A Harried Evening

Fun is the loneliest number at the Kroger on a Friday at midnight.

There aren't a lot of things that will make me leave a good house party just as it reaches its prime, but that's what I had to do last Friday night in order to procure my copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. So I was the lame one, finishing off a refreshing Vanilla Coke Zero 'n Bacardi (for the caffeine, naturally -- and for the feeling like I was 19, drinking on the sly) before heading up to the Kroger on Mockingbird Lane.

Arriving just before 11 o'clock, I encountered three dudes hanging out in the vestibule with a bunch of shopping carts. They were supervised by a cashier in a kids-sized Harry Potter costume cape and a floor manager in khakis who would later change into a full-length purple wizard robe, with sparkles.

"So, what makes three grown men come out to buy Harry Potter at midnight?" I asked.

"What would make a grown woman do the same thing?" the one in the Dragonball Z T-shirt replied. Touché, nerd boy. Turns out just one of the trio wanted the book -- the others, the one in the Hard Rock Café Bangkok T-shirt and the short one desperately trying to push out a mustache over his top lip, were just along for the ride.


I joined the boys next to the carts, hardly realizing that meant I'd technically cut in line, since I was then the closest warm body to the round tent that'd been erected for the occasion and was slowly being stocked full of boxes marked "DO NOT UPEN UNTIL JULY 21st."

"Oh, so now you're first in line?" Dragonball Z asked me. I apologized profusely and made to move behind them.

"Well, you're a lady," he said, "so ladies first." I decided the "lady" qualification was more than debatable but thought better of saying anything. For the next hour, I blatantly eavesdropped as the guys engaged various staff members in conversation.

"If I ever had to engage in hand-to-hand combat," said the partially mustachioed guy, "I would use a katana."

"Katanas are cool," conceded the cloaked cashier, "but I would definitely pick nunchucks."

Eventually the line grew to around 50 folks, and we were herded into the store near the cash registers. At the stroke of midnight, the purple-cloaked floor manager gestured to the front of the line -- me. Debit card ready, I swiped and ran from the store as fast as my platform wedges would take me, yelling "Holy shit! I have Harry!" in front of small children.

Now, let's talk about the book, shall we? Spoiler alert!

1. Of course, of course, of course Snape was innocent. You knew it. But when he tells Harry, during his last moments, "Look … at … me…," a fellow Potter-reading friend of mine believes it's because he wanted to see Lily Potter's eyes before he died. Thoughts?

2. The epilogue was as impossibly lame as an epilogue can be, neatly tying the whole thing into a little fairy tale ending wherein everyone gets to have hot sex with their mate and produce adorable children named after dead characters. I'm glad everyone ended up with their happily-ever-after, but I hope the fan fiction world ignores it and continues writing good alternatives.

3. Molly Weasley calling Bellatrix Lestrange a bitch made me let out a little "yelp!" and tear up a little bit. Also, it was freaking sweet.

4. Neville Longbottom got to fulfill his part of the prophecy -- in the end, it really turned out to be that both of the boys born at the end of the seventh month (or whatever the prophecy technically said) brought Voldemort down. This was one of the best wrap-ups Rowling put in, I thought.

Discussion officially opened. Soulless Harry detractors with no joy in their lives who will ridicule us grown-ups for enjoying such a low-brow form of entertainment can collectively eat it. --Andrea Grimes

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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