Harry Potter fans, from left (foreground), Carly Gohring, Marea Newell and C.C. Harris, and (behind them) Kati Loux, Katherine Gohring and Tara Newell, were first in line to see Thursday’s midnight showing of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2” — the eighth and final installment of the series — at Holiday Cinema in downtown Davis. The girls were 8 to 10 years old when they started reading the books by J.K. Rowling and now range from high schoolers to college students. They have gone to every movie together and were determined to be the first in line for the movie this year, camping out at the theater since Monday morning. They took shifts saving their space in line. To pass the time, they made T-shirts, re-read the book and played cards. More friends joined them later. Sue Cockrell/Enterprise photo

Local News

Harry Potter devotees close chapter on piece of childhood

By July 14, 2011

There, there Hagrid. It’s not really goodbye after all. Good luck, Harry Potter. —Professor Albus Dumbledore

Sweet sorrow wove through a line that wrapped an entire city block Thursday evening with hundreds of Harry Potter-lovers.

Tara Newell, 19, was one of the them and of the millions worldwide who camped outside movie theaters to catch a midnight showing of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2”, the final installment in the book/film franchise that has spanned 14 years, raked in billions of dollars and helped define a generation.

“The vast majority of my life I’ve been looking forward to another Harry Potter book or another Harry Potter movie,” she said. “That ends tonight.”

Ashley Ghoring, 20, grew up with Newell. With their friends, they would read the books, watch the movies and argue about what author J.K. Rowling would come up with next.

“We really grew up with Harry; as we were growing up, Harry was growing up,” Gohring said. “It’s been a really big part of our lives. We’re all really sad.”

Gohring, who grew up and lives in Davis, started camping outside the Holiday Cinema on Monday morning with a core group of devotees. Gohring and her camp of 14 friends were the first in line and spent the hours playing board games, drinking coffee, quizzing each other on Harry Potter trivia and, of course, re-reading the books.

“I feel like the movie is kind of representative of ending childhood,’ ” Gohring said. “I turned 20 six months ago, kind of ended my teen years. This is me moving on to adulthood, because it’s when Harry is really … done.”

Harry Potter provided the framework for relationships that would transcend puberty, adulthood and shipping off to college.

“When we were little, we’d have full on discussions about Harry Potter and what was going to happen in the next book, and we’d argue about it,” said Newell, a lifelong Davis resident until she moved to Corvallis, Ore., to attend college.

“We all just come together for Harry Potter and we brought other friends in. … We’re all still watching it together.”

Briana Campos, 16, is a veteran Harry Potter fan who got in line behind Gohring and Newell when she arrived Tuesday. She started reading the books when she was in fifth grade, has paged through each of them two or three times over the years.

“I love the magical-ness of the movies and the books and how it just takes you to a different world when you’re reading them. It’s a good escape when you want to get out of reality.”

Campos, too, was part of a crew that came armed with food, games and costumes to pass the time. Her camp survived on apple juice, Taco Bell, coffee and “whatever our parents bring us.”

And then there’s their bible of sorts, a Mead folder with photos from the movies neatly taped to the cover. Inside, the group’s Fandango movie tickets are bound together with a free-floating binder ring. It also contains Harry Potter pick-up lines, trivia, spells and butter-beer recipes.

And the most important part, interjected Cormac McManis, 16, who dressed as Ron Weasley: the “Meet the Cast” booklet. This section has a page with two pictures for each Harry Potter character — Draco Malfoy, Neville Longbottom, Dobby — with the actor who plays that character at the top of the page, and a picture of their Davis counterpart below.

Campos, like the group a little further up the line, is disappointed that early Friday morning brings the entire affair to a close.

“This is the last of the last,” she said after telling a story about her crying when the last book came out. “I’m really sad.”

It wasn’t apparent Thursday afternoon when she giddily talked about all things Harry Potter, and how she’s dressed up as the boy wizard during special occasions each of the past three years. She put the costume once again Thursday, donning awkward, round glasses, a red and gold scarf and a wig of short, black hair.

When first asked her name, she shot off a quizzical look and then a wry smile.

“Harry Potter.”

— Reach Jonathan Edwards at [email protected] or (530) 747-8052.


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