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Harry Potter fans wait the last few hours for the final book's release
Potter Mom and son
Danene Sapp and Matthew Tyler - photo by ARAINA REAVES/Staff
     Harry Potter fans in Bulloch County and everywhere are filled with anticipation and mixed emotions today as the release date of the seventh and final book is within a few short, but horribly long hours.
        "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" by JK Rowling is set to be released Saturday, and many businesses will begin selling the book and 12:01 a.m. The Statesboro Wal-Mart and The Book and Cranny on 301 South will both play host to release party events leading up to the midnight hour.

The final book
        In an interview on British TV on June 26, 2006, JK Rowling made a statement that sent shock through Potter fans.
        "One character got a reprieve, but I have to say two die that I didn't intend to die,"  Rowling said.
        When asked about Harry’s fate, Rowling left the answer vague.
        "I've never been tempted to kill him, Harry, off before the end of book seven, because I always planned seven books and that's where I want to go.”
        She went on to say in the interview that she realizes and understands why the main character, such as Harry, may be killed in the final book. She said she feels that the original  author may want to save their work from having a sequel written by another author.

The fans
       Following the death promise from Rowling, fans have different opinions on the outcome.
       Erin Trerice, a reader who doesn’t want to be betrayed by Rowling, believes that Harry won't die.
       “I think Hagrid will die because his death wouldn’t be as devastating as, say, Ron’s would be,” Trerice said. “I also think Hermione may die because Harry is the main character and Ron has been picked on the whole time. She’s the only one left.”
       Van Heath, a more quiet but devoted fan, believes Harry will overcome evil but only if a price is paid.
       “I believe that Harry will prevail, but in a bittersweet way,” said Heath. "One of his friends will have to sacrifice their life for Harry to prevail over Voldemort.”
        As for how they’re feeling about this being the last book, the fans seem to have mixed emotions.
        Danene Sapp and Matthew Tyler, a mother and son duo of Harry Potter fans, have different emotions about the book.
        “Matthew is kind of bummed that it's the final book. He really enjoys reading them,” Sapp said. “Personally, I think it's a bit of both. It's going to be kind of sad knowing that this is the end, but the end of one thing almost always means the beginning of something new and exciting.”

Release details
        Wal-Mart will be hosting a release party Friday, and according to the event will start at 8 p.m. Trivia challenges, exclusive keepsakes, and a possible costume contest are all on the agenda.
        Michelle Young, vender for Anderson Merchandisers, worked with Wal-Mart to plan the release of the book in Statesboro. According to Young, the books will be brought out at 11:59 p.m. Friday, set up at 12:00 a.m., and can be checked out at 12:01 a.m. Saturday by the masses.
        “Last year there were about 300 people waiting on the books in Wal-Mart,” Young said. “There is usually enough books to meet the demand throughout the weekend, but we tend to sell out during the following week.”
        Young also said she believes the book will be sold for less than the list price of $34.95.
        The Book and Cranny will also be hosting a release party starting at 10 p.m. Fans can show up in costume for a costume contest, and a trivia contest will unveil the most knowledgeable Potter fan there.
        Debbie Campbell at The Book and Cranny said that pre-orders were taken through Thursday, but Friday purchases will have to wait until release time. She said the books will be sold for the list price of $34.95.
    Kmart in Statesboro will carry "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," but will sell during regular store hours starting Saturday.
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