At 12:01 AM last night (Thursday night/Friday morning), people of all ages across America gathered together in theaters as the famous theme music played, and the name of the beloved “Boy Who Lived” emerged from the clouds, and so the end of Harry Potter began.
Approximately 2 hours later, some of us with teary red eyes, costumed fans clutching wands and owls traipsed from their seats out into the theater’s atrium. Shocked and stunned faces floated through the hallways, all of us exhilarated by the brilliance of the movie and stunned at how quickly this enormous franchise seemed to come to an end. One moment, Harry Potter was a ordinary boy living in the cupboard under the stairs, and the next he is a courageous grown wizard, facing down the most evil wizard of all time in an epic “Wizard Lightning Battle”—everything in between from dragons and dungeons to love and lost friends, the story of Harry Potter has captured the hearts and minds of millions of fans across the world. Harry needn’t make a Horcrux to render himself immortal—the fans have taken care of that, and Harry’s extraordinary story will live in us forever.
The crew of Three@Sea, being massive Harry Potter fans, arrived at the IMAX 3D theater in our local area at 10:00 am. Fully decked out in my Luna Lovegood costume (complete with homemade Dirigible Plum earrings, a butterbeer cork necklace, and Spectraspecs), we waited in line for 14 hours, enjoying animated conversation with other early-arrival Potterites and watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One, all anxiously preparing ourselves for the moment when the clock struck twelve and the much
anticipated saga closing would commence. The theater, by 9:00, was in chaos with thousands of Potter fans (4,000 tickets were sold for that theater alone!) dressed in all manner of magical garb, waving their wands and throwing themselves into the roll. Among those present were Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy, Dobby the House Elf, Moaning Myrtle, Rita Skeeter, Dolores Umbridge, Bellatrix Lestrange, Voldemort, and many, many more. The mood was high and excitement was strung through the air, tangible and electrifying. People rushed with their cameras to snap photos with all those decked out in costume, and though most everyone there had never met the others before, there was no awkwardness or standoffishness—everyone was there to have a good time, and as all fellow Potterites, we were going to do just that. Reenactments of A Very Potter Musical followed broom races and Quidditch games, while Lucius and Narcissa (in character down to the last frown) won the costume contest. Then, by 11:30 pm, people made their way into the theater where seats were taken and the breathless final half hour began (accompanied by cheers).
If you haven’t seen the movie yet, this is not a review— I will let you decide for yourself as to the quality of this final piece, but I shall offer my own opinion too (spoiler alert!). It was brilliant! Down to the last line, the last costume, the last set, and the last detail, this conclusion of epic proportions was everything I had hoped it would be and even more. There was nothing they could have done better. Emotions ran high, and from the plummeting drop through Gringotts’s endless cavern to the final moment between our beloved trio, the dazzling Part 2 lived up to every expectation I had possibley set. There was no disappointment. I cried when Fred, and Lupin, and Tonks, and Snape died. I laughed at Ron’s randomly hilarious lines, and cheered as Molly Weasley slammed Bellatrix Lestrange to the floor , and McGonagall dueled Snape in a fantastic showdown. And finally, I felt a sense of completion as Hermione, Harry, Ronald, and Ginny stood on Platform 9 3/4, their children aboard the Hogwarts Express, and watched the scarlet steam engine pull out of the station, knowing that this was the end. Goodbye, Harry Potter.
But, then again, is it ever REALLY goodbye? As Dumbledore once said, “Those who love us never really leave us.”, and as is the same with Harry Potter. To its fans, the Harry Potter series is more than a wonderful story of intricate imagination and whimsically woven beauty. To its fans, Harry Potter is a friend, and a best friend. A friend that is always there—the light we turn on in the dark. He carries beautiful messages. Patronuses teach us that a happy thought can send away
even the darkest corners of fear and sadness. Dumbledore and Voldemort, each in different ways, teach us to not fear death— “Do not pity the dead…pity the living, and above all, pity those who live without love.” Luna shows us that it is okay to be oneself and to never be afraid to be confident and happy with exactly who you are. The scintillating Hermione Granger makes it cool to be smart, Ron makes it cool to be ginger, and Neville shows us the value of growing and changing and coming into our own. And, above all, Harry Potter teaches us that love is more powerful than evil. That love, in every form and shape, can survive death and all other obstacles. Harry Potter has been a best friend to all his fans, and Harry Potter’s timeless messages will carry themselves seamlessly into the next generation. The fans who lived to see his books and movies arrive, and lived to watch his magnificent journey unfold will allow him to live in them forever, and we will one day (I hope) pass his adventure onto our children, and they to their grandchildren—whether or not Harry Potter is ever considered a classic doesn’t matter. To his fans, Harry will stand as a memory of both a wonderful decade, a wonderful childhood, and a wonderful, magical voyage.
I will let the magic of the final movie, and of the franchise as a whole speak for itself now. I have only four more words for Harry Potter fans:
Nitwit. Oddment. Blubber. Tweak.