If you had asked me on any day other than today, waking up at 5am should be reserved for early morning flights, breastfeeding and the occasion the house is on fire. But that is what I did this morning – dig my sorry old body out of bed at 5am so that I could dig my daughters out of bed to shower, get dressed up, eat breakfast and head down to Bras Basah Complex and up to Popular bookstore on the 4th floor. All for one reason only: The long-awaited launch of the eighth Harry Potter book, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child at 7.01am—part of a worldwide simul-launch timed for midnight in London. 31 July is, as every Potterhead knows, Harry Potter’s birthday.
I have been a fan since the first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It was wonderful when my middle child Bethany picked up my series and began to read it and fall as much in love with it as I did. Now, my youngest child Becca is reading the series with me every night.
When Kat from Bubbamama asked me if I wanted to represent the site at the party, of course I said yes!
I dressed up as Professor McGonagall (who appears in all the HP books including this one), Bethany (Slytherin from day one) picked young Bellatrix Black (before the HP books and before she became Mrs Lestrange) and Becca dressed up as Lily Luna Potter, Harry’s daughter and youngest child.
When we arrived it was 10 minutes to 7am. A long line had already formed outside the doors—media was invited along with a When the doors opened the crowd was guided through to the games area, which was guarded by the famous “Fat Lady In A Portrait” (the Gryffindor Towers’ gatekeeper in the first 2 books and part of Book 3). One partygoer successfully guessed the password and we were all let in.
Everyone had to complete activities at four stations: the Sorting Ceremony (done Wheel of Fortune style), Quidditch Pong (no beer or butterbeer involved), Spell It Like Hermione (with words as simple as “jinx” or as difficult as “Albus Dumbledore”) and a fabulous Horcrux Hunt (find 4 Horcruxes in 15 minutes).
The games were made all the more fun by the wonderfully game and friendly staff of Popular Bras Basah, who got into character. (Our personal favourite was the Invisible Girl – a cheerful and funny Moaning Myrtle-like character who carried an “I Am Invisible” sign around.)
It was the treats table that, like Christmas in the Great Hall, drew all the oohs, aahs and camera phones. Golden Snitches (Ferrero Rocher balls with wings attached), Broomsticks, Caramel Macaroons, and sugar cookies with Hedwig and Harry Potter designs…It was like an morning at Honeydukes!
I personally appreciated the Nescafe machine thoughtfully perched next to the Butterbeer dispenser. I had a black coffee with a nice dollop of whipped cream to wake me up.
There were details to delight Potterheads, such as the Mirror of Erised and the crests of the four houses printed and mounted on the wall, and the Firebolt broom and the older model Nimbus 2000 propped casually against a bookshelf. And as we left, there was even a sexy Bellatrix calligraphing our names onto graduation scrolls! It was clear that the folks at Popular were true lovers of the Wizarding World and they knew how to throw a party!
Those who had preordered their copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and picked it up today received a dining voucher as a perk, and there were other treats for shoppers today, in celebration of this very special publishing occasion. Click HERE to see more pictures.
Harry Potter And The Cursed Child is available at Popular Bookstores. Words by Theresa Tan