Harry Potter fans brave elements for final glimpse of stars

Wed Jul 6, 2011 2:50pm EDT
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By Sarah Metcalf and Sophie Kenneally

LONDON (Reuters) - Hundreds of Harry Potter fans queued patiently on Wednesday to catch a glimpse of their on-screen heroes at Thursday's world premiere of the eighth and final film in the record-breaking cinema franchise.

A small number of hard-core devotees of the boy wizard stories created by British author J.K. Rowling have been camping in London's Trafalgar Square since Monday to get a front row view.

The enthusiasm sums up how Rowling's seven novels, and the eight Warner Bros movies based on them, have captured the imagination of millions of young fans around the world.

"I have grown up in the Harry Potter generation, it's a limbo state after this," said Rhyss Bowen Jones, 18, who travelled from Wales to queue for a wristband for the premiere of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2."

Lucy Nee, also 18, added: "I can't remember a time when there hasn't been a book or film to look forward to. It's a nice coincidence that Harry finishes school at the same time as me, it feels like we've grown up together."

The new film hits British and U.S. theatres on July 15, and is the first Harry Potter movie to be released in 3D.

The seven films released so far have earned more than $6 billion at the global box office, building on the success of the books which have sold over 400 million copies worldwide.

"As soon as I heard people were setting up camp I rushed down from Kent" said Yasmin, 21, who has been staying at the central London landmark since Monday.   Continued...

<p>Harry Potter fans huddle under umbrellas during a downpour as they wait in Trafalgar Square for the world premiere of "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2", in London July 6, 2011. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett</p>