SPOILER-FREE POST: HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD LAUNCH PARTY
As many people are likely to know, 31st July held a great significance to both Potterheads and a grand proportion of the general public; Firstly, it was the birthday of one of the world’s most loved fictional characters- Harry Potter; Secondly, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child- a play written by Jack Thorne, based upon a story created by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne– was released. Despite the play being on at the Palace theatre, in Soho/Theatreland, the contents have been kept top secrets, so all can enjoy the being swallowed in by the hardback book of the script.
Being a humungous Harry Potter, and all things surrounding HP, fan myself, I was very hyped for the release of this story.
When I was younger, despite adoring the phenomenon, I was never allowed to attend launch parties, or queue to be the first to read the new book, and the truth it, regarding Harry Potter, this will likely be the last opportunity I will ever get. So, when my friend Shiri suggested that we attend a launch party on the evening of Saturday 30th, of course my excitement increased.
After many phone calls, a hop on the tube for my friend and her twin sister (Libi), and hours googling the multiple launch venues (and getting distracted by musicals, Jenna Coleman, and most importantly, the fact we hadn’t seen each other in so long- Okay, not that long, but too long for me to bear any further separation from my best friend), we decided that attending the event in the Waterstones St. Albans branch was the most simultaneously appealing and convenient.
Our day led up to this event- I bought a new yellow turtleneck to wear under my black play suit (REPRESENTING HUFFLEPUFF), even though I logically could have worn an item of the many pieces of merchandise I own, as Libi planned her make up around her own house colours. I was absolutely gutted when I realised that I left my house scarf and beanie hat, as well as my necklace, at home, because they are my most loved items.
At 6:30pm, we left for the beautiful, local city, and headed for a cafe called ‘The Pudding Stop’– If you want to guess what they serve… Well, I guess… The proof is in the pudding.
*This is where I expect the clang of symbols and a round of applause. I’m a comedian, really.*
Our ‘pudding stop’ was beautiful (I had the rhubarb and apple crumble, which was heavenly), so if you’re ever in St. Albans, you’d be making a mistake if you didn’t give cafe a visit. It may not be the cheapest place to dine on sweet treats, but it’s worth every penny.
We followed this indulge by trekking up the high street, until we reached the book shop. Waterstones is a great bookshop, and it’s a shame to not have one in the town I live.
Our arrival at the bookshop came shortly after 8pm, when the party was due to start. We paid out entry fee of £3 each (a bargain for the world of activities inside), and headed for the sorting hat- The ‘hat’ was essentially a lucky dip, sorting you into your house. This house determined the queue you would stand in to collect your copy of the Cursed Child at the end of the evening. If you already knew your house, you could choose the colour ticket based on that, but to join in the fun, I was sorted… Into Hufflepuff! I’ve always been a hufflepuff, so this was rather relieving.
Looking around us, there were many paths we could have chosen- To the left behind us, the left or right in front of us, to the back of the store, or upstairs. We followed the path of others, and chose the latter. Upstairs, there was yet again many directions which we could go in, leading to different activities, workshops and stations, but someone advised us to head for the cafe, so we took their advice and saw that they were not just serving ordinary Waterstones cafe goodies… They were serving sweet treats that weren’t fit for muggles! We all got a cupcake and ‘I can’t believe it’s not butterbeer!’, which tasted identical to butterbeer, courtesy of Shiri (thank you very much!). You could choose from butterscotch or pumpkin spice butter beer, and we all took the traditional path. Later, however, I made the healthy (for the soul… We’ll ignore the sugar levels, for now) decision to try the pumpkin spice flavoured drink, and, goodness me… Have I ever tasted anything more heavenly? No, the answer is a firm no. Considering i’m looking into buying my own PSL syrup for autumn homemade lattes, I think Pumpkin Spice butter beer will be a creation i’ve brought home. People who see me regularly… ready to be blessed. Not to forget the cake, the one I had was a beautiful golden snitch one. It tasted as good as it looked.
Whilst munching and sipping on our goodies, we were informed that there was a magic show, so we headed downstairs to watch. In honesty, we didn’t have the best view, as none of us are particularly tall, but we’re too old to justify being at the front. However, I was right next to the gryffindor stand… And do you know what that means? I was in physical contact with the books! Many lay under the red cloth beside me. This realisation hyped me, massively, and was our queue to leave, so we didn’t knock them all over or spill something… We primarily meaning me, who is known for her clumsiness but usually fails to admit it.
Following this, we took part in a potion making class, an attempt at writing with an ink pen/quill (which can also be described as Shiri shouting abuse at me because she liked how mine turned out- despite it being terrible- but not hers, which was amazingly written), and making dreamcatchers. All of these activities were super fun, and, aimed at children or not, I had a whale of a time- or should I say otter, as that’s my patronus!
After these workshops and activities (which consumed a good two and a half hours), it was time to face the quiz! It didn’t go too badly for us… 16/20 (we hoped for better, but lost out on silly mistakes, such as completely forgetting the pre-Dumbledore headmaster of Hogwarts!), but someone got full marks. We did come out fairly high in the rankings, though! Following this, we did a snitch hunt to form a spell and gained a jelly snake each, for it.
From just after 11pm onwards, it was waiting… We sat down with another glass of butter beer each and had a look at some funny ‘Hamilton’ jokes, as we all adore the musical. This was until we decided it wise to queue…
Then, the countdown begun:
“FIFTEEN MINUTES. IF YOU’RE NOT IN A QUEUE, GET IN ONE!”
“TEN MINUTES! TEN! MINUTES!”
“FIVE MINUTES! YOU HAVE FIVE MINUTES!” (Queue lots of screeching from the multiple fans dotted around the building)
“ONLY TWO MINUTES AND YOU CAN HAVE YOUR BOOKS!”
“ONE MINUTE. OH MY GOODNESS, ONE. MINUTE. ONEMINUTEONEMINUTEONEMINUTE.”
“TEN, NINE, EIGHT, SEVEN, SIX, FIVE, FOUR, THREE, TWO, ONE…”
And the pile of copies of the Cursed Child was unveiled, as people of all shapes, sizes, ages, religions, ethnicities, sexualities, genders, and more, squealed in union. This was what we had all been waiting for.
Within a matter of seconds copy of the precious script was handed to me, and Shiri, Libi, and I left the store to find my mother, outside.
It was a great evening filled with everything a wizard could wish for, and i’m so glad that a midnight launch and party was something I’ve been able to experience, especially being of the Harry Potter series.
It’s just a shame the muggles missed out, is’t it?
Love always, Lauren xxx