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posted: 7/8/2011 12:01 AM

Fans brace for final Potter film

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By Rachel Levin

As fan Sharon Meeker made her plans to see the final Harry Potter film, she was faced with a decision.

Which wand should she take?

The 55-year-old Hoffman Estates woman owns a couple. Though one's from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando, Meeker plans to take an antique conductor's baton. It's less official, but far more dramatic.

"Even though we are adults," she says, "we still like to play with our wands."

Suburban Harry Potter fans are brushing off their broom sticks and airing out their robes in preparation for one last ride on the Hogwarts Express. "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" opens officially on July 15, though many fans will line up Thursday for midnight screenings.

Kelsey Henquinet of Mount Prosect plans to be there at midnight, dressed as Potter pal Luna Lovegood.

"This is the last movie. It's the end of an era," Henquinet said. "We need to put everything into it."

She saw movies three through six at the midnight showings and got to see the second one the day before it came out.

"I just want to see how it all comes together, I want to see that closure." Henquinet said.

However, she wants to see it done right -- especially the final battle between Harry and He Who Must Not Be Named.

That resonates with Nicole Thompson of Barrington, 21. "They better not mess up the battle scene at the end," Thompson said. "If the ending is not absolutely epic, I'll be upset."

Thompson, who has read all the books and seen all the movies, feels like she's grown up with Harry, Hermione and Ron. Next semester she plans to take a course at the University of Missouri called Harry Potter, Magic and Religion.

Thompson, Henquinet and Meeker all agree that splitting the final book in J.K. Rowling's series into two movies was the best decision. That way, more of the details make it on to the screen.

Brian Wilson of Wheeling is excited for what he hopes will be the most action-packed of the films.

"I just hope that it's just as good as the last movie, because they finally made a movie for their target audience, people who have read the book really well maybe multiple times," said Wilson, 21.

"It's a simple plot. They just have to fight the whole time. It's going to be a great movie."

Other fans, however, worry that action will overtake the story's emotional ending.

"I'm hoping it's not overdone or underdone," said Carl Cutler, a librarian and Stevenson High School graduate now living in Glenview. "I'm hoping it backs the story line."

The weather has Cutler planning to scale back his viewing plans. He's dressing up as Harry Potter with a scarf or tie, but he won't be wearing his robes. "I don't want to be wading around in a robe if it's potentially 90 degrees outside," he said.