As the fictitious triple-decker “Knight Bus” magically makes its tour around the country, so does Harry fever.
Wizard garments, forehead lightning-stickers and round, Potter-like spectacles dominated Fulton Street last week when children flocked outside The City’s main public library July 11 to glimpse the fantastic Knight Bus from the phenomenally popular “Harry Potter” book series.
Advertising J.K. Rowling’s final Potter installment, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the bus was equipped with a video-recording booth inside, where youngsters expressed what they liked about Harry.
“I like the talking hat,” 4-year-old Ian Eshia said, dressed in a Hogwarts wizard robe and a forehead lightning sticker, expressing that the Potter series are his favorite books and movies.
“I think it’s really good because I like fantasy,” 9-year-old Elizabeth Daskalakis said, dressed like the Hermione Granger character.
“Harry Potter is a phenomenon,” said Toni Bernardi, chief of children and youth services at the library. “I’ve been in the business for 37 years, and I have never seen anything like this.”
The library preordered roughly 500 copies of the book, which goes on sale nationwide at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. As of last week, more than 700 reserve calls were received.
The bus, provided by Scholastic Inc., began its national tour of 37 libraries in New York City on June 1; its last stop was in Oakland.
Scholastic’s Library and Educational Marketing Director John Mason, who was on the tour when the bus passed through Providence, R.I., and Boston, said the San Francisco turnout was the biggest to date.
“There is nothing like Harry Potter,” Mason said. “It’s good to see a book that appeals to 7-year-olds and 70-year-olds.”
Harry Potter: The saga so far
“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”
After learning he is a famous wizard, the orphan Harry Potter begins his education at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where he meets legendary headmaster Albus Dumbledore, befriends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger and faces his first encounter with the evil Lord Voldemort.
“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”
Harry arrives at Hogwarts with a bang when he and Ron crash a flying car into the Whomping Willow. As the term progresses, Harry begins to hear voices in the walls, and students — including Hermione — are attacked. Harry eventually finds himself in the Chamber of Secrets, as does Ron’s little sister, Ginny.
“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”
Harry, now 13, avoids expulsion after accidentally “blowing up” his aunt on his summer vacation, but he returns to Hogwarts to find the school being guarded by deadly Dementors due to a breakout from the wizard prison, Azkaban. Harry learns why the escaped prisoner, Sirius Black, is after him.
“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”
Voldemort’s increasingly brazen followers make an appearance at the Quiddich World Cup, and someone enters Harry in the dangerous Triwizard Tournament against his will. After taking on dragons, mermaids and the Yule Ball, Harry must deal with the return of Voldemort and the death of a friend.
“Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”
Harry, in the throes of adolescent angst, stands alone in the wizarding world as others refuse to believe Voldemort has returned. Hogwarts gets an abusive, Ministry-approved leader, Dolores Umbridge, and Harry must learn to keep Lord Voldemort literally out of his mind.
“Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”
While many suspect that Harry is “The Chosen One” who can vanquish Voldemort, Dumbledore tries to prepare Harry for battle by showing him the evil wizard’s past. Harry falls in love with Ginny, and Ron and Hermione try to repair their relationship after Ron’s disastrous romance with Lavender Brown.
— Sarah Larsen
Harry Potter by the numbers
325,000,000: Copies sold worldwide, first six “Harry Potter” books
121,000,000: “Harry Potter” books in print in the United States
12,000,000: Record first printing for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”
1,600,000: Record pre-orders for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”
1,000: Copies first printed of Book One, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” in England
150: Dumbledore’s age
66: Number of languages into which series has been translated
$34.99: Suggested retail price for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”
12:01 a.m.: Time “Deathly Hallows” goes on sale Saturday
7: Number of Quidditch players on a team