Harry Potter returns, fans make a beeline for copy | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Harry Potter returns, fans make a beeline for copy

Crossword offered free butter beer, sorting hat cupcakes and lightning scar cookies with every purchase. The Landmark store in Vashi hosted a magic show and handed out free Harry Potter bags and stationery.

mumbai Updated: Aug 01, 2016 01:28 IST
Anesha George
Fans gather at a Pedder Road book store for the launch of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Sunday.
Fans gather at a Pedder Road book store for the launch of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Sunday. (Satish Bate/HT Photo)

Alohomora’ he said, ‘Accio Books’ he tried again. But, nothing could make Crossword open its doors for die-hard Potterhead Rishi Redkar, 24, who had been waiting outside the bookstore at Kemp’s Corner since 7.45 am.

“I knew they would let us in only after 11 am, but I just had to be the first one to get a copy, even if it meant standing in line for three hours, amid the fury of the rain gods,” said the young businessman. Sure enough he was the first to get a copy, and described the experience as ‘truly exhilarating’.

As the eighth book in the franchise, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, hit bookshelves on Sunday morning, fans of all ages in pointy hats, flowing cloaks and Gryffindor sweaters poured into bookstores.

It had, after all, been nine years since ...Deathly Hallows. For some, the long wait had muted the anticipation; for the ardent fans, it had only been heightened.

It was to the latter that bookstores across the city were reaching out on Sunday. Crossword offered free butter beer, sorting hat cupcakes and lightning scar cookies with every purchase. The Landmark store in Vashi hosted a magic show and handed out free Harry Potter bags and stationery.

And the Trilogy bookstore in Lower Parel had so many takers for its Sunday Potter party — which included a best costume contest, quiz and special reading — that it had to turn its single event into four events over Sunday and next weekend.

Harry Potter fans dress up like the characters in the book at the launch at Trilogy Library, Lower Parel, in Mumbai, on Sunday. (Vidya Subramanian/HT photo)

...The Cursed Child features a much-older Harry as a Ministry of Magic employee and father of three struggling to help his youngest son, Albus, cope with the family’s dark past.

Many of the young adults celebrating the release had grown up with the series themselves and swapped stories of their earliest encounters with the orphaned wizard prodigy.

“I remember how I truly hoped on every birthday that I would be the chosen one and Hagrid would come calling at my doorstep,” said college student Vedang Narain, 21, from Worli, who incidentally bears a strong resemblance to Harry and turned up at Crossword in identical spectacles and a red-and-yellow Gryffindor muffler and green sweater.

Harry Potter fans with a copy of new book at theTrilogy Library, Lower Parel, in Mumbai, on Sunday. (Vidya Subramanian/HT photo)

While some eager readers immediately hunched over their copies at Crossword, sipping their free butter beer as they read, others tried to prove their fandom at the trivia quiz. “I really know my spells and charms well and can mouth an unforgivable curse at the tip of a hat,” said a grinning Yash Gupta, 16, after he won.

Meanwhile, at the Trilogy afternoon event for kids, the fans were all under 15, practicing their Patronus charms and playing Potter-themed games with parents who seemed to be enjoying themselves equally.

“I am here with my 10-year-old daughter, Nyasa, and I am as excited about the launch as her. I love the fact that Harry Potter has inculcated a love of reading in so many children,” said Subir Agrawal, 42, an Andheri-based software engineer.

Among the youngest kids there was Prisha Shah, 8, who has read all seven previous instalments.

“Both Prisha and her elder sister Ria are voracious readers, and Harry Potter is one of the reasons the younger one is so hooked to books,” said their father, Vishal Shah, 42, a businessman from Gamdevi.

Not everyone was buying one copy. The Charis from Vashi, for instance, bought three. “I am here with my wife and two sons aged 12 and 10 because we are huge fans of the series as a family. We bought three copies to avoid squabbling over the book,” said training executive and dad Shantenu Chari, 40.

By the end of day, Crossword had sold an estimated 4,500 books at its 17 stores across the city; Landmark sold over 400 copies; and delivery service Scootsy, which had tied up with distributors to send out the first batch of pre-orders, had distributed over approximately 1,500 copies of the book.