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A look into Harry Potter and The Cursed Child's journey in Dhaka

  • Published at 01:28 pm August 25th, 2016
A look into Harry Potter and The Cursed Child's journey in Dhaka

Once again, J K Rowling took the world by storm when she released Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a two part West End stage play written by Jack Thorne but based on an original new story by Thorne, Rowling and John Tiffany. While most Potterheads (a term used to describe avid Harry Potter fans) believed the Harry Potter universe came to a sad end with Rowling's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final novel of the series, they were left both shocked and ecstatic knowing that the Wizarding world was to be stirred, yet again. Although the book hasn't been written by Rowling, per say, and follows the format of a play, fans couldn’t be any less excited. The release of the play has led to the assembling of swarms of loyal fans as they impatiently waited to get their hands on the book.

Ever since the release of the first Harry Potter book almost twenty years ago, the fanbase for the Harry Potter realm has been growing at an exponential rate, with fans all over the world - including Dhaka. "I didn't even know there was going to be an eighth book! The moment I knew, it didn't matter whether it was a play or whether or not it was written by Rowling - it's still THE Harry Potter series!! How could I not read it?" shared Ummedun Nessa, a 25 year old student of IUB. Many others, share the same dedication and loyalty to the series, unable to contain their excitement for the eight edition to the series.

When we asked a few Harry Potter fans why they were so obsessed with the Wizarding world, many gave us hearty, impassioned responses. "My obsession with Harry Potter is inexplicable. A true ‘Potterhead’ never truly possesses a list of reasons justifying their fascination and loyalty towards the series. No offence to other fandoms, but Harry Potter books are the best literary influence a child can have growing up. The exciting wonders of the Wizarding world never failed to entice me," shared Ananya Ferdous, a Potterhead who found herself addicted to Rowling's words ever since she read the very first Harry Potter book. "With every book, the story became more intense and mature. As a result, I was growing old with Harry, Ron, and Hermione too. I cannot even begin to be able to express my gratitude to Rowling for blessing the muggle world with her brilliant writing," she added. Way before the eighth book was ready to hit the stands, Ananya had already made an online order for the original hardcover of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

"Although I am not convinced if it can be regarded as the eighth book, I am absolutely excited to enter the magical world again, after a nineteen year long wait"

While traffic signals at Gulshan, Dhandmondi and Panthapath had street vendors quickly selling off locally printed versions of the book, online sellers such as Go Bookish and PaperTree, had mounting orders they struggled to meet. Bookstores, on the other hand, also saw a rise in orders. The Dhaka Tribune sat down with Amina Rahman, proprietor of Bookworm, one of the country's oldest and best bookstores to find out how the book has faired in the Bangladeshi market. As one of the more reliable bookstores in the country, Rahman got the books directly from the publishing houses of Scholastic and Bloomsbury in Delhi, since the publishing dates in India are on track with the rest of the world.

How did Bookworm gear up for the release of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child? We placed our orders as soon as we received news of the new book. We were in touch with our suppliers and all I could ask from them was to ensure that we get the books right after the launch. I couldn't believe it when they promised that we could get it on the day of the official launch, provided that we use air mail.

Did you anticipate competition from vendors that sell the locally printed version of the book? I was nervous that people might not be willing to spend so much considering how such books get printed locally and become available in a short time, that too at a much reduced price. Since we were getting the books through airmail, this meant that the prices would soar up, so we decided to ask our customers on Bookworm's official Facebook page.

How were sales on the first day of the books release? Despite all our hurdles, the first few copies of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child landed in Dhaka an hour before the official launch time. In the months leading to the day, we received so many pre-orders that we sold out the first lot of copies within the very first day!

Are sales mostly concentrated in Dhaka? One would think that mostly the “elites” would come and buy them but you would be surprised to know the reality. People have been placing orders from all over the country and we have been delivering. It is truly amazing when you come across someone who may not be very fluent in English but are placing orders for the book.

Overall, how has the response been? Ever since the day of release, it has actually become quite the hassle to keep track of orders! The next three days after the release, we were blinded by the number of messages; people have been crying to me, begging for more copies. The second, and the larger lot sold out within the week it was brought in and now, the third one is also flying out the door as we have a lot of people buying the book everyday even though the local version is available. It's a phenomenon that simply won't quit! Harry Potter acts as a gateway drug to reading.

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