Potter fans spellbound by London world premiere

Excitement reached fever pitch in central London as thousands of spellbound Harry Potter fans waited to see the stars on the red carpet Thursday for the world premiere of the final film.

Actors from the epic series were gathering for the launch of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2", the action-packed finale to one of the most successful movie franchises of all time.

The film sees boy wizard Potter take on the evil Lord Voldemort in a climactic showdown, the second of two movies based on the seventh and final Potter book by British author J.K. Rowling.

Fans from around the world have slept out in London's Trafalgar Square, some for more than six days, desperate to catch a last glimpse of the film's stars all together.

Some wore sorcerers' capes, while others waved magic wands or were dressed as their favourite characters.

Despite the excitement, some fans were sad to wave farewell to the Potter magic.

Rowidah Alnajar, a 20-year-old Saudi woman who lives in London, said she had slept on the floor in a sleeping bag.

"It's really important for me. It's the end of my childhood. I can't believe it," she told AFP.

"I was 11 when I saw the first one. I was fascinated. I've seen all the movies. I was here at all the premieres but I was never able to get in."

Lou Ravelli, 13, waving a fake wand, and wearing a sorcerer's cloak, said: "It's the greatest day of my life. I'm a lifelong fan. I'll be so happy if I get to meet them!"

It was an emotional time for the actors too, said Rupert Grint, who plays Potter's sidekick Ron Weasley.

"We all cried. Everyone," he said, recalling the final day of filming. "It was realising that this 10 years have come down to this one shot and we'd never be coming back."

Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Potter, is taking time off from appearing in a Broadway musical to attend the premiere, along with Hermione Granger actress Emma Watson and Grint.

Cast members, comprising some of the best-known names in British cinema including Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman, Michael Gambon, John Hurt, Jason Isaacs, Gary Oldman, Robbie Coltrane, Julie Walters and Tom Felton were also expected to attend.

They will walk from Trafalgar Square to Leicester Square - the traditional home of movie premieres in Britain - through streets transformed into Diagon Alley, the London hub of the fictional wizarding world.

Stars were due to start arriving from 4:00 pm (1500 GMT), with the film screenings - in three Leicester Square cinemas - some three hours later.

The premiere of what is the darkest film in the series could be accompanied by thunder and rain, forecasters said.

The three main stars have accumulated huge fortunes on the back of the decade-long series, but must now discard the capes and wands as they plot careers outside the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The film will hit British and US cinemas on July 15 and is the first Potter movie in a 3D version as well as the regular 2D release.

The first Harry Potter film was released in 2001 and the seven movies so far have earned 6.4 billion dollars (4.4 billion euros) globally.

"Part 2" covers the final third of the book and is a fast-paced adventure, in contrast to "Part 1" which served as a scene-setter for the explosive final battle.

More than 400 million copies of the Potter books have been sold since struggling single mother Rowling published the first instalment, "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone", in 1997.

The young sorcerer's exploits soon became a global phenomenon with the books now available in 69 languages and the films mesmerising audiences worldwide.

As the curtain comes down on the series, Radcliffe, 21, said he hoped it was not the end of the friendship between the co-stars.

"Myself, Rupert and Emma have spent 10 years with each other... I do think the bond is pretty unbreakable," he said in New York on Wednesday. "Hopefully, we'll work together again."

Watson, also 21, said: "Hermione has been like my sister and I'll actually miss being her.

"Hermione is such an incredible young woman. She made me a better person."

Despite the films and books coming to an end, Rowling last month unveiled an interactive website featuring new material about Potter's world.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Kitchen plays Christopher Foyle in ITV's 'Foyle's War'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt will be starring in Dominic Savage's new BBC drama The Secrets

Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

    Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

    Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea