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'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' book release celebrated at Strand Bookstore

Unless you’ve been living in the Muggle World, you probably knew that “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” -- the eighth official installment of the much-beloved book series — was released in bookstores nationwide at midnight Saturday night. The “Cursed Child” is co-written by J.K. Rowling, playwright Jack Thorne and theater director John Tiffany.

The Strand Bookstore had one of the largest launch parties in the city Saturday night, selling nearly 1,000 preordered copies of the book.

The Strand transformed into a buzzing world full of magical creatures and wand-brandishing witches and wizards. Here’s who (and what) we spotted at the launch party.

Throughout the night, Hedwig swooped over and greeted
Photo Credit: Wendy Lu

Throughout the night, Hedwig swooped over and greeted people on the first floor.

If the results of your Pottermore sorting hat
Photo Credit: Wendy Lu

If the results of your Pottermore sorting hat quiz weren't enough to convince you, the sorting hat ceremony was the perfect place to find out whether you really belong to Ravenclaw.

The trolley lady from the Hogwarts Express made
Photo Credit: Wendy Lu

The trolley lady from the Hogwarts Express made an appearance at the Strand, selling Harry Potter notebooks, games and other goodies. Elsewhere in the store, brownies from Fat Witch bakery were passed out to witches and wizards waiting in line.

All of your favorite characters came to the
Photo Credit: Wendy Lu

All of your favorite characters came to the launch party, including Professor McGonagall, Moaning Myrtle and -- surprise! -- Luna Lovegood's Patronus (a hare, if you didn't know). Kayla Glander, who dressed up as McGonagall, is a math teacher at Warwick Valley High School, where she co-started Dumbledore's Army and a Harry Potter Alliance.

"[The books] are a good escape from reality, but has a lot of realistic themes that you can actually relate to," Glander said.

Her co-worker, Noreen Hanson (Moaning Myrtle), is part of a Harry Potter superfamily. She traveled from upstate Warwick with her daughters specifically for the launch party. At home, they have a "Ministry of Magic" sign above their toilet.

In one corner of the Strand, a large
Photo Credit: Wendy Lu

In one corner of the Strand, a large group of witches and wizards played Harry Potter trivia, with questions that should be easy for the ultimate Potterhead. Do you know what each of the Peverell brothers owned?

Instagram celeb Mylo the Shih Tzu (also known
Photo Credit: Wendy Lu

Instagram celeb Mylo the Shih Tzu (also known as Mylo_Tzutzu) came to join in on the Strand festivities, sporting a tie that featured the covers of all seven Harry Potter books. Mylo has watched all the movies, and his favorite is "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" because that's where Sirius Black was introduced, said his owner, Lisa Clark.

Behind the Strand's store windows stood a giant
Photo Credit: Wendy Lu

Behind the Strand's store windows stood a giant display of Harry Potter merchandise -- from 1,000-piece puzzles to unicorn figurines to various anniversary editions of the books to chess boards -- a reminder that the Harry Potter franchise will never die.

The night was long, so nobody can blame
Photo Credit: Wendy Lu

The night was long, so nobody can blame these Hogwarts students from Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Gryffindor for taking a break. They said the "Cursed Child" release party reminded them of previous midnight book launches, except everyone was older and "our parents aren't here," said Kourtney Bernard-Rance, 25.

Her sister, Nicole, added that "it's about time" for another Harry Potter book to come out. They don't mind that the book is formatted as a play rather than a novel. Regardless, it's new material.

"The parents are who we grew up with, and now they have kids," Nicole, 27, said of the original main characters in the books, including Harry, Ron and Hermione.

On the third floor, a Cornish Pixie flitted
Photo Credit: Wendy Lu

On the third floor, a Cornish Pixie flitted about as witches and wizards enjoyed a Harry Potter coloring activity.

The Cornish Pixie -- also known as Lesley Stevenson, 22 -- said she knew exactly what she wanted to dress up as for the launch party.

"I ran around New York City today and found some pieces that would work," said Stevenson, a superfan who wrote her academic thesis about the Harry Potter movies and "visual authorship."

As the clock dragged on, the Strand employees
Photo Credit: Wendy Lu

As the clock dragged on, the Strand employees began bringing out several books of "Cursed Child." Look, there they are! Accio, books!

At long last! At 12:01 a.m., the Strand
Photo Credit: Wendy Lu

At long last! At 12:01 a.m., the Strand finally began handing out the books.

High schoolers at the Bronx High School of
Photo Credit: Wendy Lu

High schoolers at the Bronx High School of Science and Queens High School for the Sciences at York College were all smiles with their fresh new copies of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child." What a night! Now, we can only hope J.K. Rowling comes out with a ninth book.

We can dream, right?

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