Harry Potter and the Powell's release party

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The camera chose to run out of battery power the moment I took it out and turned it on, but I have captured this mental slideshow:

There was a guy on the train heading downtown carrying an urban gangsta chic backpack. Then I happened to spot the maker's label and it was Sanrio. Sanrio??

When I got to the City of Books at 10:40 or so, the line had already filled up Couch between 10th and 11th, and continued around onto 10th and then Burnside. I joined it halfway along the Gold Room.

Across the street was a club with its own crowd waiting to get in. At one point a car full of eager young clubbers pulled up to the witch with the light toy who was signalling the end of our line to ask her something. I'll never know for sure, but I thought they were under the impression that a line this long had to be leading to a really hot dance club.

As the line got moving, a guy came walking along the 11th yelling out spoilers to the crowd. Sadly, when he didn't look where he was going and wandered into traffic, he was not quite hit by a car.

The recommended age group provided maybe 20% of the people who were in line.

Brought The Fall of the Towers to read. Finished it about 15 minutes from entering the store.

The entrance to the Orange Room had signs up reading "Platform 9 3/4", and a guy in a conductor suit for added color. Inside, there were a Dumbledore and a Fawkes available for taking pictures with, which no one was doing, because, hey, they had a book to read.

Though, oddly, I was the only one in the room who started reading it while in the line to the cashiers.

I emerged around 1:20. The tail end of the line looked like it had only made it around to Couch a few minutes before.

The next day I spent traveling to Anaheim. There were fewer people reading Half-Blood Prince at the airport than I thought there would be, but being in visible possession of a copy made me an object of great public curiosity. "Is that the new Harry Potter book?" people would ask me. "Is it good?" others wanted to know. On the plane, the flight attendants had me tagged as "the speed-reader" when I let slip that I'd already finished it. The taxicab driver in Anaheim didn't read the series, but wanted to get straight the name of the main character and which number it was and that yes, these were the books with the wizards in them.

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