My badge of Honor today is a wristband. My deluxe edition of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince still has the bright orange one tucked right inside the cover as a memento. The wristband is a must have, so get it - early. It means have a Midnight strategy in place if apparating to the local bookstore. The other way is waiting on Saturday with people sitting on front porches waiting for the familiar delivery logos on trucks. That wait would finish me off, plus I *heart* going to the bookstore.
Who knew getting such a beloved book would involve professional strategizing? First, sleep - a nap if possible, but most likely forget about it. Would seeing Order of the Phoenix at the movies be better than finishing up Book 6 so you can just dive right in fully in the moment? But that's getting too far ahead.
In southern California, there are all types standing in line for HP. Every now and then you have your garden fertilizer Aunt Petunia-like troll who screams shrilly you are going to Hell, as if that's persuasive. Little kids of every age spend hours on costumes. Magical Adults choose their favorite professor or Umbridge, Weasleys, Centaurs or a hapless Fudge because they have just gotten off work. Kids play games. Adults watch all the sugar from Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans and Butterbeer just send kids into sugar orbit. They haven't even waited in line yet. Scary!
Then there are the SPOILERS lurking online and in line, possibly in front of you, who will turn to the last page and may or may not keep it to themselves. Before the doors re-open, its fun to trade theories as long as you check that the fellow Wizarding person practices CONSTANT VIGILANCE about spoilers too. Jo Rowling condemned American Dementor leaks and is she ticked. Good. (No links, because I won't look!) Thwarting them requires some Fred & George Mischief Managed thinking - once in line, headphones, big ones, with jazz playing loudly. It means no clicking on any link for the next 24 hours that even feels Potterish. It's great having watched Keith Olbermann, MSNBC anchor, announce his fear of spoilers and getting redacted news memos about them from staff.
It means not talking to people as you get in or on your version of a Firebolt, Floo Powder or Thestral and go home. Set up a drink, pillows, napkins, snacks and when the sun comes up, keep reading - I hope I'm still smiling at the end through my grief knowing it is the very last time.