Across the United States and around the world last night, Harry Potter fans lined up to party and to purchase at midnight the seventh and last of the series written by J.K. Rowling. Revelers by 9 p.m. filled to capacity the Union Square Barnes and Noble in New York, which closed its doors. That didn't stop more fans dressed as Harrys, Hermiones, and Dumbledores from waiting outside, where police directed traffic, set up gates for those in line, and ordered everyone not in line to move along.
By 10:30 the line stretched around the building in both directions on three sides of the block. Some fans wore blue paper bands around their wrists, showing they had pre-ordered Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows. Costumes ranged from the simple-a pair of Harry glasses or a wizard's hat-to the inspired. Two fourteen-year-olds, Theodora Pajaczkowska and Charlotte Ahlin, mocked up front pages of The Quibbler and The Daily Prophet, the two newspapers in the Potter books. Where a photo would have appeared, they cut holes the size of their faces.
Inside the store, fans could see live owls, get their fortunes told, make a wand, have their faces painted, or listen to Jim Dale, the voice of the Harry Potter audio books. Outside, the crowd entertained itself. When a violently-purple "Knight Bus" passed by, with Harry Potter purportedly sleeping inside, cheers erupted.
One family, waiting since 9:00, stood in line together outside the store. The gray-bearded Bob Goddard, dressed as Professor Dumbledore, was resplendent in a scarlet cape and a plush royal blue hat. Rosemary Heath played the part of Professor McGonegal in a flowing green cape, and 18-year-old Rachel Goddard wore a striped tie and a black robe appliqued with the Hogwarts emblem. Rachel, a sophomore at Bryn Mawr College, used her college robe for her costume.
Rosemary said their 13-year-old child was too embarrassed to come: "The good part about getting to be 50 is you don't care anymore."
-with reporting by Alisa Harris and Allie Cook