Fans gathered early to say farewell to Harry and other favorite characters from the books and movies by J. K. Rowling. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two opened at 12:01 on Friday morning at SOPAC and around the nation. South Orange saw sell-out shows and avid fans.
The first fans arrived to claim their place in line around 9 p.m. Another early arrival, Jackie Piccolo, was there just after 9.
"I've been a fan as long as I can remember," said Piccolo. She watched the first part of this movie two days ago, and purposely didn't read the final book. "So I don't know what's going to happen."
Other early arrivals wore Harry Potter t-shirts, lightning bolts and carried wands. One Columbia High School student wore a 2007 t-shirt that marked the release of the seventh book at Goldfinch Books in Maplewood, the predecessor to Words.
Avid fans also sampled ice cream before getting in line.
"I would come no matter what the review says," said Olivia Payne, 15, "I have been a fan for most of my life, since I could read, and I hate to say goodbye to Harry Potter."
The first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (re-titled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States) was released in the United Kingdom in June of 1997. Many teenage fans don't know a world without Harry.
And they don't want to.
"I hated when Dobby died, and I know who dies in this one," said Jasmine Eager, also 15. "I'm not saying in case anyone hasn't read the book yet, but I know that I brought tissues."
Will she cry for the characters or for herself, now at the end of the Harry Potter era?
"Both," said Eager. "It has been a good time with me and Harry. And the guy who plays Ron is good to look at. That doesn't hurt."
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