The scene: The tiny town of Poessneck in a rural region of Germany. Darkness. An industrial building. People entering are frisked; their cars searched; guards and security cameras are everywhere. A meeting with international intrigue? The opening of a James Bond movie? No--it's the printing of the new Harry Potter book--or so the publisher, Bloomsbury, would like the world to believe.
According to press reports, the GGP printing company in Germany has printers, inspectors, and packers working 24/7 to print the seventh and last Harry Potter tome, The Deathly Hallows, in time for the publishing date of precisely 12:01 a.m. British Summer Time on Saturday, July 21.
Supposedly, to keep the plot from being leaked, workers, their belongings, and their cars are being subjected to searches coming into and out of the facility, and employees are on notice that anyone spilling the plot, smuggling out copies, or even betting on who will be killed in the plot, will be fired and/or sued. The number of books are being constantly counted and recounted, and security agents are on continuous walkabouts of the factory floor.
While this scenario has plausibility because the facility printed copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in 2005, the far-fetched aspect of the story is that the book is being printed " in total darkness " to prevent workers from reading it.
Running printing presses in the dark would be pretty difficult--and dangerous! And the European Union does have workplace safety rules.
Author J.K. Rowling has begged on her website (www.jkrowling.com) for "spoilers" not to "diminish the pleasure of the book" by disclosing the final plot. So is this a ruse to put reporters on the wrong track while the actual books are being printed elsewhere--under tight security and adequate lighting ? Or is it just more media hype (although this book certainly doesn't need it). The Internet is running rampant with rumors. Guess we will have to wait until next month to find out.
Sources: The Leaky Cauldron, In the News, and other media outlets.