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Noon to midnight: the wait for Harry

Die hard fans camp out to get a good spot for the newest Potter movie

Posted: July 14, 2009 9:31 p.m.
Updated: July 15, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Jane Sells, left, of Canyon Country and Jennifer Bradley, who is wearing a purple cape after a Harry Potter character, chat as they wait in line for the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at the Edwards Canyon Country 10 Theaters on Tuesday night.

Harry Potter worked his spell on six Santa Clarita women who waited in 90 degree heat Tuesday for more than 11 hours to see the premiere of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.  

The midnight premiere of the sixth installment of the Harry Potter movies was expected to draw record crowds nationwide. The movie, which is based on a series of books by J.K. Rowling, has a fan base that ranges in age from elementary school children to middle-aged adults, said Charity Rollins, 18.

At the Edwards Cinema in the Valencia Town Center, six die hard Harry Potter fans camped out on beach chairs and blankets in front of the theater starting around noon, some 12 hours before the film would start.

They weren’t waiting for tickets, said Alina Brazzil, 18

“We got tickets a month ago,” she said. “We’re in line so we can get good seats and sit together. All the large groups do the same.”

Midnight movie releases are a mix of reunion and rock concert.

“You run into all the people you grew up with,” said Hallie Steiner, 19. “At the midnight show people scream and cheer during the movie.

Blowing off a whole day to wait for their favorite movie series seemed natural for the teenagers.  

“Why not?” Rollins said, when asked why she was waiting all day in the hot sun for seats.

“This is the place to be in Santa Clarita,” said Taylor Stapleton, 19. “This is our generation’s Star Wars.”

As the sun hung high in the SCV sky, the Potter aficionados gathered to brush up on the Harry Potter knowledge by watching the previous movies on Rollins’ laptop. Revisiting the stories is common before the release of a Harry Potter movie.

“I read all seven of the books last week,” Rollins said. That includes the book which the newest movie is based on.

But none of the women think reading the book so close to seeing the movie will spoil anything.

“It just makes you anxious to see the really good parts,” Brazzil said.

By Tuesday evening, what started as a small gathering of Potter fans ballooned into makeshift convention with more than 100 fans camped outside of Borders. Harry Potter enthusiasts played cards, shared food and awaited the show.

“I think this one’s going to be the best movie yet based on the clips I’ve seen and the book,” said Matthew Peters, 16.

Even though Peters didn’t sacrifice a whole day under the hot sun to wait for the movie — he started waiting at 4:45 p.m. — don’t underestimate his dedication as a Potter fan.

“If I had the money I would’ve flown to London to the premiere,” he said.

Camping out in long lines, speed reading through volumes of books and repeatedly watching the movies might sound like fanaticism to some, but in the world of Harry Potter, hard core fans wear their devotion.

“There will be tons of people who get dressed up like Harry,” said Christina Worth, 18.

Regaling themselves in full sorcerer costume is where these Potter fans draw the line, Rollins said. “T-shirts are cool, but when you dress up like a wizard, that’s taking it too far,” she said.

Beneath the buzz lies a good story that connects to an entire generation of kids, Stapleton said.

“We grew up with Harry Potter so as he grew up in the books we were growing up at the same time,” she said.

The women still haven’t grown up too much to blow off an afternoon for their favorite story book character.



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