Security tightened for Potter debut

30th June 2000 at 01:00
The Hogwarts Express - the train for fledgling wizards - will travel for real next week. Geraldine Hackett and Geraldine Brennan report

MUGGLE families arriving in their hundreds at King's Cross station in London on July 8 are likely to find their route to the platform nine-and-three quarters blocked by security guards.

Details of the photocall for the launch of the latest book about the young wizard Harry Potter have appeared on a children's website and there are fears that loads of Muggles (people from the non-wizard world) will want to visit the specially-created Hogwarts Express, the train that takes students to wizards' school in the best-selling children's books by JK Rowling.

The prospect that her station might be besieged by fans began to dawn on Jenny Kaye, station manager, this week.

"Because of the number of inquiries, I have taken steps to ensure the safety and security of any visitors. We couldn't allow hundreds of children in," she says.

Bloomsbury's website has been giving the wrong train time . As a result the Muggles might not get there in time. It says the event akes place at 11am, but the train is scheduled to leave King's Cross at 10.50am.

The publishers, Bloomsbury, say they are not to blame for misleading anyone.

The event, says its press office, has always been billed as a photocall. While JK Rowling will be there, she will not be signing books, even if any Muggles have managed to get their hands on the new one. Book signing won't begin until the train's first stop at Didcot. However there are two book signing events planned for London later in July.

Unless any Muggles can borrow Harry Potter's invisibility cloak, they may not get to platform nine-and-three-quarters.

The burning questions likely to be answered in the new book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire , are: who's going to be Potter's puppy love? Brainy Hermione would have more sense, his best mate's sister Ginny is too keen. So it must be that girl who caught his eye on the Quidditch pitch in book three.

Who's going to die? JK Rowling has said someone's going to. The playground pollsters favour Professor Dumbledore because he's very old and he's the headmaster.

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