Last night saw me chugging coffee at 11pm, and only half-wondering whether the nearly-full moon was significant for Harry and his search for Horcruxes.
We joined the throngs of Gryffindor geeks at the Edwards Cinema at the Ontario Mills mall, arriving in what we assumed would be more than enough time (11:30 for a 12:10 show). Man, did we underestimate the dedication and punctuality of Harry Potter fans. Clearly a bit of Hermione had rubbed off on them. The place was packed, and we had to park miles away (well, not really, but it seemed like it). When we proudly presented our ticket to the ticket-taker, he told us that our auditorium had already been seated. So it was the front row for us. But that was ok, because we didn't have to hear many people talking, and it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.
My favorite part of the night was seeing how excited everyone was. At 12:05, the chanting started. "haRRY. haRRY." When the movie started, the auditorium erupted in cheers. And given that this was Part 2, and the action started nearly right away, the cheering only continued. Harry gets the next Horcrux: Massive Cheers. Harry goes to Hogwarts: Massive Cheers. The loudest cheering of the night, though, was reserved for the unlikely hero, Neville Longbottom. Honestly, it was almost as if the audience didn't know exactly what was going to happen at every moment, and was actually caught off guard a time or two. One movie-addition was the Hermione/Ron kiss in the Chamber of Secrets where they've gone off to retrieve a basilisk fang. The screenwriter did well to add that.
The battle scenes were epic. When the professors all went outside to start putting up protective enchantments around the school, I got goosebumps. When Voldemort's first attacks were repelled by the spells, we all forgot the story for a moment, and hoped against hope that the enchantments would hold him back, and somehow the school would remain unscathed. And Alan Rickman's Severus Snape was amazing. The whole thing was a feast for the senses, and I left supremely satisfied, which was a change after Part 1, which was just a disappointment. I'm so glad to see the series go out on a high note.
It does make me sad that I won't ever go to a midnight Harry Potter opening again. No more rushing home from the bookstore at 2am with my new copy in hand, ready to stay up all night reading. No more waiting to see how the movie will translate the story.
For now, though, I'm looking forward to Pottermore, JK Rowling's new site, launching this fall, which supposedly will include new Harry Potter fiction. I remain hopeful that there are still some stories at Hogwarts still waiting to be told, and there might still be some 3am reading sessions yet to come.