Harry Potter release party raises money for two Cecil schools
— The Tome School and Mount Aviat Academy are Muggle schools, but that didn’t stop the Wizarding World from teaming up to help them.
Captain Blue Hen Comics on Newark’s Main Street held a party Saturday night to celebrate the release of the first new Harry Potter book in nearly a decade. Employees of the shop have kids who attend the two Cecil County private schools, so part of the proceeds from the sale of the new book will go to help buy library books for Tome and Mt. Aviat.
During the midnight release party, attendees split into teams named after the four Hogwarts houses and played Potter- themed games, like charades and Pictionary. Costumed characters from the book series entertained the crowd, and guests could sample Butterbeer and other treats.
When the clock struck midnight, customers lined up to buy their copies of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” which picks up the story 19 years after the original sevenbook series ended and follows Harry Potter’s youngest son. Rather than a traditional novel, the book is a script for a play that is currently being produced in London.
One of the customers eagerly lined up Saturday night was Jordan Seguin, of Newark, Del., who said she reread the whole series in anticipation of the new installment.
“My mom read me the books when I was little,” Seguin, now 19, said. “I feel very connected to the series.”
She said she plans to finish the new book in “a couple days, maximum,”
Eleven-year-old twins Rowan and Meriel Hurd try on the Sorting Hat while waiting for the book to go on sale.
though she noted her mom had already laid claim to reading it first. Still, Seguin was conflicted about the script, which had input from Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling but was written by British playwright Jack Thorne.
“It’s exciting to see something new come out, but it’s kind of bittersweet,” she said. “I’m worried it won’t be as good.”
Joe Murray, owner of Captain Blue Hen Comics, said he has seen interest in Harry Potter merchandise increase this summer in anticipation of the book release, but noted that the interest level doesn’t come close to that of the last couple books in the series.
“There’s still a lot of people who don’t know this is coming,” Murray said. “This one’s a different animal because it’s a script.”
Martin Mitchell attended the event with his 20- yearold son, Chris.
“It’s something we’ve been doing together since he was 6,” Mitchell said. “We’ve been here together every night a new book came out. It’s become a tradition.”
Eleven- year- old twins Rowan and Meriel Hurd were having fun trying on the Sorting Hat while waiting for the book to go on
sale. The girls said they haven’t read the previous books but had seen the movies.
“I like Harry Potter,” Meriel said. “It’s just an interesting story how everything plays out.”
Taking a break from playing Harry Potter charades, Sean Mahoney of Wilmington, Del., said he admired Rowling’s rags- toriches story.
“She was homeless and wrote the manuscript on the back of a napkin, and now she’s worth millions,” Mahoney said “It’s like, don’t ever give up.”
Friends Gail Wagner, of Middletown, Del., and Sue Sodomin, of Landenberg, Pa., came dressed as evil professor Dolores Umbridge and gossip reporter Rita Skeeter, respectively.
“It’s fun to terrorize people,” Wagner said, describing playing a character most Potter fans loathe. “They look at you and say, ‘ I hate you.’”
Both women said they became fans of the books when their kids were younger and always figured Rowling would come up with another book after the original series ended.
“It’s been with her so long, it probably became her baby and she couldn’t let it go,” Sodomin said.
Gail Wagner, dressed as evil professor Dolores Umbridge, gestures while playing charades.
Captain Blue Hen Comics employee Jason Colatriano holds the Sorting Hat during a Harry Potter release party Saturday night.