By Maria Castellucci
Plainfield North

The ending of the Harry Potter film series truly ended the fantastic story of the orphan wizard that has captivated millions all over the world. Being a fan since I was six years old, I was eagerly anticipating the final film and bought a ticket to the midnight show. It was that same night my friend surprised me with tickets to see Tom Felton, the actor who played the mischievous Draco Malfoy, in person. Excited beyond belief I immediately accepted… and maybe let out a scream or two.

My friends and I decided to go to the Hollywood Palms movie theater where Felton would be signing autographs and taking pictures with fans. Hoping to avoid waiting too long, my friends and I arrived at the Hollywood Palms before noon even though Felton would not be arriving until 2 p.m. Upon arriving at the theater, we realized we did not get there early enough. Harry Potter fans were lined up along the building. My friends and I exchanged quizzical glances as it began to lightly drizzle and we tried to find a parking spot. Umbrellas in hand, we walked around the building passing countless faces until we saw my friend’s sister and her friends, who were at the end of the building.

Although I did not know her sister well or her friends we easily talked about what was bringing us together: our love for all things Harry Potter. We all discussed what we would ask Felton and we also reminisced on the final film and its bittersweet ending.

However, weather was not our friend. We appreciated the cloudy sky at first because it prevented us from getting too sweaty, but a storm began to set it and rain poured heavier and heavier. There were six girls and only two umbrellas, and we found ourselves huddled together for almost two hours, moving only just a few feet every half hour.

After three hours, the sky eventually cleared and the heat set in. Hoping to get closer and closer to the entrance, where it was air-conditioned, I began to wonder if it was all worth it. Standing for hours in the rain to see a celebrity seemed almost pointless.

However, when we finally reached the theater’s lobby, that’s when I experienced a fan-girl moment. I was not complaining anymore and my friends and I began to joke and giggle again about what we were going to do.

As we got closer we caught glimpses of Felton smiling and chatting friendly with all the people who approached him. With every step, I also got more nervous. I realized this would be the last time I would probably ever get to meet a Harry Potter character. While I struggled for something endearing to say, it was my turn.

Tom Felton gave me a warm “hello” and I found myself having nothing else to say but “hi” in return. I admired my friend who was able to say “how are you?” to this famous celebrity. He responded genuinely, the picture was taken, and it was over.

Although the moment only lasted a minute, literally, the significance was infinite. It marked the end of my childhood and that of so many others. I no longer had anything Harry Potter related to look forward to. That was when the bittersweet feeling of farewell washed over me. The story has always meant so much to me, and its millions of fans, and I will always be thankful for the world J.K. Rowling created. It will be missed however; the fans will never forget all of Rowling’s lovable (and not-so-lovable) characters that have changed their worlds and mine.


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The Mash is the Chicago Tribune's newspaper and website written for teens, by teens. The paper is distributed for free every other Thursday at Chicago-area high schools and is written largely by high school students.

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