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In Hunt Valley, Harry Potter fans share joy and lament at premiere of 'Deathly Hallows Part 2'

Towson resident Sophia Wilhelmi, 15, had her ticket to the midnight premiere of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" long before she showed up at Regal Cinemas in Hunt Valley.

But she wanted to be first in line so she'd get a good seat in the auditorium, so she arrived at the theater at 12:30 p.m. — 11-and-a-half hours before the movie was to begin.

Monkton resident Brittany Falkowitz, 24, was thinking the same thing, however, and when the two saw one another in the parking lot and knew what the other was up to, both sprinted to the wall near the entrance to be first.

"We just wanted to be the first one to line up," Falkowitz said.

"It's important," Sophie said.

"It's our last chance to do this kind of thing," Falkowitz said, fidgeting with a wand she bought at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando.

By 4 p.m., the pair were at the front of a line of a dozen.

By 6 p.m. it was more like 50 people.

By 7 p.m., more than 100 people, with more people in Hogwarts robes and character costumes arriving every few minutes.

"Deathly Hallows, Part 2" is the eighth and final film in the Harry Potter series, but while the global phenomenon of the books and films have lasted more than a decade, true fans aren't exactly suffering from Harry Potter fatigue.

Sophia, a student at Towson High School, said she's been a fan of Harry Potter, "since the books came out."

She wasn't old enough to read the huge tomes, but her father was reading it, as was her brother, Dean, 18, who sat with her in line July 14.

"My family has been totally Harry Potter influenced," Sophia said.

"Of course I'm a geek about it — it's affected how I think about things," she said.

Sophia said she has more imagination and is more open-minded because of the Harry Potter world.

Falkowitz was old enough to read the books herself when they were first released.

"I was 11 when the books came out," she said. "I was exactly the same age as Harry was in the book."

Falkowitz has to enjoy this last bit of Potter craziness because she talks about Harry Potter so much at home that it irritates her husband.

"Every time I bring it up, he's like 'Enough Harry Potter,' " she said with a laugh.

But these hours of waiting in the shade of a movie theater are a joy, and not the least of which because of the camaraderie.

"None of us knew each other, and now we've all been talking for four hours," Sophie said.

"We all know what's going to happen, but we're wondering how they're going to interpret (the books)," Falkowitz said.

Maryvale Preparatory School graduate and Finksburg resident Katie Geppi, 18, arrived at the theater around 2 p.m. She's a little sad about having no more Harry Potter tales to look forward to.

"I've been reading Harry Potter since, like, first grade," Geppi said.

"My mom was reading it to my older brother," she said. "Ever since I was, like, 5, I was in the Harry Potter world."

Geppi has loved the characters, as well as the excitement of looking forward to the next part of the story to come out.

"I've known those characters for so long, I feel like I know Harry, Hermione and Ron just like I know my friends here," she said.

Geppi knows she's not alone.

"It has defined our generation in a way that it won't the next because they won't be able to wait for the next one," Geppi said.

"The younger generation, I'm sure there's going to be something that comes up as big as Harry Potter, but I think it's going to be a while before it happens," she said. "It was such a monumental experience."

By 7:45 p.m., there were about 200 people waiting to see the film, and the line stretched from the entrance around the side and all the way to the back of the building.

Towson resident Janie Brown, 16, said the close of the movie series was a bittersweet rite of passage in her life.

"'This is my childhood," she said, "ending right here."

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Share you thoughts on the end of the Harry Potter saga — then come back after the movie and give us your own opening night "instant review" of "Deathly Hallows, Part 2."

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