Times Evokes Ire of Potter Fans

It’s hard out there for a Potterhead these days. When the New York Times reviewed the book in yesterday’s print edition after a reporter found a copy errantly on sale in a Chelsea bookstore in Manhattan, fans didn’t hesitate to take a little of that angst and frustration out on the newspaper.

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It’s hard out there for a Potterhead these days. With the countdown to the last installment of the Harry Potter series down to single digits this week--the book debuts to the world tonight at midnight--the legions of loyal fans are an agitated bunch. Not only do they have the fate of all their favorite characters to sweat over; they also have to avoid the constant threat of someone spoiling the outcome ahead of time as copies leak out and mischief-makers post copies on the Internet.

So when the New York Times reviewed the book in yesterday’s print edition after a reporter found a copy errantly on sale in a Chelsea bookstore in Manhattan, fans didn’t hesitate to take a little of that angst and frustration out on the newspaper. By 6 p.m., the newspaper’s public editor, Clark Hoyt, posted a response in which he said the paper was flooded with E-mail from irate fans accusing the Times of spoiling the story.

As Hoyt pointed out, the review, by Michio Kakutani, does not contain much by way of plot details, though it does confirm that--unlike, say, The Sopranos--most of the story is resolved by the end.

Alas, the generally fair reasoning from Hoyt was lost on many of the fans. The original post about the review on MuggleNet.com, the premier destination for Harry Potter news on the Web, received thousands of comments (though many appear to be spam copies of one comment defending the Times), and the subject was the second-most-discussed topic on the blogosphere yesterday, according to BlogPulse.com.

--Chris Wilson