For Victoria, Laryssa, Lina and AC Fernandez, as well as their friend, Corinna Cluckey, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” represents more than simply the last of the Harry Potter films.

It’s also the end of an era in their childhood.

The franchise, including the movies and the bestselling book series by author J.K. Rowling on which they are based, have been part of the friends’ lives for years.

“We’ve grown up with them,” Cluckey said.   

Not all of the friends, all students at Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale, have read the books, but the movies are always a cause for celebration. This year’s premiere was no exception — they lined up at the Harkins Theatre in Peoria at 4 a.m. Thursday before the midnight showing.

“I think it’s cool to see the first movie, when they were so young,” Lina Fernandez said.

While the Potter series started out as children’s books, the young readers grew up with the characters as both the books and movies became increasingly dark. But the mix of action, personal growth, humor, and a dash of romance have drawn in millions of fans from all over the world.

“I thought Harry and Hermione were going to get together in the movies first, but then it turned out to be Ron,” Lina Fernandez said of part of the plot.

After the years of build-up, Victoria Fernandez said she hoped the final movie wouldn’t let them down.

“We grew up on it, I remember reading it in first grade,” Victoria Fernandez said.

The Harkins Theatre sold out eight theaters for the movie, so the Fernandez family and Cluckey may have been first in line, but their passion was shared by many other fans. That all-around enthusiasm is part of what makes the midnight premieres for movies like Harry Potter, or the “Twilight” series, fun, they said.

“I’m excited to see the people in the theater. There’s always one crazy person,” Victoria Fernandez said.

“I love seeing the costumes people wear,” Laryssa Fernandez said. “I love how you can come to these things and meet a lot of people.”

Phoenix resident Sara Tellez, wrapped in her Harry Potter blanket, had similar sentiments as she waited at the front of another line for the 3D version of the movie. She had already bonded with many of the other people in line behind her, including Camille Kelly, who dressed up as evil witch Bellatrix Lestrange for the premiere.

“It’s bittersweet,” Tellez said. “I’ve been waiting forever to see how they’re going to get this final battle in.”

Everyone has different favorite characters, but Victoria Fernandez said she identified the most with the title character.

“I have to go with Harry, not because he’s the main character, but because he had to discover so much about himself,” Victoria Fernandez said.

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