Almost 10 years after the first Harry Potter release, the film franchise is coming to an end with J.K. Rowling's last and bleakest book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows."
The lengthy and complex tale is divided into two parts. The first has opened in the U.S. while the second debuts next year. This film, directed by David Yates, is the most serious so far in the epic story of Harry Potter and his mission to rid the world of Voldemort, the ultimate evil.
Voldemort, the most powerful and evil wizard of all time, is finally dominating the world. Only Harry Potter, the boy who has mysteriously survived the dark lord's deadly attacks, stands in his way. At least, until now.
Harry and his two friends, Hermione and Ron, are on the run. Their task is to find and destroy dangerous magical objects called Horcruxes.
"Voldemort has split his soul into seven pieces to make himself immortal," says Emma Watson, who plays Hermione. "He's hidden these pieces of his soul into different objects related to his past and to him and who he is."
Once again, Daniel Radcliffe interprets Harry Potter.
"They know every day is going to be hard and full or anger and fear and deep deep worry," he said. "It's a tough film for these three characters and their relationships."
The three friends are no longer at their safe haven, the Hogwarts School of Magic. They're exposed to evil and brutal attacks.
Many of the scenes are ominous. Colors are subdued. Gloom and doom are everywhere as Voldemort asserts his authority.
"I think he's threatened by Harry's goodness. It enrages him," says Ralph Fiennes, who plays Voldemort.
The film is philosophical and deals with love, loyalty and justice. Director David Yates and his cast deliver a Shakespeare-like interpretation of the story. This is no kids' movie.
Yet, among Washingtonians who waited in line for hours to get into the film's premiere, many were small children.
"Harry Potter is my life," said a boy. "I know everything about Harry Potter. My favorite character, I would have to say...Voldemort."
"It scared me a little bit, and it was a little bit sad," said a girl. "But otherwise it was a really good story."
And then there are the older ones, who grew up with Harry Potter. Like this young adult.
"I've just watched all six previous movies this past weekend to make sure I was ready for this one," said a woman.
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," in two parts, is the last in the series. It will lower the curtain on the Potter franchise.
This is a nuanced, well-edited film that hits all of the story's landmarks. It's what the world has been waiting for.
The first part will keep fans happy until next year when the second installment opens. After that, fans will have to learn to live without.