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As the crowd outside Anderson's Bookshop counted down the seconds to midnight, the employees inside readied themselves behind a line of empty "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" boxes. Some stretched. Others fidgeted nervously.

And when the bewitching hour struck, several pulled away a midnight blue sheet to reveal an enormous stack of the orange-covered books stretching down an entire aisle and standing chest-high.

Earlier in the evening we had the chance to turn the tables on the hosts of The Leaky Cauldron’s PotterCast, in Naperville for the countdown to the release of the final Harry Potter book. They shared their thoughts on the legacy of Harry Potter, their plans to read "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" and why it’s not so bad to be a Hufflepuff.

Hogwarts’ Divination professor, Sibyll Trelawney, isn’t known for her accurate predictions. But when several palm readers sat down at their crystal balls in Anderson’s Bookshop from 7 to 10 p.m., we thought we’d see what they saw in our futures.

On the window outside Anderson’s, three sheets of parchment bear predictions for the seventh Harry Potter book -- questions that in mere hours we will have answered.

Some anonymous readers share their clairvoyance.

After a long day strolling through Diagon Alley, these two reporters were looking forward to sitting down with a frothy pint of butterbeer, a favorite refreshment of young wizards and witches served at the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade.

In the Harry Potter books, the magical brew is a warm drink that heats you up from the inside, and the taste has been described by J.K. Rowling in interviews as “a less-sickly butterscotch.”

At least three different vendors served up the sugary stuff at The Party That Shall Not Be Named, offering three different interpretations. And we had the difficult job of deciding which was best.

Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. Three downtown businesses claimed the ability to separate the "brave of heart" of Hogwarts' Gryffindor house from the "cunning folk" who live in Slytherin with the Hogwarts Sorting Hat.

Are three hats better than one? We decided to sort things out for ourselves.


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Luna Lovegood and Ginny Weasley with Ginny's pet Pygmy Puff, Arnold.

Sisters Becky, 15, and Katie, 13, Gehrmann heard about The Party That Must Not Be Named on The Leaky Cauldron's PotterCast. They drove in from Madison, Wis., with their parents Thursday night.

Long before we learned of Hogwarts, Muggles tried to capture the magic of the wizarding world. At the Naperville Public Library, we got to see how Muggle magic measures up to the real thing.


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Mad-Eye Moody and Bellatrix LeStrange crossing Washington Street at Chicago Avenue.

Oak Park siblings Josh, 17, and Liz Dampf, 21, found The Party That Shall Not Be Named by Googling Harry Potter events in the area.

At Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour in Diagon Alley, Fortescue served up free ice cream sundaes and homework help to Harry Potter.

At Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlor in Naperville, formerly known as Cookie Dough Creations, ice cream was served by 19-year-old Erin Vogel Friday.

The wizarding world is a small one, it seems, as Emily had met Vogel, a student at College of DuPage from Naperville, Tuesday night while standing in line for a Harry and the Potters concert at the Chicago Public Library’s Harold Washington Library Center.

Naperville Potluck

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