, not me. I don’t manage my time well at all. Midnight releases? My jam.

    Except…this time I was a bit turned off. Because of the “Rehearsal” part of “Rehearsal Edition”. And yet…the morning after, I couldn’t help myself. So, I’m reading it along with (well, lagging behind) you and I’m so far as transfixed as before. Which makes me sad, somewhat, to be invited back into the world at such a bleak ass moment in all of the character’s lives. Why is the book so far so sad? I am sad too. Book, why this?

    Now that I look back at my Speak Nerd comment, I suspect that Jill just wanted to read another comment where someone fawned over her hair, which isn’t fair at all because it would be impossible NOT to fawn, that is a SUPERB quaff. The dress is perfectly in line with the evening and you look like you’re having more fun than any ten other people. I’m extremely jealous.

    • There’s a vampire in Half-Blood Prince.

      Also, I shaved my head yesterday.

      • Ahaha, really? I shaved my head once in college…took three hours. Whole head looked cherry red for a couple days. Will there be pictures of your new Furiosa look?

        Don’t remember the vampire. To Wikipedia!

        • Yeah pictures eventually. I’m still getting used to it. I don’t hate it but I don’t love it like I thought I would. So I’m gonna grow it right back to what I have in these pictures but glad I did it for the experience.

          • That’s how I felt. A few days in, suddenly instead of being incredibly smooth, it feels like you have that sort of…de-slicking tub or glove material on your head, like it’s all rough…I kind of liked that. But…cold water, a cold breeze, all of it was kind of offputting. Plus I looked like a big angry baby.

      • Wheelchair

        **insert Professor X joke here**