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Harry Potter Draws a Crowd

Scores wait on queue to see how it all ends (even if they know how it does).

The very last HP movie brought out the fans Thursday night as dozens waited outside the Lake Theater to get in to see."

Clusters of theater goers – almost all of them teenagers – sat on the sidewalk, stood in queues and rested against pillars and iron fences waiting intently until the doors opened for the midnight show, which was a sell-out.

Some arrived as early as 3 p.m. to get a great seat. Emily Freedman and a group of her friends, all bespectacled in their 3-D Harry Potter glasses and flourishing their wands, had just finished reading the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows aloud. It was a special day for Freedman for it would be six days until she turned 18. It seemed befitting to be here for the Oak Park premiere.

“It’s the end of my childhood,” said Freedman who admits she might sob through part of the movie, especially when a number of the major characters die. “I wasn’t a bookworm until I started reading the books. “This is a part of my life I’ll not forget,” she said.

Her friend, Madeline Wegener, 15, said she liked Harry Potter from the start because it was the first book she didn’t have to read for school. She said she’s read them all multiple times and seen the movies multiple times as well.

A number of fans dressed for the occasion. Some sported yellow and black ties of Hufflepuff. But most wore the scarlet and gold of Gryffindor House, Harry Potter’s home at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  Jessica Klugman, 16, searched through the basement of her River Forest home and pulled out the Gryffindor House cape her brother had worn one year for Halloween.  

Jessica’s friends James Monks, 18, Sarah Green, 18 and her 16-year-old sister Leila had made a week of it, watching one Harry Potter movie each night. Thursday night they sat outside of the Jerusalem Café and watched "Deathly Hallows: Part 1" on an iPad. “We know how it ends, but we had to be here for this,” said Monks, who got to his spot around 8:30 pm.

To Sarah Green, 18, Harry Potter will continue to be part of her life. “Even after this (the movie) ends, we’ll read the books and see the movies again and again. “We grew up on Harry Potter.”

Not everyone came dressed for the occasion. Tess Fisher and Asem Berkaliev went against the grain and wore Santa Claus caps. That didn’t mean they weren’t in the spirit. This wasn’t their first midnight show. Both went to see the HP: Part 1 when it opened at midnight last November.

“I missed study hall,” Fisher said. “But I did my homework; I was fine,” she said.

Berkaliev said got home, slept and made it through all of her classes. “It was worth it,” Berkaliev said.  

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