The first time I went to the midnight release of a book–any book–was when Order of the Phoenix came out before my junior year of high school.
The concept of a midnight release was new to me and it seemed magical. The bookworm and nerd in me were both very happy. I don’t remember why exactly, but for some reason none of my friends were able to go to the release. Maybe we didn’t plan anything. Maybe none of us anticipated just how big of a deal it would become.
Whatever the reason, I was on my own for this first midnight release. Almost. My younger sister, Laura, wanted to go too. But there was only one problem: I didn’t have my driver’s license yet. I was only a few weeks out from being able to take my test, so I couldn’t just go with my sister.
A few crucial facts about my mom:
1) She’s not big on crowds, and there were bound to be crowds at Media Play, which was where Laura and I had reserved our copies of the book.
2) She’s not big on waiting in lines, at least as far as I can ever tell.
3) She’s not big on being up and out late–she’s more of a fall-asleep-on-the-couch-watching-TV kind of person.
4) She’s not–NOT–into Harry Potter.
So all things considered, I was more than a little surprised Laura and I managed to convince her to go with us. It may have had something to do with the fact I needed more night driving experience with my temporary license anyway. Or maybe my sad, puppy eyes worked. Whatever the reason, Mom agreed (on the condition that we would only leave half an hour before midnight because she was not waiting in line for two hours).
It could be a tribute to Media Play’s dying business that we actually got decent places in line that close to midnight. The second I got that book in my hands, I started reading it. I devoured it. For the next several days of PE summer school, my friend Caitlin and I spent our laps around the track fangirling the book and spouting out theories and analyzing every detail. There was one memorable morning after I’d finished the book, when the first thing I said when I saw Caitlin was “HE SAID ‘IRKED!'” (In regards to a bit of Voldemort dialogue…and I always love Voldemort dialogue.) For months after that, the word “irked” was an inside joke for us.
It wasn’t the grandest midnight release I ever attended. I don’t have pictures from it like I have from others. There weren’t any epic marathons or homemade t-shirts and I’m not even entirely sure I went in costume. But that release, and Order of the Phoenix itself, still hold a special place in my heart for being the first.