Fans gather for Harry Potter premiere in London

Jul 8, 2011

Harry Potter's saga is ending, but his magic
spell remains.
Thousands of fans from around the world
massed in London Thursday for the
premiere of the final film in the magical
adventure series.
They thronged Trafalgar Square, where a
soggy red carpet awaited the stars, and
nearby Leicester Square, where the movie
will be shown in a plush movie theater,
braving the inevitable London rain with
umbrellas, waterproofs and good cheer.
They came from around the world. Many
had camped out overnight, some for days.
Most were young adults who grew up with
the boy wizard and his adventures, and
could not pass up the chance to say
"It's our childhood _ we made friends
because of Harry Potter," said Luis
Guilherme, a 22-year-old graduate student
from Sao Paolo, Brazil. "I don't know how
my life would be without it. I would be less
imaginative, for sure, and less adventurous. I
would never be here in London.
"We'd never forgive ourselves if we didn't
come, one last time."
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part
2" depicts Harry's final confrontation with
the forces of evil Lord Voldemort _ an epic
showdown rendered, for the first time in
the series, in 3D.
The eighth and last film in the made-in-
Britain franchise was getting a lavish
premiere, with huge screens and banners in
Trafalgar Square and a nearby street
transformed into the magical shopping
thoroughfare Diagon Alley.
No one, however, could magic away the
London rain.
"Every single time it's like this," said Zoey
Lewis, 18. "Some people say the Death Eaters
(Voldemort's followers) make it rain."
Lewis, a student from Brentwood, east of
London, sheltered under an umbrella behind
a handmade "We Love Helena" banner _ her
tribute to Helena Bonham Carter, who plays
bad witch Bellatrix Lestrange in the movies.
"I love Harry Potter," she said. "It's been such
a big part of my life. I don't know what I'll
do without it."
The feeling is shared by he film's stars, who
like many of their fans grew up with the
The central trio _ Daniel Radcliffe, Emma
Watson and Rupert Grint, cast as children
and now in their early 20s _ are due to walk
the red carpet before the movie's premiere,
along with a score of their co-stars.
Grint, who plays Harry's best friend Ron
Weasley, said Wednesday he felt "a little bit
lost" without the movies in his life. Watson
said she'd miss playing plucky Hermione
Granger, who was "like a sister."
Hours before the premiere, groups of girls
screamed with excitement as they painted
each others' faces in the red-and-yellow
colors of Gryffindor, one of the four houses
of the wizarding Hogwarts school in the
Harry Potter books. Harry's house, of course.
A group of Mexican fans held aloft their
national flag and a banner praising J.K.
Rowling _ the author who brought the
bespectacled Harry and his world of wizards
to life in seven books.
The premiere marks the end of an era that
began when an unknown writer named J.K.
Rowling published "Harry Potter and the
Philosopher's Stone" in 1997. The book
blossomed from well-reviewed children's
tale to global phenomenon, launching a
seven-book series that has sold 450 million
copies around the world.
It's also the end of a movie institution that
has employed dozens of British actors and
hundreds of crew members and technicians
since the first film came out in 2001.
"It's created such an infrastructure and such
an industry, and it will be sorely missed,"
"Deathly Hallows" director David Yates said
Wednesday. "It's been a mini-industry
employing hundreds and thousands of
He said he didn't expect to see its like again.
"I think lightning doesn't strike twice," Yates