They dragged it out as long as humanly — or wizardly — possible: seven books and eight movies over 13 years, the last book published in 2007 and broken into two movies.
Now, after 400 million books sold and $2 billion at the box office, the final film, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II," opens at midnight Friday at theSenator Theatre.
And after that fades away, fans will have to fall back on "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter" at Universal Studios in Orlando, or "Pottermore," author J.K. Rowling's new interactive online venture that launches this month, with back stories and plots that were left on her cutting-room floor.
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Perhaps someday Rowling will give the saga another go. As she said recently, "Never say never."
But for now, Harry, his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, and their nemesis, Lord Voldemort, live on only in memory..
"Sales are not what they once were. It's run it's course," said Darielle Linehan, owner of the 10-year-old Ivy Bookshop in the Lake-Falls Shopping Center, which witnessed much of Harry's heyday at the cash register.
"I miss the excitement it spawned among kids. I've never experienced that as a bookseller. It's sad to see an era coming to an end."
But that's not necessarily the end of the story. A quick look through Linehan's records shows that while the boy wizard isn't as popular now, he's still a steady seller at the store near Mount Washington — especially for children's literature.
She counted 17 copies of the first book, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," sold so far in 2011, two of them in hardback. She's even sold some audio books at $59 apiece — not bad for books old enough to have come out in audiocassettes.
"We find that people still want the hardback for posterity, or theirs is so dog-eared or in such bad shape that they have to buy another," Lineman said.
She still stocks the Harry Potter books, including the earliest ones, two and three copies at a time.
"Normally, if we had a book that old, we would keep one copy," she said.
Is Harry Potter passe?
At The Children's Bookstore, in Roland Park, which championed Rowling and the series early on, a photo is still taped to one wall, showing Rowling visiting the store in 1999, while in the U.S. promoting the third book, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban."
"He's not passe," insisted longtime manager Lisa Cody. "We still continue to sell the books all the time, and with new groups — two, three, maybe more a week. The series is pretty much constantly moving."
Cody also said kids can still be seen curled up with a Harry Potter book at the Roland Park Pool. And some kids are rushing to read "Deathly Hallows" before the last movie comes out.
"There was a little boy who came in and had skipped the books in the middle," Cody said.
Cody made a point of telling her daughter, Eleanor, 14, about the new Pottermore website.
"She said, 'Mom, I already know all about it.'"
And Cody said teens are getting into parodies such as "A Very Potter Musical."