My Journey to Find Harry Potter was Less Than Magical

I thought it was over. A little more than five years ago Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 was released in theaters and I left the theatre feeling down. It was an incredible movie but the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach came from the assumption that Harry Potter was finished and the friendship I had shared with the Chosen One and his friends for the majority of my childhood was no more. Then about a year ago an announcement was made that there would be a new Harry Potter story in the form of a play that would show the characters we grew to love as adults now with their kids going off to Hogwarts. It was nice to know that Harry still had some life left but I wasn’t particularly excited about the play because like the majority of Harry Potter fans I knew the chance of me traveling to London to see a play was a very slim one. Then it was announced that the script would be published and sold and the excitement of Harry Potter returned to my life with the anticipation of the release date.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was set to be released on July 31st, the birthday of the world’s most famous wizard and consequently JK Rowling as well. I started going to midnight release parties at the bookstore starting when the fourth book, the Goblet of Fire was released and although it had been a while since I’d done it I knew I wanted to be at Barnes & Noble with all the other muggle anxiously awaiting the release of the latest book in our favorite series. I began reading the series in the third grade and have been a huge fan ever since. In addition to the midnight release book parties I also attended the midnight premier of the last four movies. Despite being in a new city and nobody to go with I had to go to the bookstore at midnight.

About eight o’clock the annoying thoughts that accompany being adult set in and convinced me that it would be irresponsible to be out so late the night before having to work early the next day. Completely ashamed of myself I decided to skip the midnight release and get the book the next day like a boring grown up. Let me be clear, I was at no point happy with my decision to stay home and I kept glancing at the clock imagining what festivities might be taking place at the bookstore while I sit around the house waiting to go to bed. The later it got the more I hated that I backed out for a couple extra hours of sleep that I was wasting staring at the clock. At eleven thirty I made the decision that although I didn’t go to a release party I could at least get the book at midnight and continue that tradition. My wife went to bed and I went to Walmart.

There would be no messing around or getting distracted. I knew exactly what I was there for and made my way to the back of the store next to the video games where they have a pathetically small row of books. Right in front of my searching face I saw the words Harry Potter and the Cursed Child but unfortunately it wasn’t on an actual book cover but on a sign where the books should have been. It’s 12:02 and Harry is nowhere in sight…completely unacceptable. You are probably going to think I’m being sarcastic but I’m being completely serious when I say I proceeded to ask a friendly Walmart employee and she happily went to ask her supervisor about the whereabouts of the book. I know it’s out of the ordinary to find a friendly person working there but she was very nice and helpful. After about half an hour of waiting at the electronics counter the manager came out and informed me that they had twenty boxes of the book in the back. Good news right? They had so many books I wouldn’t know what to do with them all unfortunately nobody in the store was able to locate them anywhere. She seemed very calm when telling me that she looked through all the pallets but the books were nowhere to be found even though it showed on the computer that they had twenty cases. I don’t enjoy telling people how to do their job but if that many twenty dollar books just disappeared I would start checking security cameras and calling the police immediately. She told me to try back in the morning, and maybe they would have them by then. Thanks but no thanks I was getting that book before going back home.

I decided to drive even further from my warm and cozy bed to Kroger. You might be thinking “Why would a grocery store have a book stocked that just came out forty minutes ago? You’re crazy.” It does seem a bit out there but when the fifth book, The Order of the Phoenix was released instead of buying it at Barnes & Noble I skipped the line after the party and walked into Kroger got it on the way home. That was like five minutes after midnight so me thinking they would have it is not such a far fetched notion. For those of you even after hearing my reasoning still hung to the belief that I am an idiot and would not be able to get the book at Kroger just after midnight you are completely justified in thinking that. I spoke with a manager who was obviously trying hard to suppress laughter while he told me they don’t stock the books but a vendor comes in and does it and he highly doubted the vendor was going to come in at midnight just to stock one book. Fine. I left and fully intended to head home but then I saw a twenty-four hour Walgreens.

Of course Walgreens didn’t have the book. I knew they wouldn’t going in there but I’m a Harry Potter addict and I was desperate for my fix. I really needed to get back home and go to bed as I had to get up for work in just a few hours so that is exactly what i did after I shamefully stopped by the same Walmart on my way back home and speed walked to the back of the store to the books only to be disappointed that the lost books still had not been recovered an hour after they were set to be released. I saw the same helpful employee who I avoided eye contact and conversation with because there was nothing I could say at that point that would make me seem like a normal human being.

I woke up this morning for work feeling incredibly tired but more than that feeling disappointed that I still didn’t have to book and I would have to walk around all day like a peasant not having read any of it. I left for work early with no idea of where a Walmart was located along my route but I was going to get that book. Siri took me to a Walmart neighborhood market with a worse book selection then Walgreens then she took me to a Walmart about ten minutes in the opposite direction from work. I didn’t think twice about the possibility of being late and set off to get my book They had it and I made it to work on time with a few minutes to spare. I should have used that time to get in a short nap but instead chose to read the first scene of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and it was totally worth it. Even though I failed last night I was able to pull myself back up and succeed today so let that be a lesson to you. Never give up on your dreams unless it gets too hard.


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