Harry Potter is back!


Midnight was the witching hour on Tuesday night as Harry Potter returned to the big screen in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth installment of an eight-part movie series featuring The Boy Who Lived. Things have changed, though, since the last movie premiered in 2007. J. K. Rowling’s seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series came out ten days after the fifth movie. (The final book will be brought to the screen in two parts.) Two years after all the mysteries were solved, were Harry’s fans still devoted enough to line up to see him?

Caroline Regan as a Dementor standing in line at the concession stand

“That’s kind of a weird question,” said Rachel Kowarski, 23, a decade-long Harry Potter fan. “Now that the books are done, [the movies are] the only thing you have to look forward to,” she added. “Even though you know what happens, it’s fun to see the actors you’ve known for five years growing with the films.”

“The movies never really give all the details that the books do,” explained Emily Mackmiller, 16, who has been reading Harry Potter for eight years. “It’s more about how it translates to images.”

Emily Mackmiller and friends (she’s fifth from left) being goofy and excited

It was this kind of devotion that had Mackmiller lining up at AMC Southdale at 6 o’clock Tuesday evening—a good six hours before the movie even started. Dressed as Ginny Weasley, Mackmiller was part of a group of about fifteen teenagers to attend the midnight premiere, with others in the bunch representing the Weasley twins, Luna Lovegood, Bellatrix Lestrange, Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy, Nymphadora Tonks, and Lavender Brown.

Kirsten Croone also at the concession stand

Teenagers were hardly the only fans to brave the late hour to catch the first screening of Half-Blood Prince. Kirsten Croone, 42, of Richfield, was also there enjoying the excitement. A middle school Social Studies teacher, Croone has been to all of the Harry Potter midnight premieres.

“It’s a good connection to make with [my students] afterwards,” she says. “It’s exciting, and it’s fun to see people dressed up.” Croone could not have been disappointed by the turnout. Excitement created an audible hum in the theaters well before the clock struck twelve.

Andrew Hickon as Fawkes the Phoenix

And it seems that Half-Blood Prince managed to live up to expectations. “It was amazing!” exclaimed Mackmiller. Judging by the beaming faces of those exiting the theater, it looks like Harry Potter will be casting his spells for a few more years to come.

Marinda Bland always believed in Severus Snape.

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