Wizards, witches mob muggle theatres for Potter premiere

Nick Bonadies
Spectrum Editor

Last Thursday at midnight, the book and film series that held a generation of fans spellbound entered its final stretch with the premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I.”

The young adult novel series turned pop culture phenomenon, which began more than a decade ago in the humble 1997 publication of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” has earned over $5.5 billion with its film adaptations since the premiere of the first installment in 2001.  A spokesperson for Movieland on North Boulevard said that at their midnight screening, nine theaters – more than half of the facility’s – had to be opened to accommodate an overwhelming ticket demand.

For most Potter diehards – many of whom have “grown up” with Harry, Ron and Hermione as they simultaneously face the struggle and heartbreak of growing up as well as forces of unutterable evil – the idea that the film series is nearing its conclusion is at best, bittersweet, and at worst, devastating.  Full-on despair need not settle in just yet, however – “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II” is set for release next July. CT

Melissa Yacher, who gradated from the VCU School of Nursing in 2009, dons emerald green robes in tribute to Professor McGonagall, played in the film series by Maggie Smith. “I’ve always liked her.  She’s a teacher, my mom’s a teacher.”

“Well, the Facebook quiz said I was in Ravenclaw, but I made my robes a while ago, so I’m gonna stick with Gryffindor.”

University of Richmond American Studies major Jessie Kelley says she’s been attending Harry Potter movie premieres since “Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone” came out when she was eleven. “I think I’m gonna be a lot more upset about the next movie, ‘cause it’s gonna be like … the end. There’s nothing else really coming. At least now there’s still something to look forward to.”

“I actually wear this cape pretty often anyway.” William Chandler Honeycutt, junior in VCU Cinema, said that in his childhood he “really connected with (Harry Potter) and his relationship with the Dursleys … I’m from the south, and (being) kind of arts-oriented, and reading a lot – coming from a mostly illiterate family … they didn’t really like me that much. So whatever books I could get into that provided, like – a really nice fleshed out world, at least for an 11-year-old, I could really connect with that.”

As a Cinema major, Honeycutt considers the $5.5 billion grossing film series “a really good adaptation, but it’s not in my list of favorite movies or anything. I really enjoy them because I enjoyed the books. … (The actors) replaced my image of the characters in the books as I was reading them, so I feel like that is a pretty good testament to the casting being a good thing.”

“STUPEFY.” Ian Hurdle, freshman Theatre major, claims no one has ever told him he looks exactly like Draco Malfoy, Harry Potter’s archrival played in the films by Tom Felton. “I’ve got the hair color. … These are just, like, clothes I had in my wardrobe.”

Hurdle counts himself among the countless in his generation who feel as though they’ve “grown up” with the characters in Rowling’s novels.  He said of the series’ coming conclusion, “I’m devastated. But I’ll always have the books, I’ll always have the movies, and like … they never get old, they really don’t. Every time I watch it it’s a new experience.”

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