Seventh and final Harry Potter launched in Czech

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After months of anticipation, and several unauthorized versions finding their way onto the internet, the Czech translation of the seventh and final Harry Potter book has been released. On Wednesday night, hundreds queued for a copy of Harry Potter a Relikvie Smrti – the Czech version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The official launch was held at Kanzelsberger bookshop, and organized by Klára Honzíková, to whom I spoke earlier today. She said she was happy with attendance at the launch:

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“Well, the bookstore is always packed, and so I think there were about 500, 600 people, I guess.”

And what sort of programme of events could they take part in?

“The programme started at 10am, we had different competitions mostly for kids, but then the main programme started at 7pm. We had different types of competitions, but this was mostly for older fans. There was also a discussion with Pavel Medek, who is the translator of the books. There was also a magician, so there was a lot to see.”

This is the seventh Harry Potter book, so how did this compare with the other launches of previous Harry Potter books?

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“I think it was quite similar. I think this was the third time we’ve done this in the bookstore. The attendance was around the same. Maybe this time it was a little bit higher because this was the last book. I think it turned out great.”

You said that the evening programme was slightly more for Harry Potter’s older fans, but were there lots of children up past their bedtime as well?

“Yes, but not too many. I’d say like 100, or maybe not that much, more like 50, 60. But they were tired, they were sleepy, but there were a few fans who were so patient that they waited until midnight to get the book.”

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Why do you think that this whole Harry Potter phenomenon really has captured people’s imaginations all over the world, including in the Czech Republic, in just the way it has?

“Well, if you read the book, you’ll know. It’s a wonderful book, it’s beautifully written. And it has this combination of magic and the real world. So you feel like it really could happen to you. So, you think that maybe sometime you’ll get the letter and go to Hogwarts school.

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So I think that it is this that makes it more real.”

And what is your own personal relationship with the Harry Potter books? Because I know that you are one of the founding fathers of a fan-site dedicated to them.

“Well it’s quite an interesting story. Because I started reading the books to one of my younger friends five years ago, before that I didn’t know the books, but then it kind of captured me, and I fell in love with the books. At that time I was in the States, and when I got back to the Czech Republic I had a look to see if there was some sort of fan-club or something. And so then we started a website, which became the biggest website in the Czech Republic, which has thousands of hits every day.”