Potter mania builds as clock ticks toward Friday’s witching hour

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LEWISTON – Will Harry Potter be killed? Will Voldemort rise to power, and is Dumbledore really dead? Will aspiring wizards still find the doors to Hogwarts open or will they be sent to Lewiston High School to learn the craft, instead?

The only way to find out is to get your hands on a copy of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” The best way to do that is to be at a bookstore at the witching hour on Friday when book seven in the Potter series goes on sale.

“We start selling the books at midnight,” said Matt Pettengill of Mr. Paperback in Lewiston.

For those in the business of books, the release of a Harry Potter novel is akin to Super Bowl Sunday for sports fans. Only instead of tailgate parties and bar bashes, the Potter crowd has more esoteric plans for the big day.

At Mr. Paperback, there will be wizard chess, food, games and Harry Potter trivia. There will be a sorting hat which, for those few who remain Harry Potter illiterate, will determine if you happen to belong to the Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff or Slytherin house.

“We go all out for the Harry Potter books,” Pettengill said. “We’ve got a whole troop of employees who are ready to work it.”

Good thing, because the store will stay open well beyond normal closing hours to cater to the Potter faithful. The wizardry begins at 9 p.m. and is expected to last until 1 a.m. Saturday.

At Waldenbooks in Auburn, it’s the same deal. At least 600 people are expected to turn out to receive their books on the first day of sale. They may also show up to learn how to make potions, write with invisible ink, or get their faces painted.

In Portland, Borders is advertising: “an evening of wizardly activity, fantastical games and stupendous giveaways. Get your copy at the stroke of midnight!”

Other events are planned at bookstores across the area, the state, the country and the world. Officially, book seven goes on sale at 12:01 a.m. Saturday.

Or just stay home, sleep through all the magic, and pick up your copy at the local library. Be warned though, at the Auburn Public Library, nine people are already in line ahead of you. In Lewiston, the waiting list by Wednesday afternoon was up to 27.

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