Potter has Dubai spellbound

DUBAI — At 3.01am, the gleeful nine-year-old Katya Sheth ran into Magrudy’s, received her pre-ordered copy of the Deathly Hallows, struggled to hold the book high in her small hands, and gasped: "I like the magic. And Hermione!" She then sprinted away to immerse herself in the spell-binding story.

By Zoe Sinclair

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Published: Sun 22 Jul 2007, 9:16 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:17 AM

Hundreds of fans began lining up outside bookshops across the UAE from early Friday evening with some dedicated fans, like 13-year-old Abdulla Moaswes, travelling from Sharjah to Ibn Battuta Mall where some of the biggest celebrations were held.

As Potter aficionados joined the serpentine queues, a magician conjured card tricks and stilt walkers amused the visitors, while at other malls, coffee after coffee was served, wizard quizzes completed and wands and witches' hats created.

Hibah Abuhamdieh, 14, her sisters and friends waited nine and a half hours in a queue, until 3.01am yesterday, to be among the first few to get their hands on the last book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in JK Rowling’s series.

But why? As Hibah said, “It’s different from any other book. When you start reading it, you can’t stop.”

Hibah has read the series several times and the sixth book, her favourite, 11 times. Sarah Husain, 21, stood in the queue from 9pm on Friday and remarked, “Some people do go a bit overboard,” but wasn’t taking any chance with her copy.

“I’ve reserved a copy, but I wanted to get my hands on the book as soon as possible,” she said.

In the run-up to the book’s worldwide launch at 3.01am due to an embargo and high security, avid readers of the hugely popular series re-read previous instalments and made their predictions for the final book.

“Ron and Hermione will die and Harry will have to kill Voldemort all on his own,” Sarah said.

Rohit Iyengar, 12, had an even more dire conclusion. “Harry Potter is going to have to kill himself because he finds out Voldemort is part of him,” he said.

But despite all the hints from the author and predictions from readers, the fans said nothing would beat reading the book, something sales have already indicated.

Jashanmal's Retail, Marketing and Development Manager Nusrat Ebrahim said the store had recorded more than 1,800 reservations for the book and, according to media reports Amazon had 2.2 million orders.

Meanwhile, at Jashanmal's Mall of the Emirates, 'Harry Potter' himself, well Dhaval Dave of India, made a special appearance to launch the first book.

After he waded through a frenzy of Potter fans, he pulled out the first book to the cheers and applauds of the ecstatic crowd.

No sooner did children and adults alike get their hands on the book then the first page was turned, the last page only hours away for many as they planned to lock themselves in their rooms and homes devoid of any possible interruptions to find out exactly what is in store for Harry Potter and his friends.

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