The parking lot was deceiving. Driving up, there were still plenty of spots left in front of Aurora Cineplex - and it was already 10:45 p.m, just over an hour before the long awaited midnight showing would begin. But they were there. The devoted; the ones who had waited nearly a decade for this night, the night on which Harry Potter: The Deathly Hallows Part 2 would show for the first time.
Colorful costumed characters played free mini golf while waiting. It turns out that there is no age limit on imagination; adults and kids alike dressed the parts of their favorite characters. From the edge of the parking lot to the vibration of clamoring voices inside the lobby, the excitement in the air was palpable. Breathing in too deep almost gave it a taste; it was the taste of history being made.
Inside the theater lobby, multiple posters hung from the ceiling with the powerful words “It all ends.” People moved in masses of all different sizes - it was almost like a living patchwork quilt of people from all walks of life, woven together by one magical story.
A dementor teamed up with Hagrid and chased a squealing Bellatrix out the lobby doors. She waved her wand frantically and seemed to stop them both in their tracks. Harry, Hermione and Ron all posed for a picture with a family. To avoid any unnecessary wand duels over line skipping, every person was given a wrist band with a number to secure their place in line.
Once the theaters started filling in, there was a lively costume contest and every die-hard fan got to strut their stuff for a chance at a prize. Every main character was represented and when Voldemort didn’t get enough cheers from the crowd to win, he sulked away grumbling something about revenge on Harry Potter. In the end, the contest winner turned out to be the indomitable Professor Trelawney, the kookiest teacher at Hogwarts. She laughed gleefully from behind her faux coke bottle glasses and clutched her prize bag of goodies as she went back to her seat.
The theater went dark.
Everyone scurried to their seats and hushed as the previews started. With one note of the Harry Potter theme music the crowd erupted with cheers of anticipation. There were cheers, tears and even heartfelt “awws” throughout the movie itself.
As everyone left the theater, it was hard to miss the recurring theme: it’s hard to believe it’s been 14 years since the world was first captivated by the thoughts of an unknown author named J.K. Rowling. Her imagination not only created a rich, magical world; but also a masterpiece of literature, worth an estimated $1 billion, and most prized of all: a beloved fan base.
While the Mayans predict the world will end on December 21, 2012, for Harry Potter fans, the posters hanging in Aurora Cineplex say it all - it all ends this weekend.