Harry Potter fans camp out for glimpse of stars

Hundreds of Harry Potter fans have been camping out for days in London's Trafalgar Square to secure a prime spot at Thursday's world premiere of the final film in the epic series.

Sheltering from the traditional British summer rain, the hardcore fans were protecting their movie character costumes under tents, umbrellas and ponchos ahead of the red carpet event for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2".

Many of the campers are teenagers who have grown up with the books by J. K. Rowling and the films, chronicling the adventures of boy wizard Potter and his friends through their years at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Some of the fans were dressed in sorcerer's capes, while others waved magic wands or improvised placards.

"We thought we'd try to come early to get as good a spot as we could," said one young Londoner sheltering beneath an umbrella, near the Nelson Monument which dominates the famous square.

Nearby, another young girl fixed her hat firmly on her head to stop the wind blowing it off.

"I've been a fan of Harry Potter since I was eight years old and now I'm 19 so it's been something that I always wanted to do and this is the very last movie so it's probably the last chance you'll ever get to actually meet the stars.

"I'm really excited and this is fun because I've never done this before but I'm also kind of mad at the rain right now because we're all soaked," she said.

The film will be screened at three cinemas in nearby Leicester Square, the home of British movie premieres, but this time all the stops are being pulled out, with the red carpet extending down to Trafalgar Square.

Guests will be transported between the squares through a mock-up of the magical Diagon Alley, a fictional London street in the films.

"Until the very end", one fan had scrawled across a picture from the film.

The fans will have to get used to the rain, with weather forecasters predicting thunderstorms and downpours when Daniel Radcliffe (Potter), Emma Watson (Hermione Granger) and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) hit the red carpet on Thursday evening.

The movie is the eighth based on the seven books. The final novel has been split into two films, with "Part 2" focusing on the epic final showdown between Potter and his enemy Lord Voldemort.

The film goes on general release in Britain and the United States on July 15.

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