For the past 10 years, fans have looked forward to the next opening Harry Potter film in the franchise. Now that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 has opened, saying a sad farewell to the beloved franchise is imminent. Here's a look back at some of the best things J.K. Rowling's series brought to cinema and the Muggle world, which will live on with the fans even after the ending.
2011 Getty Images
Favorite Heroine: Hermione Granger
About a decade ago, the majority of Americans who read the British name Hermione probably scratched their heads and thought, "How the heck do you pronounce that?" Emma Watson joined the predominantly British cast and portrayed Hermione throughout the series. In our recent Fandango poll, the super-smart witch prevailed as the favorite heroine, and Hermione is now a name known around the globe.
The Brilliance of Severus Snape
Before the last book came out, fans debated for months on whether Snape was a villain or a hero. Rowling has said before that the only truly evil character was Voldemort, and now that the cinematic ending has been revealed, the good in Snape finally shines through. Rowling brought to life a truly complex Byronic hero affected by unrequited love, and Alan Rickman's portrayal won't soon be forgotten.
The Underdog: Neville Longbottom
Geeky, clumsy and unpopular Neville took on a transformation endearing to anyone who's been bullied or cast aside before. Like Snape's surprise revelations, Rowling took her time with Neville's character arc, and fans as well as the actors had to read the final books to discover Neville's heroic metamorphosis.
Learning and Literacy
Avid Harry Potter readers can recite wand spells in their sleep, but there's more to those magical words than just the fantastical story they conjure up. Rowling put a lot of thought into charms, spells, potion names and character names. Many of them make use of etymology, such as Lumos, derived from the Latin word lumen, meaning light. Rowling's creativity served as not only entertainment, but also a way to enjoy learning and literacy.
Fans will forever remember this wizarding sport associated with flying broomsticks and golden snitches. Who's to say we'll never come to the day when technology allows us to actually experience it? Until then however, viewing a Quidditch match remains watchable as movie magic.
Foods from the Wizarding World
Along with creating an entirely new wizarding sport, Rowling invented myriad foods to fit right in with the Harry Potter universe. Now some of her magical concoctions can actually be eaten in the Muggle world, such as Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans, which feature flavors such as vomit, earwax and liver. We can also sip flavorful Butterbeer, concocted at special theme parks and theaters.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Since its opening on June 18, 2010, part of the Potterverse has existed in Universal's Islands of Adventure theme park in Orlando, Florida. Muggles can now visit Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, Honeydukes, the Three Broomsticks and the Hog's Head, as well as experience rides including Flight of the Hippogriff and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.
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Harry Potter: The Exhibition
When Warner Bros. translated Rowling's imaginative world to cinema, they took great care in creating the iconic props and costumes used throughout the franchise. Now we can actually admire the artistry and craftsmanship up close with many of the artifacts on display in Discovery Times Square, New York. The exhibition travels to Sydney in November 2011, and then continues touring the world in 2012.
2010 Getty Images
The Harry Potter Alliance
Although the Potterverse is fiction and fantasy, Rowling tackled the very real theme of equal rights. The Harry Potter Alliance, a nonprofit organization, takes the fight to the Muggle world, addressing issues of literacy, equality and human rights. By drawing parallels between the real world and the beloved series, the HPA encourages young people to take action in creating a better world. And what better way for the series to live on than creating a lasting social change?
For her readership, Rowling created Pottermore, which serves to provide "an exciting online experience around the reading of the Harry Potter books." The site opens in October, but those who visit on July 31 can find out how they'll get a chance to enter it early.
The series and the films have ended, but the story will no doubt live on "because people will carry the story with them for the rest of their lives," Daniel Radcliffe said. How will the story live on for you?