July 21 is The Big Day for Harry Potter fans. That's when readers can finally get their hands on "Harry Potter and the Deathly Gallows."
For 16-year-old Shaynna Coe, Harry Potter has become an obsession. When she discovered the release date on the Web sitewww.mugglenet.com, she drove to Sandusky to reserve her copy.
"I know this might sound weird, but I even have taken it upon myself to start collecting all sorts of Harry Potter paraphernalia and have found that I have run out of closet space to put it all in. Every time I see an article about the 'trio' (Harry and his two best friends) or just about the books and movies in general, I add it to the 'collage,'" the Western Reserve High School sophomore said.
Adults are addicted to Harry, too. Jenny Goodman, 27, has read each of the books "at least five times" and owns the four movies.
"I have already told my boyfriend to expect to not talk to me for a day or so, because I will not be able to put it ('Deathly Gallows') down," the Norwalk resident said.
Goodman was "instantly hooked" after reading her first Harry Potter novel six years ago. She has been on an Amazon.com list for several years that "alerted" her of release dates, so she could pre-order each book.
"The ways that the books draw you in are so intense. I can lose hours in Harry Potter and still want more," Goodman said.
Her "dream" is to own a movie script signed by author J.K. Rowling. Goodman recalled staying in an eBay "bidding war" until the prized item was sold for $1,000. She said the experience made her realize the money she would have spent would be better used for her two children.
Wakeman resident Kellie Pancost, 34, will be heading to the nearest bookstore the night "Deathly Gallows" is released. "I haven't ever done this and I think it will be fun," the 1991 Norwalk High School graduate said.
She regretted not attending a midnight release event for the sixth book, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."
"So, a former student actually the one who was slaughtering me in trivia and got me to read the books in the first place and I agreed after 'Prince' came out that we will definitely be in line at midnight for the last one," Pancost said.
The Vermilion High School teacher won't be the only educator waiting in line July 21.
Willard resident Lisa Fried, 35, said she and her relatives "will all be riding the Hogwarts Express ... at midnight (to) receive our book." The group also plans on seeing the fifth movie together.
Fried's Willard High School English students know what an avid Harry Potter fan she is. She said they have drawn her "pictures and ... posters of Harry and Hogwarts."
"My family and I are gearing up for the final book. I am re-reading the entire series to be warmed up for the final book. My (9-year-old) daughter, Maisee, is reading the series for the first time," she said.
Fried is not alone in going to great lengths for the finale of Rowling's seven-part series. Chantal DeYoe, 39, of North Fairfield, also has been re-reading the other six books.
"I've taken notes on some of the books to help me cross-reference things to which she refers in later books," she said.
DeYoe anticipates a final battle between Harry Potter's allies and his archenemy, Lord Voldemort, and the Death Eaters.
"Harry may be the hero and is the one joined together with Voldemort in (the) prophecy, but as he has never truly acted alone. I do expect the entire cast of characters to play a role in Voldemort's final demise," she said.
DeYoe would love for "Deathly Gallows" to have a "happily-ever-after ending." However, she said resurrecting dead characters would be the equivalent of Rowling pulling a rabbit out of her literary hat and would "trick" her readers.
Pancost, like many readers, hopes Harry will survive.
"I think that he will, as typically good conquers evil in fantasy (literature), but Rowling might decide that Harry has to be sacrificed in order to vanquish Voldemort," she explained.
Goodman said the suspense until "Deathly Gallows" comes out is "killing" her. Although she is saddened with the end of the beloved series, the Norwalk woman believes Rowling is smart to stop with the seventh book, because otherwise fans simply would demand more and more books.
"She is leaving the readers always wanting more and that shows just how great of a writer she really is and ultimately what a great character Harry Potter really is," Goodman said.