otherwise known as albus dumbledore

Friday was the craziest single day in the book business.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released, selling at insane rates.  WH Smiths in the UK sold 15 per second in the first day, if I remember correctly.  Chapters Rideau sold an average of 50 an hour.  50.  Each hour.  Today, we sold the last in the store, having sold around 2000 copies of this, the final book in the Saga of Harry Potter (wait, that’s the Saga of Darren Shan…), or the Chronicles of Harry Potter (nope, Chronicles of Narnia and of Prydain), or the Septilogy of Harry Potter, or the Vengeance of Voldemort: Harry Potter.  No.

The series has no name.

Nonetheless, the final book in the seven book series has been released.

So I dressed up as Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Dumbledore is my favourite character from the books.  He is the Merlin/Gandalf-esque figure in the novels whose strongest belief is in love.  He also believes in second chances and redemption, being willing to trust those whom no one else does, including werewolves and traitors.

I powdered my hair (actually, Jillian powdered it for me) and donned a resplendent wise man robe from church.  The wise men having been magi, which is the root word for magic, I felt my choice of robe was quite appropriate.  I also wore a magnificent grey beard and carried a blue wand.  Oh, and since the magus robe was open in front, I wore a blue choir robe (cassock-style) beneath.  I loved it.  Dressing up is ever so much fun!

And I made wands with kids.  Most of them didn’t care that they were made from pipe cleaners.  This is because children know the difference between fantasy and reality.  Most of the staff dressed up as well, many looking and acting their parts very well, from what I saw.

Due to the press of kids, I didn’t see much.

There was an Albus Dumbledore fan club, though.  People rather enjoyed getting their pictures taken with me, and kids would wave to me as they passed the table later in the night after having made wands with me.

And then, at 12:01, it happened.  In 25 minutes, we processed over 300 customers who had pre-ordered their books.  Boom!  Booya!

It’s hard to explain how much fun this night was.  There was a lot of energy in the air.  Pure nerd energy combined with the energy crowds get around things that are wildly popular.  I feed on nerd energy, so I was in my element.  I have very few stories because I was sitting at a table all night making wands.  But it was a good event.

Truth be told, though:

I still don’t get it.

Reasons I don’t really get the Harry Potter phenomenon:  The Chronicles of Narnia, The Chronicles of Prydain, His Dark Materials (of approximately the same vintage as Harry Potter), are all children’s fantasy and all better than Harry Potter.

Also, Roald Dahl.  Given the option, I’d reread The BFG long before rereading any of the other 6 HP books.  Or James and the Giant Peach.  Or The Vicar of Nibbleswick.  For that matter.

But I rarely understand popular phenomena (like Left Behind or The Da Vinci Code or flip flops or hip hop or that thing that crashed into the ROM).

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