New Harry Pot­ter book stirs up nos­tal­gia for many fans

Newark Post - - Local News - By JOSH SHAN­NON jshan­non@ches­pub.com

Wizards, witches and Mug­gles alike de­scended on Cap­tain Blue Hen Comics on Satur­day night for the re­lease of the first new Harry Pot­ter book in nearly a decade.

Dur­ing the mid­night re­lease party at the Main Street store, 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 seven-book 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, 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,” 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 an­tic- ipa­tion 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.”

The party also had a char­i­ta­ble mis­sion, he said, not­ing that part of the pro­ceeds from the sale of the books will go to buy library books for three lo­cal schools.

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, said he ad­mired Rowl­ing’s rags-to-riches 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, 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 young- er 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.

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.”

NEWARK POST PHOTO BY JOSH SHAN­NON

Sue Sodomin, of Lan­den­berg, Pa., and Gail Wag­ner, of Mid­dle­town, por­tray gos­sip re­porter Rita Skeeter and evil pro­fes­sor Dolores Um­bridge.

NEWARK POST PHOTO BY JOSH SHAN­NON

Eleven-year-old twins Rowan and Meriel Hurd try on the Sort­ing Hat while wait­ing for the new­est Harry Pot­ter book to go on sale at Cap­tain Blue Hen Comics on Sun­day morn­ing.

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