A couple of years ago, my sisters and a few of their friends dressed up for the midnight showing of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Photos of Laurel as the Fat Lady in the portrait, Lindsey as Professor Trelawney, Lissa as Tonks and Curtis as Lupin showed up in my Facebook feed, and I looked at each one hungrily, a little sad that I wouldn’t have been able to participate with them (even had they invited me) since I was so far away.
On Halloween this year (and yes, I do still have Halloween photos that haven’t been shared yet), we were at Lissa and Curtis’s party, and the subject of dressing up for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 1 (aka HP7.1.) Dan and I were invited to join the gang to dress up and attend the 12:01 AM showing. When we got home from the weekend, I started brainstorming, trying to come up with a couple of good costume ideas that wouldn’t duplicate any of the costumes already being worn and wouldn’t involve buying anything. I thought and thought and, after some inspiration from my yarn stash, I came up with two ideas: I could knit a scarf with all of the house colors, and one of us could be Hogwarts; and we had or could easily make enough items that the other of us could be the Horcruxes.
Dan liked the ideas, and I set about knitting myself a 4-house scarf. Luckily, I already had yarn in all the necessary colors. With iron-on transfers we already had, I was able to put the basic house crest on a tank top. And Dan printed a few pages with grayscale photograph of stone wall, and I put together a turret hat. Voila, Hogwarts! At the last minute, however, while we were still trying to assemble the horcrux costume, Dan changed his mind and decided to be Mad-Eye Moody, which was easy enough to put together and worked out just fine.
We drove south, had dinner with our friend Brian, and put on our costumes, then headed over to the theater in Jack London Square in Oakland. Laurel and a couple of her friends were already there; Professor Trelawney made a repeat appearance, but Laurel had decided to be the Golden Snitch and another friend was Dobby the House Elf. I guess Lissa and Curtis hadn’t managed to get tickets somehow, or maybe they had just decided they were too old for midnight movies, but we were later joined by a Moaning Myrtle, and we all sat or stood on the sidewalk in the chilly November night air, joking and laughing and stamping our feet. I became Laurel’s blanket, since as the snitch she was bare-armed with a pillow stuffed down the front of her shiny gold dress (to be more round), and I was thoroughly glad that both Dan and I had decided on costumes that would be warm. Lots of silly photos were taken, although I accidentally left my camera at Brian’s house and so I don’t have any of them other than the one above, taken with Laurel’s iphone and sent to my Facebook wall.
I knew that I was going to have a hard time staying up late enough to begin watching the movie, let alone stay awake through the whole thing. I had some diet coke with my dinner, something I almost never do, and had some regular coke while we were waiting in line. It made me jittery, but I decided that was better than falling asleep halfway through the movie. They finally let us in to the theater at around 11 PM, and we spent the last hour of our wait shedding layers and playing a Harry Potter trivia version of 20 questions. Thanks to all the caffeine I’d consumed, I peed four times during that hour while we were waiting. But at least I wasn’t sleepy!
At long last, the previews and commercials started, while the audience reacted to whatever was on the screen (my favorite part was when everybody boo’d when Glen Beck’s visage showed up). Yet at the instant it was clear the movie was starting, a hush came over the theater.
While we’d been waiting in line, and while we were in the theater waiting for the movie to begin, I had noticed that Dan and I were probably the oldest people in the audience. Most of the moviegoers looked to be college-age (in fact, most of them seemed to be wearing Cal Bears paraphernalia), some even younger, and the rest in their early to mid-20s. These were all kids who had grown up with Harry Potter; for most of them, I am guessing, there was no world WITHOUT, at the very least, the Harry Potter books, and some, I’m sure, had been Harry Potter’s age or younger when the first movie came out in 2001. These were the true hardcore fan base, the first generation of kids who had been KIDS at the beginning of the Harry Potter phenomenon. In other words, some of them were probably half my age. I was vaguely aware of the Harry Potter books during college, which is when they first started coming out, and I remember seeing someone reading the fourth book while I was traveling in Europe after graduation, but I don’t think I started reading them until 2001 or so.
(I don’t plan to review the movie at all, only to say that I liked it far, far more than I’ve liked the last few movies, and I think they made some excellent choices as far as what to keep and what to cut while still maintaining the story. The choice to split the book into two movies might have been profit-driven, but it must have also been a logistical nightmare to try to cram the previous two books into 2.5 hour movies, and the quality of those films really suffered. Splitting Deathly Hallows into two movies was definitely the right thing to do.)
There were moments in the film when the crowd laughed, others where they protested, and a few when everyone spontaneously cheered. After it was over, people milled around the lobby, discussing what they’d just seen with their friends, and I saw several more people in costume (the theater had showed the 12:01 screening on three screens, so there were LOTS of people in that lobby). Dan, Brian and I hugged the rest of the crowd and headed back to the car. I was bleary-eyed and exhausted, and as soon as our bed was inflated I fell asleep.
This morning, I woke up at 9 AM. I’d had about six hours of sleep. And I’ve been a useless, brain-dead husk all day. I don’t blame Lissa and Curtis or other sane people over the age of 25 who had to work today for not attending the midnight screening of HP7.1, because holy hell, if I’d had to get up at 6 AM to go to work I would not have been able to function. It’s been over 10 years since I’ve gone to any sort of midnight movie…and I’m not sure I’ll ever do it again. I’m too old to bounce back after a night like last night well enough to function at a job the next day, and even a Saturday midnight movie would probably mean I lost an entire Sunday. I had a lot of fun with my sister and her friends, but from now on I’ll leave the premieres to the youngins.