The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO
July 14, 2011
Potter fans line up long in advance of final film’s opening
By Caitlin Miller
JOPLIN, Mo. — Wands? Check. Magical cloak? Check. A tie with Gryffindor colors? Check.
All are essential items for a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but a few objects from the Muggle world are also needed to pass the long hours through less-than-magical temperatures.
“We’ve got an iPod, Starbucks, food and company,” O’Lyvia Harris said. “That’s all we need.”
Harris and her friend, Jonathan Durbin, were two of about 20 people who formed a line outside of the Northstar 14 theater Thursday morning, waiting for the 12:01 a.m. premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II.”
The popular series by J.K. Rowling has enchanted children and parents alike for almost 14 years, selling 450 million books and close to a billion movie tickets.
“Deathly Hallows: Part 2” finds Harry, Hermione and Ron in a showdown with the evil Lord Voldemort, as their beloved school comes under siege.
While Harris and Durbin arrived at 8 a.m. Thursday morning to wait in line, they were not the earliest arrivals. The release of the seventh and final film of the Harry Potter series started drawing a crowd almost two days before the film’s release.
Jeremey Sailes, Alycia Allen and Lacy Smith-Baum held the title for first in line for the film, setting up camp outside the Joplin theater at noon Wednesday.
“(For 2010’s ‘Deathly Hallows: Part I’) someone got here before us, and we knew we had to be first this year,” Smith-Baum said. “We wanted to get there 36 hours before the opening.”
The three were joined by four other fans who arrived later Wednesday evening. They all camped out through the night on mats and blankets under a tent.
As seasoned veterans of midnight premieres, they brought blankets, mats, snacks, books, a camera to document the experience, and even a homemade game.
“We made a game based off of ‘Apples to Apples.’ It’s called ‘Potter to Potter’,” said Allen, who specifically requested off from work to camp out.
The group noted the importance of keeping busy to pass the time and beat the heat. With temperatures in the 90s both Wednesday and Thursday, it was “Pottermania” that kept them motivated during the hot afternoons.
One moviegoer, Christy Hernandez, even brought a wizard cloak to show her devotion.
“It’s just too hot to wear right now, though,” she said. “But maybe later.”
However, fans’ devotion to Harry Potter is more than “cloak deep.”
The Harry Potter series has been a way to connect to another world, said Sailes.
“I was the kid with a huge, crazy imagination,” he said. “With these books I could escape to another place and have an outlet for my imagination. Anything was possible.”
The connection to characters in Harry Potter was what made the series so special for Sailes and his friends.
“It’s like waiting to see what’s going to happen to one of your friends,” Allen said.
Smith-Baum agreed, saying the characters “reach something in your heart.”
“Fourteen years of my life has been devoted to Harry Potter,” she said. “It’s our generation’s ‘Star Wars.’”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.