It didn't need witches on broomsticks to cast a spell. For thousands of young Harry Potter fans who flocked to Leicester Square on Thursday for the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—Part 2, the magic was simply in being there and watch their favourite stars — Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint — walk the red carpet.

Many had camped overnight and some had travelled thousands of miles from foreign lands to be part of the big moment. For remember there would be no other Harry Potter film after this — and as the poster said: “It all ends.”

One young Canadian who had come all the way from Vancouver said: “It's the final one. I had to come. I'm running on fumes now because I haven't slept for the last three nights.”

A Swedish teenager, bleary-eyed, wet and tired, said it was like saying “goodbye to a part of your life”.

The crowd, waving placards saying “Potter till I die” and “Long live Queen Rowling”, screamed, blew kisses and cried as the cast arrived. The loudest cheer was for 21-year-old Ms. Watson who came in what the fashionistas described as “a floor-length tiered Oscar de la Renta ruffled gown”. Wiping her tears, she said the role of Hermione Granger had changed her life. “Hermione's has been like my sister. She feels so real to me. I will miss being her. That is devastating. She pushed me and made me a better person.”

Radcliffe, the bespectacled teen wizard of the film, recalled how he got the role when he was 11 and how the experience changed his life.

“Every opportunity I get from now on all goes to the fact I got, very, very lucky when I was 11,” he said assuring his fans that the Potter phenomenon would live forever.

“I don't think the end of the story happens tonight because each and every person who will see this film will carry this story with them through the rest of their lives,” he said.

J.K. Rowling, the author of the magical Potter series, hinted that after all it may not be the end of the line for the phenomenon she unleashed in 1997 with her first book.

“Never say, never…It is my baby and if I want to bring it out to play again I will,” she told the cheering crowd among which were many who had not been born when the first novel with a print run of just 1,000 copies was published all those years ago.

Since then the Potter books have sold more than 450 million copies and been translated into 67 languages.

The new film — eighth in the series — got a unanimous thumbs-up from critics.

“Bewitched to the last by final flourish of magic”, was The Guardian's verdict while The Times hailed it as marking a “sensational end” to a truly magical experience.

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