‘Deathly Hallows’ casts a spell over local Harry Potter fans

July 19, 2011

By Tom Corrigan

“It’s the end of our childhood,” said Rebecca Solem, 18, one of about 50 or so Harry Potter fans lined up outside the Regal Issaquah 9 Theatre on July 14.

Jamie Loudon (left) and Lauren Loudon dressed in 'Harry Potter' garb to await the opening of the final film in the series at midnight July 14 at the Issaquah 9 Theater. By Tom Corrigan

With a fancy hat and a shawl, Solem was one of many who showed up in costume for the occasion, the release of the last film of the “Harry Potter” movie franchise.

Solem’s spot on the sidewalk outside the movie house also was occupied by several other characters from the books and films, most notably Albus Dumbledore complete with wizard robes and long, flowing beard.

At least a few of the costumed crowd had arrived as early as 9 that morning to be among the first to see “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.”

The movie started playing at 12:01 a.m. July 15.

“We all grew up on ‘Harry Potter,’” Solem continued, by way of explaining her initial comment, with which her six or seven cohorts agreed.

Solem noted the first “Potter” book was the first book she read on her own. Megan Winter, 18, said her father used to read her the first few books. Several others in the crowd quickly shook their heads in agreement, saying one parent or the other had initially hooked them on the tales of the young wizard.

On the afternoon of July 14, there were lines on either side of the doorway to the Issaquah theater. At the head of the line opposite Solem and her group, a reporter’s question interrupted Janie Loudon, 17, who was reading a poem about older sister Lauren Loudon’s feelings for “Potter” character Ron Weasley, Harry’s buddy in both the books and films. Loudon, 20, doesn’t mind the poem or the attention.

“It’s embarrassing, but wonderful all at the same time,” she said.

Having arrived early that morning, the two sisters spent their day sitting under a sign that declared their spot in line as The Burrow, the home of the Weasley family.

Of the fans spoken with July 14, many said they had waited in similar lines to see previous “Harry Potter” films. At least among these fans, no other movie franchise had elicited such loyalty, although several admitted they had queued up to see the most recent installment of the “Twilight” series when it came out last year. But among these fans, that movie’s vampires and werewolves aren’t in the same league as Potter and his wizardly crew.

Probably not surprisingly, Solem and her friends as well as the group with the Loudon sisters had all read all of the “Potter” books. They also unanimously voiced the opinion that the books are better than the films.

While the mood outside the theater was predictably light and fun, for these fans, the fact that “Deathly Hallows” marks the end of the “Harry Potter” films made the July 14 event at least a little bittersweet.

“I’ll always wish there had been more,” Loudon admitted.

One of her compatriots didn’t totally agree.

“It left off nicely. I don’t know where it could go next,” Kara Alden, 15, said of the Potter series.

Tom Corrigan: 392-6434, ext. 241, or tcorrigan@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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