Nov. 18, 2010, 1:30 a.m.

Accio Harry Potter movie number seven

Dressed in wizarding garb and sporting unicorn tail wands, Harry Potter fans eagerly await the midnight opening of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” outside Century Cinemas 16 in 2008. (CHELSEA MA/The Stanford Daily)

When it comes to tonight’s midnight release of part one of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” the key word seems to be “excited.”

Students across campus have been preparing for the release, hyped by marketers as “the motion picture event of a generation,” by catching up on the past six movies in the series or re-reading J.K. Rowling’s best-selling books.

“There has been a spike in the check-out of Harry Potter movies in the past few days…everything’s out the door,” said Jim Kent, media microtext coordinator at Green Library.

The Harry Potter movies have been the highest grossing film series of all time since the release of the first movie, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” in 2001. College-age fans have identified with the characters of the movie, Harry, Hermione and Ron, who are now starting their final year at Hogwarts.

“We kind of grew up with Harry Potter, so we want to see the story all the way through,” said Issra Omer ’14, in a view echoed by Nardos Girma ’14, who said, “It looks like a very epic movie and we grew up with it…we’re the Harry Potter generation.”

But to some, the appeal that the series of children’s books holds to college students is puzzling.

“I just don’t understand why it’s so popular,” said Ellen Enciso ’14.

The plot of the film follows a trio of friends skipping school to save the wizarding world by tracking down and destroying “Horcruxes,” magical objects that render the evil Lord Voldemort immortal. If this seems slightly childish, it is because it is based on a children’s book.

Megan Lerner ’14, however, believes that the series transcends questions of age.

“You’re never too old for Harry Potter,” she said.

“Once I found out Harry Potter wasn’t real, I stopped liking it,” countered Jason Middleton ’14.

“Wizardry is immoral, too,” he added.

Last Friday, multitudes of students clad in robes and sporting lightning bolts on their foreheads flew their broomsticks to Cubberley Auditorium for an advance screening. The anticipation was palpable.

“I have been waiting for this since I was eight years old,” said Lindsey Wilder ’14.

“I’m super, super, super pumped–I cannot wait!” added Morgan McCluskey ’14, a member of the Stanford Quidditch team.

“I’ve been looking forward to seeing this movie for the past two years…the movies aren’t as good as the books are, but I always have hope they’ll follow the spirit of the books that I love so much,” said Elena Hurtado ’14, an avid fan.

Many fans were dismayed by Warner Bros.’ decision to split the final book into two movies, the second of which is slated for release in July 2011.

“I don’t see a reason for the seventh book to be released in two parts except for the fact that Warner Bros will be making money off of it,” lamented Kevin Hurlbutt ’14.

Ginny Scholtes ’13 disagreed.

“I think it’s good that it was split up into two…for the seventh book; so many of the details are necessary and couldn’t have been fit into one long movie well.”

While the mystery surrounding where the producers would choose to end the first part has worried many fans, early reviews more or less commend the well-chosen ending.

Adam Thorne ’14, who watched the advanced screening, felt that the movie adaptation did not stray too far from the book.

“It’s awesome that we got to see it early. I thought it followed the book extremely well and it left off at a good spot. I also liked how good-looking Hermione was in it.”

The lure of romance in Harry Potter, while secondary to the main plot, seems to be a large factor that continues to attract young adults.

“I definitely want to see the movie,” said Kenneth Shields ’14. “There’s something magical about it and you feel connected to it because it combines childhood fantasies with teenage ambitions and hormones.”

Stanford students all over the Farm are gearing up to watch Harry Potter’s war against darkness, evil and normal teenage behavior tonight. No matter their motives, their enthusiasm is shared by many. Harry Spitzer ’12 summed it up well.

“This will be the greatest eff-ing movie of all time,” he said.

Marwa Farag is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily. Previously, she was the managing editor of news, managing editor of the former features section, a features desk editor and a news writer.

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