HOUGHTON - For the people in line for the new Harry Potter movie, waiting for the latest installment to hit bookshelves or the screen has been a way of life for most of their lives.
The midnight Friday showing of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1" drew a sellout crowd to the Copper Country Mall. The movie covers the first part of the final novel in J.K. Rowling's series about a boy wizard fated to face off against the evil Lord Voldemort.
Sierra Parker and Cassie Van Dam of Houghton and Genevieve Flaspohler of Hancock were the first ones in line. The high school juniors had been waiting since 4:30 p.m. Thursday, getting in line as fast as they could after school. Parker's been a fan since she was 6, when her father started reading the books to her.
Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette
Crowds gather shortly before midnight on Thursday evening at the Copper Country Mall in Houghton for the premiere of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1.” The midnight premiere sold out, with the first tickets sold at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
"It's pretty much the best fantasy series ever created, because they're so full of action and mystery," Parker said.
Van Dam agreed.
"J.K. Rowling is a genius," she said.
"Harry Potter" accoutrements were plentiful. Fans wore oversized round glasses, red and yellow Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry scarves, and in one case, the lightning bolt scar of The Boy Who Lived.
The best "Harry Potter" movies are the ones closest to the books, fans interviewed Thursday night said.
But they were divided on which one that was; most popular were the third movie, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" and the sixth, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."
However, Michigan Technological University student Faith Lambert said the movies peaked with the first.
"I feel like the later they get, the less true to the books they are, and the more they leave out," she said. "Especially the last movie - they left the battle scene out, and it was the best part."
The books, each of which chronicles one of Harry's years in (or out of) Hogwarts, grew in size and complexity along with Harry. The movie version of the 758-page final novel has been split into two parts; the last half is due in July, 2011.
"I'd really like it if they follow the books better, but it depends on what they do with it," said MTU student Jennifer Wyman of Marshfield, Wis.
With only one more opening night ahead of them, fans were feeling nostalgic.
"It's part of our childhood and who we are, and it's going to be over soon," Van Dam said.
But Aaron Clark, a MTU student from Charlotte, Mich., put a positive spin on it.
"I'm kind of sad that it's almost over, but I'm excited to see how they finish it off," he said.
Garrett Neese can be reached at email@example.com.