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Fans look forward to final 'Potter'
Movie opens at midnight
Tia Wilson, a "Harry Potter" fan, shows off her collection of paraphernalia, including this custom T-shirt she plans to wear to the midnight premiere. "End of an Era" is on the front of the shirt and the taglines for each of the eight films are listed on the back. - photo by Autumn McBride


* IMAX opens in time for summer blockbusters.

When the clock strikes midnight, the end will begin.

Muggles, or non-magical folks, around the world will line up in cloaks and with wands to witness the final battle of the Harry Potter saga on the silver screen.

The eighth and final movie in J.K. Rowling’s popular Harry Potter book series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2," opens Friday.

Many fans will flock to midnight premiere events.

Tia Wilson, one of many local fans of the series, plans to arrive at movie theaters far before the midnight premiere — about 5 p.m.

Wilson bought her tickets well in advance, but she’s got to line up early to get a good seat.

"You’ve also got to dress up and watch everyone else dress up," she said.

Though she’s worn costumes of several characters to other premieres, Wilson plans to wear a custom T-shirt with "End of an Era" on the front and the tagline for each of the eight films on the back.

For 19-year-old Wilson, who began reading the books at age 7, the final movie really does mark the end of an era.

"I just felt like I really grew up with the characters," she said. "It’s been so emotionally involved in my life. I actually have two Harry Potter tattoos."

To prepare for the final movie, Wilson reviewed the saga by reading the book series all the way through — for the eighth time.

She said when the credits roll, she expects that she’ll feel "absolutely devastated."

Fellow fan Taylor Hartley said she will likely be "an emotional mess" following the midnight showing.

Hartley, a 20-year-old who grew up in Cumming, said the end of Harry Potter is more than a fictional one.

"It’s kind of like the end of childhood," she said. "Those books changed my life."

Hartley said she began the series at age 9 after learning that her mother had been diagnosed with cancer.

Her mom recommended the series, which allowed Hartley to enter a magical world to which she often returned.

"Whenever things would get bad in my life, Harry Potter would be something I would go to, almost like a security blanket," Hartley said.

Though the saga is again coming to an end, she expects her generation will keep the magic alive by sharing it with their children.

Her friend, Forsyth County resident Patrick Pickens, called the series "the ‘Star Wars’ of our time."

Friends from a young age, Pickens and Hartley said Harry Potter became an important part of their generation’s culture.

"It’s been that one idea that’s something you can always talk about," Pickens said. "You can kind of relate to them and what they’re going through."

The end of the movie series will be a bittersweet moment, he said. Sad, yet that final scene is "the moment you’ve been waiting to see."

Unlike those who grew up with the characters, Cumming Elementary fifth-grader Jim Farlow feels only excitement to see his first midnight premiere.

"I’m going to feel very happy that I got to see the premiere of the last movie," he said. "I expect it to be good. All the action happens in the seventh book."

An avid reader, Farlow said he received the book series last Christmas and finished it by February.

His sister, Emily, a recent West Forsyth High graduate, took to the books after her brother.

The two became fast fans of the series and plan to attend the final showing together with friends. Wearing costumes, they won’t be alone.

As Wilson warned her father, who will also attend his first premiere: "You’re going to see a lot of wizards."