The witching hour: Israelis line up for new Harry Potter book

Steimatzky sold over 200 copies of at the event and the book is available in stores throughout the country. Its translation into Hebrew is expected to be available in early 2017.

July 31, 2016 15:39
2 minute read.
Israelis line up at midnight to buy new Harry Potter book

Israelis line up at midnight to buy new Harry Potter book. (photo credit: STEIMATZKY)


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More than 100 Israelis, young and old, lined up on Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Street late Saturday night to get their hands on the latest chapter in the popular fantasy saga: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

The script to a new play on London’s West End, the eighth installment of the popular book series, went on sale as the clock struck midnight on July 31, both Harry Potter’s and author J.K. Rowling’s birthday. Israeli Harry Potter fans were able to get their hands on copies of the book hours before those in the UK, where Rowling and the fictional Potter reside.

The Steimatzky store at the Dizengoff Center mall was decked out in golden balloons, matching the color of the book’s jacket. Customers waiting outside wore a variety of Harry Potter paraphernalia, from T-shirts with quotes from the book and the names of teams playing the magical sport of Quidditch, to pointy witches’ hats and scarlet and yellow scarves for Gryffindor, Harry’s house at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Some complimented one another on their getups and asked where they bought their items.

Fans of the book could be heard discussing what they thought about Rowling making retroactive changes to characters, such as how, after eight films in which main character Hermione was played by a white woman, in the play, the actress portraying her is of African descent. They also discussed which Hogwarts house best suits their personality.“I always thought I was a Hufflepuff, but people tell me I’m a Gryffindor,” said one fan.

At one point, a television crew began asking the crowd which house they like best. Judging from the cheers, Gryffindor won by far.

As the countdown to midnight began, Stav Adler, a Tel Aviv resident in her 20s, said: “This is like our version of the Euro Cup.”

Steimatzky sold more than 200 copies at the event, and the book is available in stores throughout the country.

Its translation into Hebrew is expected to be available in early 2017.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a play by Jack Thorne, based on a short story by Rowling, Thorne and director John Tiffany. It picks up after the seventh book’s epilogue, 19 years after the plot in which Harry finishes school. Harry is now 37 years old and working for the Ministry of Magic, and his younger son, Albus, is beginning his studies at Hogwarts. Albus is less excited than his father was to attend the school and becomes susceptible to dark influences.

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