We’ve been here six times before but Thursday night’s penultimate premiere gave Harry Potter‘s protagonists a chance to start bidding farewell to the movie franchise that has changed their lives.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is all about the chaos that engulfs the wizardry world as Lord Voldemort takes hold of power and sets out to destroy our brave Harry. Actor Daniel Radcliffe, though keen to move on from the part that has made him a household name around the world (“Ten years with one character is a long time”) wanted to stress that the decision by Warner Bros. (a sister company to TIME) to split the seventh and final novel into two movies was the right thing to do. “I was always very much in favor of it being two parts, and I think most people were, simply because we all realized there was no way you could do justice to the book and really capture the story in one film,” Radcliffe said. The second part is released in July 2011.
Naturally, Radcliffe’s co-stars, Emma Watson (wearing a black, see-through lace and feather dress by Rafael Lopez for Atelier Mayer, as was Potter author J.K. Rowling, if that floats your boat) and Rupert Grint were on home turf for the premiere, joined by the likes of newcomer Rhys Ifans (wizard journalist Xenophilius Lovegood) and Bill Nighy (Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour).
Other notable names from the movie who came along included Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes as well as soccer star Theo Walcott and Simon Cowell’s remaining X Factor contestants who would show up to the opening of an envelope.
Warner Brothers was keen to churn out the Harry Potter movies over the course of a decade, lest the young stars outgrow the roles. And if you think we’re nearly done, well, Radcliffe forecasts, “I don’t think it’ll take too long before these films do finish and finally come out for cinemas all over the world to be having Harry Potter marathons, where they just play them all back to back. And I imagine attendance will be huge.”
Whether that instills you with a sense of delight or dread is the only remaining question.