Last night, I was lucky enough to attend the midnight book release party for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" in Edinburgh, Scotland, the place where J.K. Rowling "birthed" the famous wizard and his magical word. My official report is here, but I thought I'd share a few more random stories from the event:
Nina Jones, Elizabeth Thacker and Alice Langley got up at 4 a.m. in order to be first in line at the West End Waterstone's book store, but that's not the craziest thing they've done for Harry Potter. For Nina's 17th birthday, Elizabeth and Alice recorded the first sixth books on tape. The endeavor took two full months.
J.K. Rowling finished the last chapter of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" at the five-star Balmoral hotel, commemorating the event by scribbling "JK Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in this room (652) on 11th Jan 2007” on the back of a marble bust. The occupant of Room 652 last night: Jeannie Barresi (left), managing director of Beyond Boundaries which runs HP fan trips.
I thought it was funny that sisters Violetta and Adrianna Solowiej (far left) came all the way from Norway to be in J.K. Rowling's city, but only bought one copy of "Deathly Hallows" between to the two of them. They laughed when I pointed that out, but already had a plan: Adrianna would stay up all nght and read; Violetta planned to sleep and start the book in the morning.
I walked past the shelves of Harry Potter books several times without realizing what they were. I had forgotten that the Bloomsbury editions have different covers. Scholastic is the publisher of Harry Potter books in the States.
Harry Potter looks much older on Bloomsbury's "children's" edition cover of "Deathly Hallows"....
....there is also an "adult" cover.
You always hear about aggressive British photographers...I just never expected to see them dueling with each other at a release of a children's book.
The two owls were surprisingly well behaved during the event. They barely flinched as children pet them throughout the evening.
For more Harry Potter news, check out our special Harry Potter section. Tune in to TODAY on Thursday, 7/26, and Friday 7/27, and to the special one-hour Dateline on Sunday, 7/29 for the exclusive interview with J.K. Rowling.