ATF Premiers : Harry Potter 5
On June 21, 2003 at 12:01am, the long awaited fifth book in the Harry Potter series, The Order of the Phoenix (or OOP, for those in the know) was released.

All over the world, bookstores remained open until midnight to sell copies as soon as it was legally permissable to do so. Arguably the largest such release party was at Toys R Us in Times Square. And of course we were there in full costume to celebrate the opening:

Kennyb wore his Gryffindor dress robes, Ben dressed as Harry in his Quiddich robes, and Arin went as Divinations Professor Trelawney.

The book had been kept under tight wraps until that date- a newspaper that leaked info about the story early was sued for $100 million! Everyone was so excited to get their hands on a copy.

Earlier that afternoon, Arin had a genius idea: Print out a fake cover of the book and bring it along to read while waiting in line! A half hour in Kinkos and a little help from the nice folks at (who provided the image of the book cover) and we had a veritable HP5 three hours before midnight!

We arrived at Toys R Us around 10:30pm to meet with one of the longest lines we've ever seen! It wrapped completely around the block. The people at the front of the line began arriving at 2pm that afternoon! As such, we decided to just hang around and mingle instead of waiting at the end of the line.

The reception to our costumes was phenomenal! Little kids grabbed their parents to exclaim "There's Harry!" and we took countless photographs with adoring kids (and adults alike!)

And the fake book worked like a charm! Everyone wanted to know how we got a copy of it early, if they could read the back cover, or even touch it! Lots of girls wanted to know who dies, but I told them I was sworn to secrecy. And no one could tell it was a fake! My explanations ranged from "My sister works for Warner Brothers" to "I downloaded a pirate copy off the Internet as an eBook and printed out all 900 pages and had them bound" (I told that story to the press).

We weren't the only ones in costume though. We met up with an Albus Dumbledore, who was attracting quite a bit of attention himself. Notice the giant digital billboard behind us with the countdown till midnight. Just like New Year's Eve in Times Square.

And we were definitely accosted by a fair amount of press and photographers:

We haven't been able to find any of our pictures in the news though, so let us know if you do.

And I also want to take a minute to reflect on the fact that all this HP mania is about a book! Kids are lining up to read! What's that all about? It's amzing, and I want to give a shout out to JK for getting so many kids reading 900 page books. (I also want to give a shout out to Homer, who summed up the oppposing view quite nicely: "Read something? I want to reduce my boredom").

Here's a great shot of Arin after eating a Bertie Botz Everyflavor Bean. I think she got grass or vomit. Eww.

And possibly the highlight of the evening was a wizard on a Segway scooter! Holy crap it was amazing!

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