Double, double, toil and trouble.

Yes, I took the kids to the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows release party. How could I not? Previous generations have camped out for concerts, or movies. When's the last time a book generated this kind of enthusiasm? And is it likely to ever happen again?

We arrived around 9 PM. We stayed until 2:30 getting the book. There was a lot of waiting, some fun, some friends, and some trouble.

There were lots of cosplayers, including my kids. They've been carving their own wands for months now. At the last minute, they decided to invite their friend, who took off her shoes to cosplay as Luna. Not the best costumes in the world, but at least they were in the spirit.

Andromeda Black and Moaning Myrtle

We met some friends there. They really enjoy cosplaying, and they've done some seriously wonderful costumes in the past. They're always just a little quirky, too; at our violin concert at the zoo, for instance, they came as Dark Link and trash. They won best costume for the trash costume, which was not only highly original, but also exhorted the guests to clean up their trash for the animals' safety.

The elder sister came as Andromeda Black, which I considered brilliant, since we haven't met her yet; therefore she had the perfect resemblance. The younger sister came as Moaning Myrtle; in my opinion, the best costume at the party, Unfortunately, she didn't even get picked to participate at the contest. I think it was deliberate, since she obviously would have won.


The friend we brought did get picked. My daughters thought she was a perfect double. I disagree; her hair is too straight. She fits the description in the book accurately enough, but she's a far cry from the movie actress. Ah, well.

The Coven

I got them all to pose together.

The place was amazingly hectic. There were activities for the kids, but it was mostly too many people in a confined space. I took the opportunity to read Avril Lavigne's two-part manga. (Hey, I'm stuck in the bookstore, what did you expect?) Interesting enough, although I'm glad I didn't pay for it. Too much Avril.

The kids were "dueling" in the kids' section. There was a taped area on the floor, and prospective wizards would shout at each other. You could hear it clear across the store, despite the background roar. After the show, the kids told me that some brat tried to tease them about their homemade wands. Now personally, I like these wands a lot; one is a gnarled, gray, druidic tree branch, while the other is curved and elegant. He had a store-bought plastic wand that lit up when you shook it. He started by criticizing my kids' wands, then moved on to their dueling ability. My kids were having none of it. Unfortunately, their skills in the insult are only marginally better than, "Oh, yeah?"

At least he bragged about his dueling skill, then lost in one round to a younger opponent. His wand didn't work during the duels, either. They didn't have to worry about him any more. But I wish I had been there, at least to whisper in their ears. Some immediate retorts came to mind: "Mine is wormwood with a dragon-scale core. What's yours? Looks like cheap plastic surrounding lame?" Or how about, "I'm apprenticed to Ollivander; he's approved of my apprentice works. Your wand is impressive, though; I'll bet you had to walk all the way to WalMart to find something of that quality."

I just hate it when people try to ruin the fun.

Anyway. Besides that minor indcident, and a few problems finding the kids among the throng (Parent Panic!), it was a lot of fun. We even met some adult friends there (Hi, Missy!)

Until 1PM or so. Everything had shut down except the registers. We were all waiting around for our turn to stand in line. The kids were tired and cranky. I tried to keep the awake and entertained with a game of Slaps. Then we switched to snatching coins from each other. We tried to spice that up by putting conditions on the snatch, like "only the ones that are heads-up".

I was happy to finally get back home. I was off my game for the next two days, but it was an experience that my kids will remember forever.