Harry Potter

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The Harry Potter series is widely read by many CTYers, as it is in the outside world, and could be called an obsession for some. This especially came into play during Session 2 of both 2005 and 2007, around the time of the respective releases of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

In 2005, the 6th Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released the day before second session started. Many purchased their books before session, and although some CTYers stayed up reading the entire book the night before CTY, many brought it with them to camp. These students proceeded to spend the next week or so reading it. This mass reading was greatly promoted by at least one "Silent Reading" activity per day.

At the beginning of 05.2 at Carlisle, Site Director Bret Kramer said, "...and spoilers are against the rules! If I hear you telling someone that Malfoy dies..." [audible gasps, screams of fury, tears] "Hey, I'm kidding. I haven't even started it yet." He also told of a student from 2003, when Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released, who fell down the stairs of the HUB whilst reading the book and broke his arm.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The final installment of Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released on July 21st, 2007. This date happened to fall during the Second Session of CTY, on first Saturday. At many sites, among them Carlisle and Bethlehem, students were required to leave their books outside their doors each night so that nobody would try to read with a flashlight under the covers.

The eve of the release coincided with the first Friday dance at some sites (the book was released that midnight, technically Saturday).

At Lancaster, a "Wizard's Ball" theme was applied to the dance. The next day, Harry Potter and the Great Book Distribution was carried out. The bookstore on campus received a huge shipment. All students desirous of a book signed up into one of four houses: Gryffindor (preordered and prepaid), Slytherin (preordered but not prepaid), Ravenclaw (preordered and prepaid but are sent to Thomas instead because they preordered from a different source), and Hufflepuff (didn't preorder but desirous of purchase). The reading commenced with extreme speed. Most of Saturday, one could see dozens of CTYers prone on the Quads with their noses in books - the ones who hadn't locked themselves in their rooms for fear of spoilers, that is. The entire campus was practically held in limbo while a furious read-a-thon commenced. Meals were oddly hushed, as people were reading as they ate. The quad boasted a silence that was only broken by Adam Roush's banjo. Spoilers were declared contraband except in the Discussion Group activity; even so, one could spot certain youths walking around with spoilers written up and down their arms. After the majority had finished reading, though, there was hardly any discussion of the book at all.

At Carlisle, Harry Potter spoilers were declared contraband by the RAs and Site Director, who had not finished reading it yet. Nevertheless, spoiler fear ran rampant and terrorized those who had not yet read the book, spurring them on to even greater reading speeds, while "Harry Potter Discussion Group" quickly became an official activity.

While a release party was scheduled at Bristol, the complaining of one parent that their child could stay up until midnight pushed the release until the next morning.