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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

Boston becomes Pottersville by Matt McGann '00

The MIT area is full of celebrations for the release of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

So… tonight is the fateful night for millions of Harry Potter fans across the world. And of course, MIT has more than its fair share of HP geeks, and thus you might be asking yourself, if I went to MIT, what would I be doing for the big release? Let me tell you about some of the Boston/MIT-area parties.

At Newtonville Books in Newton (a Green Line trip away), there promises to be possibly the best of the area’s events. Beginning at 9pm until the “magic” hour, the store will host a “a night of readings, movie, activities and live music for the whole family!”

What Makes Newtonville Books’ party so awesome? For one, there’s going to be a musical performance by Kay Hanley. You may know her as the singing voice of Rachael Leigh Cook’s Josie in the Josie & The Pussycats movie, or as the lead singer of the band Letter to Cleo, which provided the soundtrack for (among other things) the film 10 Things I Hate About You (yes, I can’t believe it either — two references to 10 Things I Hate About You in less than a year).

Also, reading from Harry Potter books will be author Tom Perrotta. He’s probably best known as the author of the book from which the great film Election (with Reese Witherspoon and Matthew Broderick) was made.

It’s also a costume party, which is always fun. And, as with many other parties, they’ll be screening past Harry Potter films. They’ll be having fun activities, too, like wand- and hat-making. To me, this seems like the place to be.

One of the other interesting Half-Blood Prince events is being put on by the Charles Hotel here in Cambridge. Their plan is to turn Harvard Square into “Hogwart’s Square.” If you book a room through their package, guests will, “upon arrival, reach into the Sorting Hat at the hotel’s front desk to obtain their guestroom key.” At midnight, they’ll bring the book directly to your room. In the hotel’s courtyard, they’ll have an outdoor screening of “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban;” all guests also receive the DVD for free, as well as Droobles Best Blowing Gum. The package includes a suite room (nice!), but runs $299.

Some of my favorite Boston-area bookstores are also having cool parties. At Brookline Booksmith, folks will get a free Harry Potter T-shirt, eat “exclusive Harry Potter Cookies” (including shapes like Hogwarts, lightning bolts, and Harry’s glasses), play trivia games, and wear costumes. Here in Cambridge, the Harvard Book Store (not affiliated with Harvard University) will have a cool costume party. They promise face painters who will provide “lightening bolt scars;” roving “triviadours” asking HP trivia questions for prizes; and a “Diagon Alley Raffle” for even more prizes from Flourish & Blotts Bookstore, Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor, and Ollivander’s Wand Shop.

There are many other celebrations nearby to MIT. At the Prudential Center Barnes & Noble, there’s a “Midnight Magic” event. The Boston University Barnes & Nobles hosts a “Harry Potter Pajama Party,” including a scavenger hunt. Pandemonium Books & Games hosts an adults-only (16+) “Hogwarts Alumni Reunion, with games and a “Lightning-Quick Fanfic” competition. At Curious George (where many of my friends went for the Book 5 release), there’s the “Harry Potter Midnight Party.” And at Henry Bear’s Park, a toy store, their “Harry Potter Year 6 Midnight Party” will include a magician. The Boston Public Library, across from MIT’s former home in Copley Square, has an all-day party on Saturday, with face painting, crafts, games, and a movie marathon.

Harry Potter events worldwide can be found, among other places, at What are your feelings about the book release?

25 responses to “Boston becomes Pottersville”

  1. AndersoN says:

    I am anxiously waiting for it.

  2. Anthony says:

    I have never even touched a Harry Potter book.


  3. I live around the corner from Newtonville Books and hope to be at the event tonight. If not, though, my copy from that big online retailer is scheduled to arrive tomorrow. I know what I’ll be reading this weekend!

  4. Sam says:

    I’ve never read any of the books. I saw the third movie and had no idea what was going on. Still, your blog has convinced me that I’ve got to attend one of these parties.

  5. Meder says:

    YAY for HARRY POTTER!!!!! can’t wait!!!! but i’ll have to :{

  6. Saad Zaheer says:

    hmm! sounds like there is a big festival going on around the Boston/ MIT area, the Potter Celebrations!

    well, I have never read any of the HPs or seen the movies, but seems like I would become one of HP freaks once at MIT!

    anyways have fun, and at the Newtonville Books you should be expecting a blast! I have never seen celebrations like this as you mentioned above, ever in my life!!

  7. Nicole R says:

    I can’t wait! I love the books, their so well written it’s easy to lose yourself in the story.

    Sadly I’ll have to wait a few days to get my copy I didn’t order it offline (d’oh!) and wont be able to make it to the bookstore for the next couple of days.

  8. I <3 Harry Potter… and yet I wonder… WHO will die! I think that there’s a lot of pressure because either way, it won’t be as good as everyone wants it to be.

    No, no one has ever told me that all good things must come to an end, and I refuse to believe it!

  9. Gahh!

    My book too arrives tomorrow.


    Damn. I guess Harry has to wait till Monday.



  10. Just got back from the Newtonville Books party and it is amazing. The party was hosted at the New Art Center in Newton where a good friend of ours works, and they had great stuff going on. In one room there were showing the movie version of “The Prisoner of Azkaban” while in the other they were doing face painting, sorting into houses by the Sorting Hat, wand making, hat making, coloring, trivia games, and other activies for the younger set. At 10:30 they started a reading time (as Matt says above) and still on the agenda is the live music. For the over 21 set, there is a “Leaky Cauldren” where you can buy your “butterbeer”. Too much fun.

    They are doing a countdown to midnight and handing out books to folks who ordered them.

    Also a live TV crew from CBS local station was covering the whole event.

    A fun time. Now I just can’t wait to get started on the book!

  11. kiersten says:


    Oh man, I was sooooo absorbed in my physics test today that I was unaware that it was Friday!!!!! I guess I will wander the streets in search of Pottery Goodness:)


  12. Kelly says:



  13. Noah says:

    Anxiously awaiting the UK version by royal mail…how long is anyone’s guess…

  14. shikhar says:

    just finished reading my copy of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

  15. Saad Zaheer says:

    wow Shikhar! u even finished it! thats REAL quick

  16. Noah says:

    Everyone loves a good, timely hack!

  17. Laura says:

    My feelings about the book release?

    Unfortunately, they can’t be expressed in a blog comment. My feelings would best be expressed by me jumping up and down screaming and being very excited. I LOVE Harry Potter and am so, so psyched to get to the midnight party at Borders tonight and to actually READ the book. In fact, I’m volunteering at my library’s event tomorrow, where I will be….

    …this is hard to admit but…

    …I will be dressed up as Hermione.

    I’m obviously excited. =)

  18. Meder says:

    that was a nice prank, Noah.

    according my reading velocity it’s going a day or two for me to finish the book raspberry

  19. kimi says:

    Yay!! I finished the book a couple of hours ago and am now only returning to the land of muggles. Although I am rather mournful now seeing as I have no more new adventures to read of until the last (I think) book! :(

  20. Snape needs more than a hug… A lot more than a hug…

  21. malamo says:

    I must say, after reading it, that i hate the half blood prince… hehe

  22. Anonymous says:

    Dear Mr. McGann,

    I finally figured out why Horchata is so tasty.

    It tastes exactly like the leftover milk post-consumption of the breakfast cereal “Cinnamon Toast Crunch.”


    I think I’m going to get some right now.

    I hope everyone enjoys their HP books =) I have yet to purchase, or preorder.

    Unfortunately, I stumbled across a plot spoiler or two =( Oh well.

  23. Pia says:

    IT WAS SO SAD!! (but oh, so, so good) sigh. well, I suppose I’ll have to wait till like my soph year at MIT for the stunning ending.

  24. thejoker says:

    Wow– good call on the Horchata. I keep trying to think of ways to describe it to people …

  25. Hann says:

    HP6 was terribly sad. I read it in 4 hours and couldn’t believe the ending even after I closed the book. But now I seriously have to go back and read HP5 again to refresh my memory, lol. And hi Pia! Hope you’re having a great summer. =)