Sunday, July 17, 2005

Buzz on the Castle
Yes, I relize I'm still the only nutter who works @ a fansite that's dropped his or her book, to still keep up with news, but here it is all the same.
We had one young lady my the name of Millie out at the Castle, and she was able to bring some pictures of what was going on outside and a report on it. Gallery is HERE, and please read below:

It was slightly breezy and not that warm weather wise but with clear skies and over 2000 excited Harry Potter fans huddled round, the atmosphere was hot and happy as I joined a very lucky group in specially constructed seats to watch JKRowling and the even more fortunate band of cub reporters arrive at Edinburgh Castle for the launch of the Half-Blood Prince. Many more thousands of people lined the streets up to the Castle just to get a glimpse of the carriages and things passing by but we were fortunate enough to be amongst the groups invited to go actually into the Castle Esplanade up by the main gate.

I would have given anything to actually be going inside but hey, first class view of the guys arriving, the chance to have Jo Rowling sign my copy of Order of the Phoenix and the opportunity to actually touch and speak to her was definitely the next best thing.

We had to get in our seats by 9:30pm even though the reading wasn't going to take place until a minute past midnight because all sorts of rehearsals for the ITV live broadcast had to happen. For instance we had to get our cheers just right - so a warm-up man and Stephen Mulhearn who was the actual presenter on screen kept us entertained and made sure we stamped our feet and practiced cheering so we could show our full appreciation when Jo finally arrived.

Because they showed the competition to find the Ultimate HP fan on the big screen and lots of other entertainment including small clips of famous people like Stephen Fry and Philip Scofield giving their views on what might happen in the book and what spell they would find most useful and stuff it wasn't long before we heard the clip clop of hooves and the carriages arrived with the first cub reporters. The first carriage was drawn by two white horses with black plume feathers then the second had two black horses with white feathers. The kids were escorted by a prefect from one of the four houses in each carriage. Our smiles were wide but the smiles on all of the kids were wider.

I had realised that celebrity guests had been invited too but Peaches Geldorf - (her dad is Sir Bob Geldorf the man behind Live 8) was in one of the first carriages and one of the first to walk up the red carpet.

Not long after the cub reporters went inside a very posh black car swept up into the entrance and out stepped the woman of the hour - Jo Rowling wearing a very nice black dress and jacket, very high silver shoes and a sparkly key round her neck. She looked absolutely amazing and totally thrilled to be there. She just took her time, ignoring all the photographers and journalists and stuff and just beamed at all of us. She really stood and took her time to look round and smile at us. Every now and then she would hold up THE book. I almost felt like crying. She said a couple of things to reporters and stuff but spent a long time just going up the line on both sides of the red carpet speaking to fans and signing autographs. As she walked past me I stuck out my hand and said 'Congratulations'. She gave me a brilliant smile, shook my hand and said, 'Thanks.' I was so taken with her smile that I forgot to hand over my book to be autographed. D'oh!

The Castle itself looked even more magnificent than usual with the children's cover of the HPB displayed right across the walls and all the torches and banners made the place even more like Hogwarths. When Jo walked through the archway into the inner courtyard fireworks went off.
Same thing happened when the time came for her to read the book.

After she'd gone inside we only had to wait a short time till THE MOMENT arrived. As soon as she appeared on the giant screen everyone went silent. She said 'Hello' told us she was going to read to us. I was so excited at this point that I don't remember what she said about which chapter she was going to read from. When she started reading, her voice was a little bit trembly, but she must have realised that we were all holding our breath and absolutely enthralled and relaxed into it. Spellbinding doesn't come close. As soon as she finished we all burst into spontaneous applause and I really did cry then. Don't know why. Must have been all the pent up emotion of the build up to the event and then to have had the chance to personally congratulate her on her achievement was fantastic. I think it was also because she was so obviously in tune with all of us and must have been feeling so proud and close to tears herself.

Not long after the reading we made our way down to Prince's Street to buy extra copies of the book. It really was a magical evening and I can't thank Bloomsbury enough for inviting us to join the celebrations.
**Thansk again to Millie for this. ;)

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