Sunday, February 13, 2011


Some days change your life forever. 

At the end of our 18-hour ordeal, I saw the *AP news video of the premiere. I saw my face. I saw my signs that I had made at midnight in the kitchen the night before. I saw the dementor costumes I had convinced all the London girls to don as an attempt to get noticed. 

After enduring a physical and emotional roller coaster with no sleep, the magnitude of what we had just done-- what I had just done-- sunk in. I had to stop myself from weeping hysterically. 

Why? I can't really explain it now. But that happened several times over the next few days every time we attempted a recap. There is a euphoria of mob mentality and childhood obsessions realized that you cannot appreciate any other way than this:
The Harry Potter 7 World Premiere.

It wasn't just the celebrities that made it exciting. It was the collective cast in the flesh. It was the hoardes of screaming fans, the trailer replaying every 30 seconds, the presence of J.K. Rowling. It was the adrenaline from the fight against Voldemort... a battle I have been actively invested in since I was in 4th grade. 

The journey began late one night in France, where Jani, Claire and I developed our plan of attack. Months later, on November 11, 2010, they were put into action. 

As quoted from the family email I sent out the next day:

The Night Before
"Spent three hours or so in the kitchen, preparing for the morrow. This constisted of multiple signs and dementor costumes out of trash bags. Our magnum opus was a giant banner that read, "We're here to kiss Harry Potter." The "Harry Potter" was copied from the book font... it was huge, and kind of incredible. Other good ones included "We came from Utah California Minnesota Vegas Tennessee and AZKABAN to see Harry Potter!"and "Dementors: Licensed to Kiss." We all went to bed to get 2 hours of sleep before the big day!

3:15 am: Leave to catch the night bus to Picadilly Circus; walked to Leister square to get in line. The English are very good with lines, or "queues" so it was all very organized, given that we were a bunch of homeless people assembled around an area only partially set up with barricades-- they had to move us for an hour, actually in order to set them up but it turned out fine. No mad rush at 8 when the little park area would open. (They let the 500 people or so into the barricades in different groups, so this is where you want to be. Then they close the gates. You have to have a hand stamp to get back in.) I wore running spandex, thermals, cords and sweats, the T-shirt I'd slept in, hoodie, sweatshirt, scarf, puffy coat, gloves, 2 pairs of long thermal socks and boots. This served me well.

5:30 am: It begins to rain and we think we may die.

6:00 am: We go in shifts to McDonald's and walking around, going to the bathroom, getting breakfast and getting feeling in our toes made us feel a lot better.

8:00 am- 3:45 pm: We wait inside in the park. Breaks in shifts for lunch, fighting people to keep our spots-- right behind the interview stage. They put big banners up so we couldn't see as well, but it was okay. Included in this is a literal FLASH FLOOD-- the likes of which we have NEVER seen before since coming to London. Haha despite all our umbrellas, everything got soaked and ruined. No more sitting down from this point on!

THEN camera crews start coming out. Costumes come on. We start cheering, showing off our signs, chanting, etc.
There is a huge screen where they replayed the video to the trailer for the rest of the night. The first time it played we all screamed... it gave me chills. 

The announcers say what celebrities are arriving in their cars (which we don't see)-- Just waiting for them to come, making a good show for all the cameramen and reporters doing their standups. (I decided I do love broadcast after all.) Made friends with Edith Bowman, huge BBC anchor. She gave us 4 shoutouts (referring to the American girls, girls from Vegas, etc.) throughout the course of the interviews... asked us who we wanted to see and would tell us when she got them, etc. 

Stars show up.
(I am purposefully not including pictures at this point because this post is long enough already, and because the ones we have are inferior to what can be found on Google Images.)
Can I even express this? Usually I hate the word "epic," but there was no other way to describe tonight. I feel like I have a personal relationship with the cast. Jani and I worked our way up to the fence-- literally edge of the red carpet as the night went on.

Celebrities there but not interviewed next to us:


Celebrities seen in the flesh:
Arthur Weasley, Fred and George (brown hair in real life= so much better for them. Came with their girlfriends= so much worse for us.)

Helena Bonham Carter-- crazy dress, hair, everything you expected and more.

J.K. Rowling. Can't even convey my love for the way she has changed my life.

Luna Lovegood-- didn't even recognize her (real life= auburn hair.)

Lucious Malfoy-- also harder to pick out without the blond wig

Emma Watson: stood right beside me, rocking a beautiful black dress and pixie cut. She is literally flawless. Look up her outfit.

Rupert Grint: Not an eloquent speaker, but made up for it by being the man who plays Ron Weasley. Could have died. We were chanting his name and they were running late, which is    why he and Dan Rad couldn't come over to us (just went to the special row of handicapped kids/ winners of things.) He was so nice-- they were rushing him on but he told us he'd come back.

Daniel Radcliffe: Crazy close-- didn't even think I liked him all that much but you should have heard the screams coming out of my mouth. SO close to all these people as we were front line beside the red carpet. He is suprisingly short and non-glasses wearing in real life. Have 500 pictures of his profile because we were also right beside the interview station... best spots ever.

Neville: so cute. So tall, skinny and grown up... I still think of him as the little boy in flying lessons in the first movie.

And now.... bet you didn't didn't expect this one!

Celebrities TOUCHED
(Told you we were close!)
Bonnie White, aka Ginny: First celeb to come by us-- I had nothing to autograph, so we just talked to her and had her grab my hand... kind of awkward, but that's okay. Jani and I were giddy with excitement. We made her laugh with all the things we said as she was coming down the row-- how great she looked, etc. It established a fun trend for future celeb encounters for the rest of the night.

Tom Felton: Saw him signing autographs taking TONS of time on the handicapped kids in a killer suit. Fell in love. He is so beautiful. When he came over to us I died a little bit again. Touched hands. Talked to him complimenting us profusely; he thanked us when we said things like he was our absolute favorite (true) and that we came all the way from America to see him. (At the moment, also very true.) We are all so in love with him... I know this is a dumb inclusion in a family email, but really. He is so hot. 

Dean Thomas: Nicest boy ever. Kind of grown up with him in the movies. On the other side of the red carpet, this girl's papers had fallen in front of the signs so she couldn't reach them, and he went and picked them up. (And I called that it would happen.) So we made a big deal about him and he came over to us and we told him how nice he was, classy dresser, etc. He HELD my hand.

End of the show: We waited around a few more minutes and saw Dan, Emma and Rupert-- who wanted to talk to us so bad but the lady with him wouldn't let him-- walk back to the other theatre. We took one of the giant official signs and one of the huge official posters home with us.

I can't even explain how great this was. I can die happy. Best day of my life."

*You can see the AP video  here. 
(Pause at 1:10 to see us!)

And yes, it still kind of makes me want to weep. 

Sometimes life is way too good to be true.


  1. Oh my gosh, Lauren. I'm so glad you posted this. What a good story!!! Think of how excited your children will be that you met these guys after you read them the books!

    (I'm so jealous right now.)

  2. I love this. SO much.

    And you're totally right about Tom Felton.

  3. Holy crap! You touched Tom Felton! I hate you so much! But I'm glad you had fun. :)