"It's saying goodbye to something we've known for so long," said Sam Martin, 21, of Mansfield. "We grew up with him."
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"I remember reading the first book when it came out," Martin said. "I was like 8 years old, I think."
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Potter, the brainchild of English author J.K. Rowling, is the protagonist in a seven-part series first released in 1998. Thursday marked the final installment of the eight-part movie series.
"It's the whole magic thing," Rosie Medynski said of her draw to the Harry Potter series. "I think everyone wants to believe in a world of magic. I want to be one of the first to see the end."
People like Medynski, 14, of Manchester, stood in line for several hours Thursday outside the movie theater, anxiously awaiting the doors to open and the movie to begin. Patrons started arriving at 5:30 p.m.
Tickets were sold out for each of the 18 showings expected to run from 12:01 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday. Managers expected thousands to turn out for the event.