Report from Jo’s Signing at the Natural History Museum

Jul 23, 2007

Posted by: Melissa Anelli


Our lovely reader Katherine was one of the lucky people who got in to get their Deathly Hallows signed by Jo on release night; she sends the following report! Thank you Katherine!

I got to the Natural History Museum at about 2:20 a.m., and at the gate there were a few of Bloomsbury’s people dressed in red t-shirts with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” written on them. I joined the 3am queueue (there were 2 queueues – one was for the people in the 2am queue, which ran from the door of the mueseum, down the slope and back up in a U shape – they were letting people in in groups of about 50 at a time – and the other queue was really more of a ‘holding area’ for people who where already there for the 3am signing).

I waited in there for nearly an hour, every now and then one of the Bloomsbury people would come down with a big box full of ‘innocent’ smoothies. They were really yummy, and what’s more the ‘smoothie face’ (it’s their logo!) on the front was riding a broomstick! Some of the people in my queueue had come down early and seen a couple from America who had flown to London especially thinking that they would be able to blag their way in once they got here. They failed, it was very strict. No ticket, no entry! There where a few children in the queueue – some of them wearing wizard robes with wands trying to jinx their mother/brother/sister or whoever had brought them. 🙂 Mostly the people there were in their early 20’s or older though.

Once everyone in the 2am queue had been moved into the museum we were moved up to the queue at the front of the museum. I waited in this one for another half hour or so, before I was let in (there where two groups let in before me). In front of me the main hall was blocked from view by a red curtain. People where coming out on the left hand side of it through a large gap (it looked gorgeous!). On the far right there was a table with Bloomsbury’s people checking names and ID on guest lists. I was given a bookmark with my queue number on (1165) and was let through into the Natural History Museum’s gift shop. On the left there was a LONG table covered in orange gift bags with THE symbol on the sides, and there were few people handing out the bags. I got mine and had a quick peak inside…. squee!

I followed the room round and came out on a long corridor with hundreds of cushons strewn along the floor, and there were people sitting everywhere reading. I found my self a little corner and explored my gift bag – there was another smoothie, a couple of Harry Potter balloons, some stickers, a quiz sheet, a Deathly Hallows poster, and the book (the book had a little holographic sticker in the top right corner to show that this would be a real autograph).

There was also a post-it and a pencil so that i could write my name for jo to write in the book. I got chatting quickly to man who had come by himself as well (i dont think either of us thought we would win so never bothered putting down anyone elses name- i know that was true for me!), then i read the first 1 and a half chapters before my number got called. I walked through the red curtain into the main hall which was lit in red and magenta, and joined yet ANOTHER queue, where i finished reading the second chapter. As I got about halfway round the queue (there were about 150 people in this queue I’d guess, a woman came over the tannoy saying that Jo had been signing constantly since not long asfter midnight, and now just after 4 a.m., she needed a break, so I settled myself on the floor and read the next two chapters.

At about 4.45 Jo came back into the room to huge applause and the signing continued. I only had to wait about 15 minutes and then it was my turn.

Jo’s helper passed her my book and she said ‘Hello,’ to which i said (I tend to babble when im nervous….) “You werent joking when you said it was a bloodbath were you?!” The helper panicked and said “Don’t say anything! Don’t say anything!’ I think they thought had read one of the leaked copies – I hadnt! So i said to her “Dont worry, I won’t, then to Jo, “I’ve just read chapter four…” The helper relaxed.

As I walked out there was a table next to the door with a pair of books and a big pile of pens. A sign read “Now J.K. Rowling has signed your books, why don’t you sign one of hers?” I wrote something in one of the books, and waited out side for my ride home. The sun had risen. I met a group of people outside the gates who had come from America (they had been staying in oxford, and after going to a midnight release there had travelled down by train to the Museum in hopes of catching a glimpse of Jo on her way out, I hope they were succesful!) who where really lovely, before going home…. 🙂

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.