Welcome to The Marauders a monthly feature hosted by three bookish friends: Scales aka Elizabeth from BookYABBER, Pooka aka Marci at The Plot Bunny and Embers aka Nicole from Nicole’s Novel Reads. We seek to share with you, our unique outings, bookish exploits, and favorite haunts. Together we aspire to always live by our motto: “Mischief Managed”.
Welcome to a very special Marauders, done in celebration of the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Nicole, Elizabeth and I have been looking forward to the release of this script for many months now. Elizabeth actually never had the opportunity to participate in the infamous “midnight party” book releases and Nicole and I were eager to share in this right of passage that should be experienced at least once by all Potterheads.
We eagerly waited for details on all the Harry Potter midnight parties bookstores were planning all over our area and once we discussing the pros and cons of each, we opted to attend at one of our favorite independent bookstores The Harvard Bookstore in Harvard Sq. Cambridge, MA. It helped that they were not only going to be doing various activities that night but also that they offered a 20% discount for customers who pre-ordered Harry Potter and the Cursed Child online. We placed our orders asap and then we waited…and waited and waited…and finally July 30th, 2016 arrived!
We opted to have dinner as close to the bookstore as possible because we wanted to make sure we could start forming a line as soon as they would let us. We decided to stop by John Harvard’s pub for some cool libations and yummy dinner. As we were getting ready to meet up, our friend Rachel told us she was going to be hanging around with her friend Anna and we all ended up meeting at the restaurant to have dinner together, which was nice because it is always a pleasure to catch up with Rachel, and we got to make a new friend too.
I have to say the cocktail Nicole and I both had “Lady Grey” was really delicious. It was made with Hendrick’s gin, earl grey syrup, and lemon juice. I asked them to add a little bit of St. Germain Elderflower liqueur and it was divine! I ordered something called Calabash, which was cornmeal battered shrimp and scallops with fries. It was pretty good, but they definitely skimped on the actual seafood and made more the dinner fries (so yeah…not trying that again). Nicole and Anna got the same dish which was Butternut squash ravioli and Nicole said it was delicious. Rachel got the halibut and Elizabeth got what looked like really creamy mac&cheese (it was a really big portion too). It was nice to hang out, but Rachel and Anna had to head over to another bookstore so we finished up said our goodbyes and parted ways.
Walking through Harvard Sq. felt a bit different from 7 years ago at the release of Deathly Hollows. 7 years ago I was dressed in a Bellatrix cosplay and there was a lot more people dressed up. Wizards and witches were all around and they definitely outnumbered all the muggles. There were various activities happening in Harvard Sq. then too, which included a concert (Harry and the Potters and Draco & the Malfoys). The streets in the center eventually had to be closed down due to all the people. This time around there it was definitely quieter. There were some people dressed up, definitely lots of kids with their parents and they were all mostly in costume or at least house colors. We didn’t dress up, but I wore my Slytherin shirt, and Elizabeth had her Slytherin scarf and bow. Nicole wore her HP alliance t-shirt which was blue (she’s a Ravenclaw) so we were representing, just in a more toned down manner.
After we left the restaurant we went straight over to The Harvard bookstore, and amazingly at 8:30pm there wasn’t even a line formed yet so we got to be first! It was EARLY! Check-in was not going to start until 10pm, but we did not want to lose our place. So we decided we were going to wait it out. Soon more and more people started to line up behind us and soon the line was already a few blocks down the street. We decided that we needed Butterbeer to make this waiting around more tolerable, so Elizabeth and Nicole went off to Starbucks for Butterbeer frappuccinos and I held our prized spot.
Holy Moly! Those Butterbeer frappuccinos were so yummy, a bit sweet but still very good. Nicole had them put Bellatrix on my cup…::squueeee::
Besides the Harvard Bookstore, a few other places were doing special events. There was a showing of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, a magic show, and many of the bars and restaurants in the area were doing themed drinks and menus. I loved that the In and Out News stand in Harvard Square actually had Hogwarts Square tapped over where it usually says Harvard Square. The air was filled with anticipation, and thankfully the weather wasn’t blazing hot, or muggy. When 10pm came around, the staffers at the bookstore finally started to set up the check-in table and we got our “golden ticket” with the position number of where we would be getting back in line at around 11:30pm. We got 3, 4 and 5 because they reserved 2 for a staffer/news person and 1 was given to a lucky little boy that won the contest they were hosting. Also, the first 50 people in line got to stay in the bookstore and party, which everyone else had to wait outside in line.
Once we got our tickets we took a stroll inside the store and were greeted with aisles and aisle of books, and lovely the Harry Potter musical score playing. Each of the houses were divided between two floors. The first floor housed Gryffindor and Ravenclaw, and the basement housed Slytherin (how appropriate) and Hufflepuff. Each house had drinks and treats for when you arrived to hang out and were decorated with the banners and house colors. The store had a Harry Potter book trivia game sheet for us to fill out and enter to win Harry Potter themed prizes and a “Count the Snitches” scavenger hunt (they were hidden all over the store) too.
We did all our activities and decided to make a bathroom run at Starbucks (this bookstore does not have bathrooms) before the 11:30pm line up started. We arrived back at the bookstore around 11:15pm and they were about to start some type of improv theater thing (which was actually pretty awful…sorry…but it was). It also was running late and there were far too many people in the store still. Thankfully whoever the improv group was finished and they asked everyone that was not number 1-50 to leave the store. FINALLY, I can breathe and move around again. One of the staffers announced that it was time to start the lineup and everyone was super giddy as we watched them pull the books from the tapped off special area. (There was even a sign with a strong warning). It was really exciting and finally they started a countdown.
By 12:04am we had Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in our hands and we were so very happy. It was sort of a whirlwind, but I must say that the Harvard Bookstore did a great job organizing and keeping the line moving. Overall we had a fabulous time together and it was really magical to share this experience with Nicole and Elizabeth. Hopefully the next major Harry Potter related event we attend together will be a screening of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and one day we’ll also actually see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on the stage. That would be truly magic.
We hoped you enjoyed our recap and outing for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Did you attend any of the midnight parties for the release? Have you finished reading it yet? Please remember to #KeepTheSecrets and NO SPOILERS if you decide to leave a comment below. Let’s chat!