Saturday, January 19, 2013

Harry Potter Quandry

Contrary to popular belief, the first edition of most of the Harry Potter books will not provide you with a pension. This is a good thing because I don't know what I would have done today when this copy of the first edition of the Goblet of Fire fell into my hands. Normally, with all reverence for a series I have really loved, I would have let the thing slip from my fingers and move on. However, fate or perhaps a friendly Patronus nudged my arm and I opened this one. Inside, a golden envelope. It was like being Charlie Bucket, a small sliver of gold hope tucked between the cover and the endpaper.

As you can read for yourself, the envelope was a part of a promotion by Amazon for the early-orderers of the book and it may have contained a ticket to Los Angeles, or perhaps a consolation prize of a £100 Amazon gift voucher... and it hadn't been opened...

What to do? I surprised even myself with how long it took me to decide whether to open it or not. On the one side was the collector in me, the lover of the pristine, the original condition, the unopened... on the other side was the romantic fool: what if the prize had never been won, what if there was a £100 voucher inside? Would Amazon honour it out of simple affection for the story of a lost book in a secondhand bookshop waiting thirteen years to be opened? How was it possible that the original owner of this book had so little interest? How could they have born the weight of not knowing. I certainly couldn't. A trembling finger pushed under the edge of the envelope and opened it.

Nothing... of course I hadn't won... but for just five or so minutes before that was confirmed I was already, in my head, half way to Los Angeles...

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