Posted by: 2girls2europe | July 14, 2011

Ending my childhood, thousands of miles from home, or WE SAW THE LAST HP OMG!

I avoid vortexes whenever possible.

So I became particularly perturbed when, upon planning our itinerary, Jessie and I realized that we would find ourselves trapped in one. A time vortex, that is, that would forbid us from viewing the newest (and last!) Harry Potter installment at midnight.

To use a Jessie-ism—b’scuse me?

We nearly wept. According to some random blog that listed the dates of the premieres across the world, we would miss it in both Salzburg and Geneva by one day—the two places we’d travel to during those ever-so-epic dates.

This simply could not stand. We tried negotiating other options. Leaving early? Staying late? Catching a night train to another country? Calling Rowling herself and pleading for mercy? Our frazzled psyches would not reject any options.

But no matter what we tried, the answer seemed inevitable: we would just have to miss the midnight release. Be still, my heart. How could we even dare to call ourselves avid fans if we missed the midnight premiere of the final conclusion of Harry? Not to mention the end of our childhoods altogether?!

Don’t look at me like that, reader. With your “oh-you’re-being-so-dramatic” face.

If you’re a true part of my generation—the one that grew up with Harry and friends, the one that had to feverishly wait months between installments, the one that charged the local Waldenbooks at midnight to lay a hand on the new, glossy copy of that beloved book…you know it matters that much.

We reluctantly resigned ourselves to our fate. While our friends in the States would celebrate the release and discuss its nuances without us, we would sluggishly await the moment we found a theater playing it…in English. We would have even taken English subtitles. (I’ll strain my eyes for you, Harry!)

So imagine our elation when, after all of these emotional trials, our lovely Salzburg host informed us that, despite what we had read, that we could catch the Harry Potter premiere. Not only in English, but the next night. July 12. A double feature. Two whole days before the US kids could even taste a preview. Oh my Gringotts.

The moment that the ticket booth opened on July 12, Jessie and I clambered to the Cineplex, 17 Euros in hand, (yeah…ouch) ready to purchase the “golden ticket,” as Jessie would later sing. After some dirty looks thrown (by yours truly) at a couple tweens trying to cut us in line, murmurs of giddy elation and broken English with the lady at the “kassa,” (see—I’m learning German! It means cash register.) we had tickets. It would all end tonight.

Prior to the screening, we did as all savvy movie-goers do, and stuffed our purses with snacks. You would have thought our next stop was Mt. Everest; we both packed candy bars, granola bars, sandwiches and water bottles. Jessie even packed extra socks (Jessie’s defense: she was in sandals, the movie theater could be cold! Gina: still ridiculous). You know, the essentials for a movie like this.

About half an hour before the start of the first movie (they showed Part 1 around 9 p.m.) we bounced inside, the Potter-induced adrenaline coursing through our veins. After locating the proper door (harder than you’d think), we settled into a spot and acted a little like senile old men—rocking back and forth and muttering to ourselves.

We anxiously waited, surveying the other fans around us. Unfortunately, we did not see costumes and garb on others, as we typically do at US releases. Only a couple of college-aged girls sported Gryffindor scarves as they teetered nearby. We smiled at one another, recognizing the unspoken bond between us. Before too long, we ventured inside the theater to begin Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 1.

The first movie passed with anticipation building. Our focus on the first installment muddled itself with swelling excitement for midnight’s prize.

An aside: It’s worth noting, I think, that the entire audience became distracted by an apparently drunk girl in heels trying to walk down the steps. She fell down multiple times and everyone laughed. I think more movie theaters should serve alcohol. Free entertainment.

Back to the story.

After the first installment ended, we had about half an hour to freak out amongst ourselves before the show began. We went to the bathroom, which killed about 4 minutes, but we still had 26 to spare. What to do with ourselves? Wasn’t everyone else freaking out? This is Harry Potter, dammit! But everyone else seemed unfazed by the imminent tension. We scuttled back into our seats, hoping that time would pass quickly. I finished my peanut butter sandwich. Jessie put on socks (Jessie: NO I DID NOT!).

Minutes dragged by slower than a Catholic mass in Latin.

But alas, at midnight the theater seats filled, butts settled into the comfy seats, and the lights dimmed.

Then the final chapter of my childhood unfolded in front of me.

I won’t bash or praise the film here. You should watch it first, untainted by commentary as I did.

No, the important thing here is that we made it.

We made it, guys.


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