by: Sam Bennett, John Bruce was the first person to pick up a copy of the newest Harry Potter book from the Lake Oswego Public Library.


By now, the mysteries of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows' have been revealed.

But the grip that the long-awaited release of the seventh, and final, book in the hyper-popular fictional series by British author J.K. Rowling had on Lake Oswego and West Linn youths and adults is not likely to be released anytime soon.

Between a debate on the literary merits of the book at the West Linn Public Library and then a 'Grand Hallows Ball' release celebration Friday night at the Borders bookstore at Bridgeport Village, the last few days have certainly been a dream for Harry Potter lovers.

John Bruce, 72, was the first person to walk into the Lake Oswego Public Library - 40 minutes after it opened - and pick up a reserved copy of the book.

Bruce is a die-hard Harry Potter fan and was lucky enough to have his wife, a library volunteer, put him first on the waiting list.

'There is nothing really profound about (the book),' he said. 'It's just a good story.'

He read the book in three days, and was slightly disappointed at the hyped-up ending, where he says Rowling 'got anxious.'

'There really is no satisfactory resolution to everything,' he said. 'The ending sort of falls apart.'

Still, Bruce said he would recommend the series to anyone.

Out of 25 copies of the book purchased by the Lake Oswego library, 14 reserved books remain on the shelf for pick-up. There are currently 108 holds on the 25 copies.

For those who can't wait, 12 copies are also available for rent by the day.

'We think everybody bought them at bookstores,' said Cyndie Glazer, library volunteer coordinator.

Graham's Books and Stationery has sold about 60 copies of the book, which were put on reserve weeks ago by customers. There are about 20 copies still waiting to be picked up, much to the surprise of bookseller Kathy Robinson.

'A lot of people are out of town and wanted to make sure they got one,' she added. 'Many families share one copy. I heard one parent say 'This time, I'm reading it first!''

Robinson, herself a Harry Potter fan, hasn't had time to sit down and read the book.

Alissa Greenberg, 16, an incoming junior at West Linn High School led the Harry Potter discussion with about 30 other youths at the West Linn Public Library.

'I'm bouncing up and down,' Greenberg said.

'It was just the idea that this would be the last opportunity (for) Harry Potter fans to come together that started the idea for this debate,' she said. 'I think everyone has (grown up with Harry Potter). I think that's why the Harry Potter story has been so acceptable.'

Greenberg is on the library's teen advisory board and represents a fraction of the millions of kids who have been turned on to reading thanks, in no small part, to Harry Potter.

'It's a huge phenomenon,' said Elaine Spence, West Linn Library teen services librarian.

The West Linn Library received 10 copies of the book that were kept under lock and key until the release. The waiting list to check out a copy for all the libraries in Clackamas County on Friday was 520 people long.

The security was so tight, to prevent any copies from surfacing before the big date or any plot lines escaping, that anybody at the library dealing with the shipment had to sign an affidavit that they wouldn't even look at the book.

'It's just such a huge event,' Spence said. 'We knew (the debate) would be a natural event around it.'

At the debate, kids argued whether Harry would survive, who was bad and who was good.

'I think Snape is good,' Greenberg said of one of the book's more shifty characters. 'I think Harry is going to die. No, I don't think Harry is going to die.'

The answers are in the words.

Afterward most of the kids from the debate and more gathered at Borders for the celebration of the book's midnight release.

Harry Potter fans are invited to complete a 15-question trivia quiz on the Lake Oswego library Web site: ww.lakeoswe

Those who answer 10 questions correctly will receive a prize. The quiz is also available in the library's children's room through August.

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