Today, Sean and I got to watch J.K. Rowling do a reading and Q&A session on the Toronto stop of her tour.
The reading was done at the Winter Garden Theatre downtown (which is the upper half of the Elgin theatre, one of the last stacked theatres in the world). This is one of the oldest and prettiest theatres in Toronto, and it was a great choice.
The reading was the second half of Chapter 19 of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. She got some microphone feedback right at the point where the words “complete arse” came up in the dialogue (you’d think it was planned, but I don’t know).
There were about 1000 people there, almost all students and their teachers. I’d never heard a room stay so quiet outside of coughing (cold season is starting here). There were people from every province and territory in Canada, which was really neat. I hope all the visitors enjoyed their time in Toronto.
The Q&A was not nearly as revelatory as the one in NYC last week – no one else came out of the closet today. The 12 questions answered were pre-selected from submitted questions by various students, so they were pretty tame. I wish they had picked book-specific questions that hadn’t already been asked. These kids are the internet generation – can’t they Google stuff? I’m probably just bitter because my question didn’t get chosen for answering.
At the end, Raincoast (the Canadian publisher of HP) brought out two huge books (they needed to be brought in on a dolly) filled with handwritten notes from readers from various events across the country. I don’t think she was expecting them as she said she didn’t want to cry so she’d read them later.
The signing went really quickly – they really had the assembly line down pat. It was amazing to watch her sign books and have a quick word with everyone who went through the line. She was extremely gracious throughout the whole event.My husband thanked her for getting kids and adults reading again, to which she replied “that is the best kind of compliment to get.” I said “thank you on behalf of the adult fans who couldn’t be here today” and she smiled and said “thank you”. (Husband got the win on this one.) The guy in front of us gave her a post-it with something written on it and he got a very emphatic thank you. Of course, I’m dying to know what it said.
I didn’t dare take any pictures (my camera and my cell phone both make noise when they take pictures), but since we were in a dimmed theatre, I can’t imagine they would have turned out anyway.