The New York Times published a review of the final Harry Potter book on Thursday before it went on sale, drawing a stinging response from author J.K. Rowling.
The review, by Michiko Kakutani, appeared in the newspaper’s online version overnight, ahead of the official release of the eagerly awaited “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” at midnight on Friday night.
Rowling, who has amassed a personal fortune from her popular tales of the boy wizard, responded in a terse statement.
“I am staggered that some American newspapers have decided to publish purported spoilers in the form of reviews in complete disregard of the wishes of literally millions of readers, particularly children,” she said.
“I am incredibly grateful to all those newspapers, booksellers and others who have chosen not to attempt to spoil Harry’s last adventure for fans,” the 41-year-old added.
Bloomsbury, which publishes Harry Potter in Britain, and Scholastic, its U.S. counterpart, spent millions of dollars protecting the contents of the novel until its publication.
But photographed pages from “Deathly Hallows,” believed to include both fake and real versions, surfaced on the Internet and this week some books were shipped to customers by a U.S. online retailer, prompting Scholastic to take legal action.
The seventh and final Harry Potter installment is expected to become the world’s fastest selling book after months of hype and speculation about its contents, including what happens to Potter and his friends at Hogwarts.
Copy purchased in NYC storeThe New York Times review said its copy was purchased from a New York City store on Wednesday.
A Bloomsbury spokeswoman called the review “very sad,” adding that there was only one more day to wait until the official release in book stores around the world. Twelve million copies of the book have been printed for the U.S. market alone.
She likened the events in the United States to the Boston Tea Party, a protest by American colonists against Britain in 1773.
“But over here it is blockades as usual, with the embargo being enforced unflinchingly and without exception by all our customers,” she said.
In a generally positive review, writer Kakutani gives away some plot details, including how many characters die and what ”deathly hallows” means, but refrains from answering the biggest questions of all.
“Ms. Rowling has fitted together the jigsaw-puzzle pieces of this long undertaking with Dickensian ingenuity and ardor,” the review said.
The first six books of the Potter story have sold 325 million copies worldwide, and five Hollywood adaptations to date have earned around $4 billion in ticket sales.