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It’s all over.

The series that has enveloped our lives since the 90’s, the epic that consumed half of our lives. Now it’s time for life after Potter.

Some critics have said that this last movie was sub-par, but that’s only because those critics are too old to be part of the generation that has been defined by it. The importance of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is not really its cinematic value, but rather the movie’s role as an emotional and cultural symbol. Other than the events and consequences of September 11, Harry Potter is probably the most iconic representation of the Millennial generation.

There were people in my theater who were actually bawling. My reaction wasn’t quite as strong, but it was certainly more emotional than I expected. Walking back home after the movie, I felt the whole experience was almost surreal. Some people have said they felt depressed; others said bittersweet. It was the end of an era, the completion of childhoods. Certainly, the end meant something for almost everyone at midnight showings everywhere. Facebook exploded with Harry Potter-related statuses around 2:10 a.m. I picked a few of my friends’ statuses to relate their sentiments. (All usernames and identifying info have been removed to protect the innocent.)

“Childhood Gone? — Check”

“And so, it ends. Thank you Harry for a great 13 years.”

“HARRY POTTER!!! Soooo amazing!!! DEPRESSED now. My life is now complete, and yet there is nothing to live for. So many mixed emotions, and most silent drive home after a premiere ever. Amazing amazing movie. LOVED it”

“Thank you, Harry—not just for my childhood, but for all of the years to come. ♥”

For me, the crowd reaction was crucial to the experience.  It was really the cheers that showed what Harry Potter means for this generations that grew up with Harry and his friends. The whole theater cheered together at moments such as when Neville Longbottom, the ultimate underdog, killed Nagini with the Sword of Gryffindor, or when Lord Voldermort was finally vanquished. Such moments showed just how unifying the Harry Potter franchise was.

I know I’ll miss it. In fact, I’m getting a little emotional just finishing this post (… or maybe it’s just because Matthew Lewis, who played Neville Longbottom, is at the WGN studios right now, and I’m out in the field).

No more books and no more movies. I guess it’s time for me to start reading Harry Potter in Chinese again.

The Boy Who Lived will live on forever.