For hundreds upon hundreds of Lubbock Harry Potter fans, midnight was the bewitching hour.
Giddy audiences decked out in costumes packed theaters at midnight Thursday for multiple screenings of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1,” the next-to-last installment in the eight-part series.
Many moviegoers were dressed in costumes ranging from Harry Potter to the half-giant Rubeus Hagrid to simple dress robes representing the four houses of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The Sorting Hat on Thursday night at Tinseltown must have leaned heavily toward assigning Gryffindors, as scarlet and gold were in vogue as fans dressed up in the colors of Harry Potter’s school.
And 20-year-old Texas Tech student Meredith Rogers was no exception.
She attended the midnight showing decked out as Harry Potter, complete with black-frame glasses, a lightning bolt scar and Gryffindor robes.
Rogers couldn’t resist dressing the part to watch the first installment of the final movie in the Harry Potter series, she said.
“I mean, how often do you get to dress up as a wizard?” she asked rhetorically.
Her excitement to watch the movie was nearly overwhelming, she said.
“I’m at a loss for words,” Rogers said. “I’m a little obsessed with the books, and by a little, I mean a lot.”
She said she’s read all seven books countless times and even attended midnight showings of the third, fourth and fifth movies.
“But I couldn’t see the last midnight showing because I was working,” Rogers said.
Her expectation of Thursday night’s movie: “Tears, laughter and a whole lot of magical awesomeness.”
Olivia Lindsey, 18, was an exception to the Sorting Hat’s seeming preference for Gryffindors. Her green and silver scarf, the colors of Harry’s rival house, Slytherin, stood out as she mingled in the lobby.
“That’s what Facebook told me I was,” she said of an online quiz that assigned her to the Slytherin house.
The Slytherin house, known for its values of ambition, cunning, leadership and resourcefulness — as well as a snake mascot and preference for pure-blood wizards — was a perfect pick for her, Lindsey said.
“You’re a villain,” her friend, 18-year-old Dylan Lewis, said teasingly.
“It’s OK,” Lindsey said, “I’m an adorable villain.”
“Oh yeah, it better be good,” she said. “If it’s not good I might cry.”
The audience members neatly packed into their seats, the lights dimmed in the theater and the show began.
After a few previews for such upcoming movies as “Green Lantern” and “Kung Fu Panda 2”, that familiar John Williams theme, a staple of the movies so far released, softly poured from the theatre’s speakers.
A hush fell over the crowd, except for the occasional whispered chatter among friends.
Very few moviegoers left the theater during the 12:10 a.m. airing of the nearly 21/2 hour-long movie.
Many in the audience erupted in laughter as Harry awkwardly asked Hermione to dance during their secluded camping scene.
They gasped at the numerous open-mouthed snake strikes at the screen throughout the movie.
And many, most likely, waited eagerly to see what point, in the story J.K. Rowling told in novel by the same name, David Yates would chose to end the first movie.
By 10:30 p.m. Thursday, Rogers said she had her suspicions about what would serve as the centrifuge between Deathly Hallows 1 and 2.
“I thought it would be somewhere in the camping scene,” Rogers said, “but when Snape dies will probably be my preference.”
Having seen the ending, three friends stood in the frigid 3 a.m. air in front of the theater, talking about the movie as rush hour hit the parking lot.
“It was great,” Eric Levy said.
“It was really great,” Kim Ico added.
“It was the best show in the series so far,” Mackenzie Maxwell chimed in. “I’m glad they did do a two-part movie — it wouldn’t have done the book justice with one movie.”
Maxwell said she was part of a group that took up an entire row during one of the midnight showings.
They’d waited in line at the theater since 6:30 p.m. Thursday to do so.
“I have a test in the morning, but it was totally worth the six-hour wait or whatever it was,” she said.
To comment on this story: