It's a 'Harry' situation

Diane Sullivan and Jennifer Roberts discuss their favorite characters from “Harry Potter” books as they refresh their memories for the fifth book. - Susan Mador
Diane Sullivan and Jennifer Roberts discuss their favorite characters from “Harry Potter” books as they refresh their memories for the fifth book.
— image credit: Susan Mador

This weekend promises to be magical for many people. It’s summer solstice — the longest day of the year. School is out. Squadrons have returned. And “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” goes on sale.

The fifth book in a promised seven by J.K. Rowling has set sales records even before its official release. At 870 pages, the latest book in the spellbinding series will provide weeks of beach-blanket reading as people follow the boy wizard and his classmates Ron and Hermoine at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry somewhere in England.

In Oak Harbor, the book goes on sale at one minute past midnight at Wind and Tide Bookshop.

“For the fourth ‘Harry’ book, we opened earlier than usual,” owner Diane Sullivan said.

The response for “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” was so great, Sullivan decided to open at midnight for the fifth Harry book. At the witching hour, Lucius Malfoy, the evil father of Harry’s nemesis Draco Malfoy, may deign to apparate for a special appearance. The store will open for business as usual at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Sullivan and Jennifer Roberts said they have never seen such an interest in a children’s book until Harry Potter came along. And since the series began, with “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” they’ve seen an upswing in children reading.

“It’s not just Harry Potter,” Sullivan said. “Kids are finding books of all types.”

“So many kids weren’t reading before Harry came out,” Roberts said. “Now they read everything.”

The long-time booksellers wonder if Harry Potter will stand the test of time and remain popular 20 years from now. Of course, they add that J.K. Rowling may still be working on the last book then.

Sullivan won’t reveal how many copies of the book she ordered but does admit it’s a lot. Several customers have ordered multiple copies to circumvent wizard duels between family mmbers. There will be plenty of books; those who didn’t pre-order won’t have to resort to hexes or jinxes to get a copy. Don’t even think about crying “Accio,” as a summoning spell, Sullivan said. Copies of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” are under lock and key, as safe as if they were under Diagon Alley in Gringotts’ Bank.

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