Picture me. Young, naïve, innocent. It’s about 2 months ago. I’m trawling the Exclusive Books website (as I do for fun, sometimes) and see that the new Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, is available for pre-ordering. I squeal in anticipation. I order it.
Now, picture me again when I find out that I’m not allowed to collect my book at the launch, and that the book is only going to be delivered THREE DAYS after said launch, meaning that a whole bunch of people, who didn’t even pre-order the book, are going to read it before me.
“That’s OK”, I snivel. “I’ve got an invitation to the Midnight Party. I’ll go for the vibe at the party, dress up, miss the queuing and just read the book a little later than everyone else”. So yeah – don’t be worried about any spoilers from this post, because I don’t actually know any (despite some solid efforts from my Facebook friends).
Instead, I’m going to chat about the event. I have a few thoughts, but before I share them, LOOK AT MY GOLDEN SNITCH OUTFIT. And before you ask: no, I haven’t got all of the gold off yet. But my bedsheets tried real hard to collect some of it.
- They shouldn’t have called it a party
I actually feel quite sorry for Exclusive Books – as much as they’re a top business that has been doing this stuff for years and should’ve known better, they essentially delivered what they’re here to deliver: books.
So, either it was an oversight, or some noob in marketing needs to be fired, or everyone was just too excited for the new book to forward plan very far. But, essentially: whoever’s idea it was to describe the event as a “party” done fucked up.
My sympathy for EB is mainly because it was a great launch. The coolest I’ve been to, and I can say this having actually been to a lot of book launches.
If they’d advertised the event as a “midnight launch”, I can’t imagine too many people would’ve been disappointed. And, if they were, it would’ve been their own fault.
But it was kind of like being invited to a cupcake party, only to be presented with a bran muffin on arrival. I mean, bran muffins are delicious. They’re just not cupcakes. So regardless of how good those muffins are, you’re going to make some cupcake enthusiasts angry.
They didn’t call it a launch, though. The Facebook page clearly stated that it was “a midnight party in anticipation of the launch of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”. This suggests two things, yeah? It suggests a party, which is being thrown in anticipation of the launch?
- Why this is actually a problem
People have freaked out – more than when people were throwing water on themselves for ALS. It seems quite petty to get annoyed about there not having been a party, because the main objective is to buy the book, yes? Well, actually, no. That’s not quite how it is. A lot of people had, like myself, pre-ordered the book and some people, being Harry Potter enthusiasts, just wanted to dress up and have a party.
Again, if they’d just set up a couple of disclaimers, this could have been avoided. Nobody knew what was going on once they arrived – all they knew was that the RSVP process was hella tiring, so they expected to be presented with something worth that process.
I wandered around, with my entire body painted gold, for at least an hour before the hard reality sunk in: there wasn’t anything to do, other than wait in line for the book. Which was awkward, considering I didn’t need to buy the book, along with a lot of people.
- Harry Potter fans are the best
Apart from the meanie-bo-beanie who accused me of trying to cut the line (bitch), Harry Potter fans are my favourite types of people. There’s just a connection, you know? You know they’ve cried around similar times you have, or laughed, or stayed up until an inappropriate hour in the morning on a school night because “one more chapter” turned into 7.
I’ve arrived at parties in costume before and felt like the Tornado amongst Tinkerbells – mm, that happened, the “T” themed party that left most of the invited guests in fairy costumes left me wrapped in bubble wrap with dolls sticky-taped to it. This can sometimes make me cautious when dressing up for something. But I’m never worried when it comes to Harry Potter cosplay. Harry Potter fans always have your back.
- Facebook lynch mobs are terrifying
My final thought regarding the event: what on earth is up with people and complaining about stuff on Facebook? I realise it’s a useful way of getting things sorted, but people just take it way too far. The sass is mindblowing. Look at some of the stuff people have been posting on the event page:
Ja’feel, Linda. You waited for 4 hours. Like, sorry man, Fred. I’m sure Exclusive Books didn’t mean to destroy your childhood (?! People are that dramatic). But like… What are you trying to achieve here? Complaining on public platforms for the sake of complaining, even when you know nothing can be done, casts the most intense Confundus Charm on me.
Ok. Yeah. They messed up. They missed a massive opportunity. As discussed in point 3, this is exactly the market that would’ve been tapped by a bar that served potions instead of drinks. And instead, there was a glorified line. But how is starting a “we demand an apology” page going to help you? I can understand complaining to Maynards because you got a mouldy wine gum in your packet and you want some new ones (been there, done that). In that situation, there’s something they can do to quell your distress (and let me just tell you – mouldy wine gums are unbelievably stressful). So what are we wanting now? Do you want them to relaunch the book?
Someone is going to go onto the page and say, “sorry”. Then we’re done? Is that enough? Is that the justice you’re looking for? Come now. Go read the book and stop wasting your time clogging up my notifications with lamentations about your son, Billy, being exhausted.
Again, I want to stipulate: it was a really, really fun launch. I love Harry Potter and I love dressing up and I love seeing other people dressed up. A huge S/O to all of the people who grabbed my arm shouting “I CAUGHT YOU” as I walked past. Even bigger S/O for thinking you were the only ones who had done it. It was just a pity they oversold it like they did and that they weren’t more clear about what we should’ve expected. Anyway, book review to come – just got to get the cursed thing first (hehe, see what I did there?)