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Published: Friday, 6/20/2003

`Harry Potter' fan ready for odyssey

BY TAD VEZNER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Angela Wyse will be leaving her hometown of Tecumseh, Mich., for perilous adventures in faraway lands.

Well, maybe her adventures won't be terribly perilous, but she's about to complete a quest - along with nine other young Americans - to meet J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter book series.

Angela, 14, is one of the winners of the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix essay contest sponsored by Scholastic, the American publisher and distributor of the Harry Potter books.

Fans were asked to write a 300-word essay on the question, “If you could have one special power taught at Hogwarts, what would it be and why?”

Angela wrote in her winning essay that “When a teacher asks, `Why didn't you do your homework?' and I yell back `Obliviate!' ... she just stares at me blankly.”

For that reason, she decided that memory charms would be her power of choice.

But she doesn't think she'll be able to forget her trip.

Along with the other winners, she's been invited to Royal Albert Hall in London on June 26 to hear Ms. Rowling read from her latest novel, due in stores tomorrow.

The reading will be broadcast live via the Internet at 11 a.m. EST at www.msn.co.uk/harrypotter.

Seeing Ms. Rowling read is something Angela says she's “really, really, really excited about.”

“It will be us and about 4,000 British kids,” Angela said. “But we'll be able to ask some questions. They'll just get to look at her.”

In preparation, she's been practicing her British accent for the past few weeks.

And when asked what she thought of her favorite book from the series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, she replied, “It's brilliant.”

Like many Americans, when asked why - exactly - she likes the Harry Potter books, she said she “still hasn't figured that out yet.”

But she likes them a lot.

Three Christmases ago, she completed the entire set.

Now she has at least two of each volume - “one copy in hard cover, and then one paperback copy that I can write notes in to myself. And a couple extra copies of the fourth book that different people gave me as gifts at the same time. Also an extra copy of the Chamber of Secrets in French that I'm trying to read.

“Oh, and when I go to England, I'm picking up another version in British,” she said.

A British version? Isn't it the same?

“Not exactly,” she replies. “It has different slang.”

“But my favorite character is Ron,” Angela said. “The way he acts reminds me a lot of myself.”

But what about poor Harry?

“I like that he's brave and everything,” Angela said. “But he can be boring. He's not as fun as Ron.”

Still, Angela's Hermionic nature comes out when she's asked what she plans to ask Ms. Rowling when they meet for their scheduled 10 minutes after the reading.

“I don't know exactly, but I plan to get together with the other winners beforehand and create a list to save time. It will be very organized that way,” she said.

Angela will spend her first time in London staying at the Royal Garden Hotel, where the Beatles were known to stay.

“She's going to touch every doorknob to make sure she touches the one the Beatles touched,” said her mother, Heide Kaminski.

Ms. Kaminski, also a J.K. Rowling fan, will accompany her daughter on the trip.

Angela also plans to dine at Launceston Place on Launceston Place Road, which she's heard was Princess Diana's favorite restaurant.



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