Faster than a turbo-powered broomstick, it’s time for Harry Potter to fly off the shelves.
“It was nearing midnight and the prime minister was sitting alone in his office,” begins the book, the sixth instalment of the boy wizard’s adventures.
Bookstores across Britain flung open their doors at a minute past midnight today (0431 IST) to admit hordes of would-be witches, warlocks and ordinary muggles–Potter-speak for non-magical humans–eager to get their hands on ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’, the latest volume of the boy wizard’s adventures. Shops as far afield as Singapore and Australia put the book on sale at the same time.
In Edinburgh, Scotland, author J K Rowling emerged from behind a secret panel inside the city’s medieval castle to read an excerpt from the sixth chapter to a spellbound group of 70 children from around the world.
Millions of Harry’s fans around the globe can now solve the mysteries that have been teasingly hinted at by Rowling for months: Will Harry’s teenage friends Ron and Hermione find romance? Which major character will die? Who is the half-blood prince?
“You get a lot of answers in this book,” Rowling said as she arrived at the castle. “I can’t wait for everyone to read it.”
Pottermania has become publishing’s most lucrative, frantic and joyous ritual: hundreds of British bookstores held midnight openings to sell copies of the sixth instalment of the boy wizard’s adventures. North American stores were due to follow at midnight EDT (0930 IST), with many holding readings, parties and performances for the impatient hordes.