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July 17, 2007 > Calling all Wizards and Muggles

Calling all Wizards and Muggles

By Mona Shah

Fans of the Harry Potter series of books have no doubt enjoyed the journey which nears its end on July 21, with the release of the last book in the saga. Speculation still continues as to which character will die in the seventh and final chapter of J.K. Rowling's wildly popular Harry Potter series.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" goes on sale shortly after midnight on July 21st. Bedtimes around the country will be delayed for the sake of reading. All Borders and Barnes and Noble locations as well as area libraries have special events planned in anticipation of this magical event.

Shrouded in mystery, the books are treated with the highest level of security. Rumor has it that a lawyer from Scholastic books sat on the manuscript for the entire duration of his trans-Atlantic flight. The finished books will travel to stores on pallets, sealed in black plastic, in trucks tracked by GPS. To limit leakage, millions of copies arrive at bookstores within an eight-hour window.

The books each chronicle one year at school for the characters concerned, containing significant elements of fantasy and magic, combined with a detective-novel approach to the story. Each volume involves a self-contained problem and task for the heroes to complete and adds to the background information about the fictional wizarding world. Rowling comprehensively plotted the entire series of seven books before the first was published and although the overall plot remains unchanged, she has stated that it has undergone a number of revisions.

Book covers differ in the United Kingdom and the United States. The UK has different kid and adult covers. The US has two versions of the cover, the normal version and the deluxe version.

You can pre-order the book in all major bookstores. Pre-ordered books are discounted at Borders bookstores by 40 percent; Barnes and Noble online has offered a similar discount.

Harry Potter Events:

Harry Potter celebration events are planned at all Borders and Barnes and Noble stores starting Friday, July 20 at 9 p.m.

Alameda County Libraries have planned several events. For more information visit and go to the "Events" page, or call your local library for more information. All libraries have limited seating and sign-ups are required. Many of these events are already booked so be sure to confirm your reservation.

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