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900 Harry Potter fans attend sold-out showing of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part II'

July 14, 2011|By KATE S. ALEXANDER | kate.alexander@herald-mail.com
  • Harry Potter fans Julie Matheny, left, Lenzie Weicht and Jennifer Spangler wear Potter's trademark glasses and scar to Leitersburg Cinemas for the showing of the new Harry Potter movie "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part II."
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

All good things come to an end.

And for fans of the beloved series about the journey of Harry Potter it would end at about 2 a.m. Friday.

"I will be very sad," said Kasayus Ferguson, 13, of Hagerstown.

"It will be bittersweet, I wish it could go on forever," said Megen Franklin 28, of Frederick, Md.

Like millions of fans across America, Harry lovers gathered late Thursday night at Leitersburg Cinemas to watch the final chapter in the wizard's story, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part II."

Exactly 900 fans attended the soldout midnight showing at the cinemas on Leitersburg Pike, according to Jessica Rea, theater general manager.

Tickets sold out Wednesday, and about 60 percent were upgraded tickets that included admission to a Harry Potter Midnight Party at the theater at 10 p.m., she said.

For $16, guests at the party enjoyed music from Spence and Deejay Distrakshun, giveaways, pizza from Rocky's New York Pizza in Smithsburg and unlimited soda and popcorn. Their ticket also got them a cup of Butter Beer, a beverage enjoyed by Harry himself.

Even Spence, who said unfortunately he could not stay for the movie, admitted to being a fan of Harry.

"After watching movies one through seven ... I definitely plan on seeing it," he said.

Some fans waited in robes with wands at the ready to enter the theater.  Once inside, they collected refreshments, enjoyed the music and gradually lined up outside the four theaters showing the film Thursday to ensure they got prime seats.

A few hours before the party started, Rea said the cinemas' staff was excited to host the event for the fans.

In November, Leitersburg Cinemas hosted a similar party for the first of the two-part finale in the series, she said.

Rea said only about 500 people attended that showing, which included a similar pre-party.

What made the difference between November and the soldout show Thursday was the film, she said.

"I think a lot of the draw has to do with the movie," she said. "This is by far considered our best midnight showing."

As the last in the eight-movie series, Part II has fans geared up for an epic finale, she said.

"They get so excited," she said, talking about how fans will likely applaud at the conclusion.

Katie Weatherholt, 28, of Hagerstown said she will do as the film moves her to do — cry, cheer or shout out spells.

For months she and four friends have been planning to attend the midnight showing.

Weatherholt said she secured robes from her husband's church choir, which they adorned with badges from their favorite Hogwarts house as costumes. To complete the look, each carried a chopstick as a wand.

Around them others wore a myriad of Potter-themed costumes, from hats and knee socks, to scarves and robes.



Heroic lessons

Often referred to as an epic series, the journey of Harry Potter is paved with heroic lessons, said Becky Foote, a teacher from Chambersburg, Pa., as she waited outside the theater Thursday.

From the opening pages of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," the hero is embroiled in a battle between good and evil.

To the end, Foote said there is a struggle in the books between good and evil.

"And you can't do it all on your own; you need friends and family," she said.

Perhaps one of the greatest lesson in the pages of J.K. Rowling's series about the boy who lived is friendship, said Angie Hackney of Chambersburg.

"Friendship is what gets him through everything," she said.

Although choosing a favorite Potter book is something Foote said she could no sooner do than choose a favorite child, she said her favorite character is by far Hermione Granger.

Hermione is one of Harry Potter's best friends in the series and sets an example Foote said she hopes her young 14-year-old daughter follows.

"She is a mud-blood, a half-blood (the child of a wizard and a nonmagical human), but she is a strong woman," Foote said. "She goes after what she wants, something I want my daughter to see and know is important for any female."

Kasayus said the series also teaches younger generations to follow their dreams, as well as how to be a friend.



Getting hooked

Most people can recall how they grew to love the Harry Potter series.  

For Kasayus, it started when a cousin was reading it and gave him the first book to read. Now that he has read them all, he said he plans to pass the books onto others.

"I told my mom I would make my kids read it, no matter what," he said.

Hackney said she picked up the first book after watching a student she works with, who was not much of a reader, become engrossed in the series.

Kim Bush, 25, of Frederick, said her older sister Christy Bush, 28, also of Frederick, got her to start following the films.

Regardless of how they started, everyone could not wait to see how Hollywood would treat Rowling's final chapter.

"I hope they included the epilogue," Weatherholt said.

"I don't think it will end like it did in the book," Kasayus said. "It never really does."

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