The Deathly Hallows, the last book in the Harry Potter series, was released this day, seven years ago (is that all?), in 2007. It broke sales records, selling 15 million copies in the first 24 hours of its release, which makes it the fastest-selling novel ever published.
My daughter, Kate, bought one of those 15 million copies. The first book in the series was released in 1997, which was the year after we arrived in Canada, and Kate was just the right age to be exposed and sucked into the world of Hogwarts – she was six.
It was from about the third book onwards that Harry Potter-mania really took off, and the release of each new book in the series involved a midnight special sales party at our local book store. Kate and I turned up faithfully for each one.
For the release of the sixth book, The Half-Blood Prince, the store assistant, who had got to know both of us by this time, pulled me aside and warned me that Kate might find the story more emotionally harrowing than the others. I took the warning to heart and kept an eye on her for the next few days as she worked her way through the huge tome.
When she read Dumbledore’s death, she came to me, climbed into my lap and cried her heart out. I think that was the last time she did it, and it had been a few years since the previous occasion.
We didn’t attend the midnight party release of The Deathly Hallows. Kate was sixteen, then, and thought she was too old for such nonsense. She bought her own copy a day later, using wages from her very first part time job.
From six to sixteen. How time flies.