“That woman dressed as a witch sat down right in front of me with her big hat,” complained one disgruntled movie-goer on the opening day of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One.

Luckily I was not the woman in question, although I am not above dressing in theme for Harry Potter (HP) movies. This time, I was only wearing a Gryffindor t-shirt. My little sister was wearing her Griffindor tie, and my eight-year-old brother was all decked out in his Slytherin robes.

Before I proceed, I must share a few HP related facts about my family. We once had a hamster named Headwig. When she was eight or nine, my little sister read books one through five on her own. When book seven came out, we had to purchase three copies because three of us couldn’t wait (I read for two days straight because I didn’t want to leave the house in case anyone gave the ending away). And finally, my family planned their summer holiday around the Harry Potter theme park in Florida where they hung out at the three broomsticks, bought their own wands at Ollivanders and drank lots of butter beer. They bought me a chocolate frog as a souvenir.

Did I mention that my mother took the kids out of school early for the premier of the movie?

With these Swartzberg tidbits in mind, is it any wonder that tonight’s midnight release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two marks a bitter sweet moment for my family and others as the Harry Potter era we grew up in comes to an end? For some of us, maybe it marks the delayed end to our childhood.

Like no other author has managed to do, J.K. Rowling cast a spell over the world, drawing us into her universe of witchcraft and wizardy and as my own example proves her fictional world has spilled over into reality.

Her novels have turned a generation of younsters back to books and the film series they inspired has become the highest grossing series of all time.

Some are comparing the end of Harry Potter to the breakup of the Beatles. But I suppose in the same way I can vicariously live through the Beatles era on my iPod, Rowling’s books will always be accessible when I need a moment of escape. That’s the beauty of fiction.

I won’t be able to make the midnight show, but I’m anxious to see the film. Does anyone feel like dressing up and taking a road trip to Kamloops?