Forget piddling around a mere few days for an iPhone. Two sisters are in the midst of an 11-day vigil for this summer's hottest, "must have"...
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Forget piddling around a mere few days for an iPhone. Two sisters are in the midst of an 11-day vigil for this summer’s hottest, “must have” low-tech phenomenon.
Chloe and Sydney Bostian started camping out Tuesday in front of Gulliver’s Books in Fairbanks to be among the first Alaskans to find out their hero’s fate in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”
The seventh and final Harry Potter novel from author J.K. Rowling will be released at midnight, July 21.
What sort of sorcery could make teenage girls live outside a bookstore for 11 days?
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“It’s just so addicting. You think you have it all figured out and then everything switches up on you,” said Chloe, 18. “It’s the big finale, and all the questions are going to be answered.”
They have reserved four copies of the book, but the wait isn’t about that. They wanted to beat their friend, Graham Tordoff, 18, to the front of the line.
“He beat me once and I’ve been in line first ever since,” Chloe said. “We’re pretty die-hard.”
The girls are living out of their parent’s camper, parked in the bookstore’s parking lot. During the day their parents — who are taking turns staying with them — move it to the customer parking area, but at night it comes right up to the store entrance — the front of the line.
To help pass time, they browse the bookstore and friends bring them food so they don’t have to leave the line. To refresh their memories, they’re planning to watch the Harry Potter movies on a laptop computer and they playing trivia games, based on Harry Potter tales, of course.
“It’s just really fun and people come by and talk to you,” said Sydney, 11. “The excitement just builds as it gets closer.”
She’s been dividing her time between playing card games, taking naps and reading.
“I’m really into Charlie Bone at the moment, so I’ve been reading that,” she said.
What happened to Harry?
“I think they’re kind of equal at the moment,” she said.
But even an occasional aside to Charlie Bone — a boy with magical powers — the girls’ loyalty to the Potter books can’t be interrupted, not even to take a few hours to go the movie theater to see the fifth film in the series, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” which opened Wednesday.
Tordoff, who has known Chloe since they were toddlers, has pre-ordered two copies of the book. He got in line after the girls and plans to be there sporadically — he has a job — until the release.
“Chloe and her sister were first, I suppose. It’s depressing,” he said, laughing. “She earned it; she’s good.”
Maria Papp, manager of Gulliver’s Books in Fairbanks, said the releases of the last Harry Potter book only drew crowds about three days before its it came out.
“They took us totally by surprise,” she said of the sisters taking up residence outside her store. “These gals will be the first ones in the door and I’m sure they’ll be pretty ready to go home by then.”
She said the store will have more than enough Potter books to go around, so there’s no need to panic.
Gulliver’s is selling the book for a 47 percent discount off the retail price. Combined with the expense of a party being held at the store the Friday night ahead the release, the store will be out about $5,000, she said, but it’s worth it.
“It’s a community event, and we just want people to be able to come here and get the book,” she said.
Publisher Scholastic Corp. is printing 12 million copies of the final installment, a series record, said spokeswoman Kyle Good. Printing has been on the rise with every book, she said, up from 50,000 copies printed on the first run of the first novel, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” There are 121.5 million copies of all the books in circulation throughout the U.S., she said.
Amazon.com Inc. said more than 2 million people worldwide have pre-ordered “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the seventh and final volume in J. K. Rowling’s series. In the United States, the Web retailer said the book has logged more than 1.2 million pre-orders, breaking the company’s record of 919,000 set by the previous installment.
At Gulliver’s, it’s the festivities that are the main attraction, Chloe said. People show up in costume — Chloe’s going as Mrs. Figg, the cat lady — and there are games, crafts, food and the occasional unicorn.
Chloe said she expected some company around the beginning of the week, and by the day before the release, the line should be wrapped around the building, judging from past releases.
“It’s just so fun to stay in line ’cause everyone gets so into it,” she said. “I’m just enjoying this because it’s my last summer before I go to college.” — — —
On the Net:
J.K. Rowling: http://www.jkrowling.com/
Scholastic Corp.: http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/home.jsp
Gulliver’s Books: http://www.gullivers-books.com/