A marathon screening leading up to the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 kicked off on the 13th of June at GVmax (Golden Village Vivocity), one of the widest screens in Asia. Those attending the marathon were among the first in Singapore to catch the finale of the worldwide phenomenon!

Here’s a recap of what went down at the marathon, followed by a review of Part 2:-

9.30 AM – The marathon attendees are queuing up at Golden Village to collect their goodie bags before the marathon begins. Majority of the crowd are in their late teens/working adults (with some taking MC/leave or skipping school, for sure). But of course, it’s the teen/adult fans who truly grew up with the series and would naturally want to end the era with a bang.

The queue is really long. Spotted: several fans dressed as characters from the series and someone carrying a sleeping bag!

10.30 AM – According to the emcee, there are over 600 people at the GVmax theatre where all 8 movies will be screened. People from other countries such as Istanbul, Brazil, Malaysia, China and the U.S have flown in to catch the marathon as well. Gotta admire how dedicated these fans are!

Before the first movie begins, the emcee asks the crowd trivia questions and awards those who answer correctly with exclusive Harry Potter merchandise, e.g: What is Harry Potter’s middle name? What is the Hogwarts motto? It’s quite clear that the emcee doesn’t know a thing about Harry Potter.

10.50 AM – The first movie, Sorcerer’s Stone, begins! The Warner Brothers logo emerges on screen and is greeted with cheering and applause from all the fans – the same goes for the start of all 8 movies.

1.20 PM – Time for lunch! The meal comprises of a rather plain bento box of rice and sides. It could’ve been better.

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We saw people dressed as Death Eaters, Bellatrix Lestrange (there were many of her, because she’s that awesome), Dobby, Lucius Malfoy, Sybil Trelawney, Luna Lovegood, Rita Skeeter and some dressed in Hogwarts robes they rented/bought.

2.15 PM – Chamber of Secrets is screened! The fans applaud when Dobby first appears on screen in Harry’s bedroom at Privet Drive, when Dobby exclaims “Dobby… is… free!” after Lucius Malfoy unknowingly hands him a sock and after Hagrid’s return at the end.

After the movie ends, everyone is given a short 20 minute break. No signs of tiredness yet.-

5.20 PM – Time for Prisoner of  Azkaban, a fan favourite. After the passing of Richard Harris, Michael Gambon has taken over as Dumbledore.

Dinner follows (bento box with noodles and sides), after which there will only be 20 minute breaks between the movies and no more meals until breakfast next morning.

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The 12 finalists of the Best Dressed competition are unveiled, and the winners named, before the 4th movie begins:

Besides looking the part, they were all required to roleplay the characters they were dressed as for judging. The girl on the extreme left did the best impression of Bellatrix Lestrange (“I killed Sirius Black, I killed Sirius Black!”) Unfortunately, she didn’t win the top prize.

9.10 PM – Goblet of Fire begins! The crowd is still very much awake. Some of us are amused when there is scattered applause during the movie after Peter Pettigrew kills Cedric Diggory. As much as we like the character Cedric Diggory, he unpleasantly reminds us of a certain sparkling vampire from another fantasy series. Ahem.

Fast forward to 2.45 AM – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince begins! Many people started getting sleepy during the previous movie, Order of the Phoenix, with many more nodding off through the 6th installment (myself included). Some people have brought out their blankets and pillows to make themselves comfy in their seats.

5.35 AM – Deathly Hallows Part 1 begins. Not too long before the finale, now!

7.55 AM – Time for breakfast! Spotted: several audience members snoozing in their seats, curled up beneath jackets and blankets. I don’t blame them, everyone is tired and sleepy at this point.

Breakfast: yet another bento box with noodles and sides. Some choose to utilise the mouthwash and toothbrush provided in the goodie bags before Part 2 begins.

9.15 AM – Everyone is now wide awake. To mark the start of the movie, the emcee asks the audience for suggestions of a Harry Potter spell for everyone to shout. One girl suggests “finite incantatem”, which literally means “to finish”. How fitting, yes? On the count of 3, everyone exclaims “finite incantatem”, the lights go out, and Deathly Hallows Part 2 begins.

IT ALL ENDS HERE! After more than 10 years, 7 movies and7 books, the era comes to an end. The Warner Brothers logo emerges amidst clouds on-screen to the loudest screaming and applause yet. The Harry Potter logo that follows is met with the same reaction. This is an emotional moment for the long-time fans.

11.15 AM – The movie has officially ended! The crowd applauds one last time. The 25 hour-long marathon comes to a close.

The marathon, though tiring, was a fantastically rewarding experience (for all the fans present, I’m sure!). It was well worth the $88 price per ticket. Nothing beats watching Harry Potter movies with fellow fans!

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Review (no worries, it’s spoiler-free!)

Sypnosis: The final chapter begins as Harry, Ron, and Hermione continue their quest of finding and destroying the Dark Lord’s three remaining Horcruxes, the magical items responsible for his immortality. But as the mystical Deathly Hallows are uncovered, and Voldemort finds out about their mission, the biggest battle begins and life as they know it will never be the same again.

I will try to be as unbiased as possible, but even then I can safely tell you this: Part 2 is nothing short of spectacular.

The atmosphere/feel of the film: It’s definitely darker, more heartfelt, action-packed and more quickly paced than the slower Part 1. Even if you’re not a fan of the series, you might even shed tears during a particularly touching and emotional scene featuring a series of flashbacks.

Expect many battle scenes and a lot spell-casting as Hogwarts slowly falls to ruins and several beloved characters meet their demise.

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The acting: The movie is an emotional rollercoaster for Harry, Ron and Hermione (Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson). The trio’s acting has definitely improved over time.

Keep a lookout for Severus Snape as well – a lot is revealed about his character. I commend Alan Rickman for his performance; he is arguably one of the best actors in this flick.

The bad points: Several scenes were particularly awkward or forced and felt out of place (therefore hard to take seriously) – without spoiling too much, for example, a scene concerning Draco Malfoy and Lord Voldemort. The pacing was also sometimes a tad too fast where there could’ve been more development. Also, Lord Voldemort isn’t as scary as he ought to be!

Overall verdict: 4/5! I can guarantee that you’re in for a real treat – yes, even all you non-readers of the books. (The critics seem to love it as well – its Rotten Tomatoes rating currently stands at 97% and is likely to remain above 90%.)

For all you fans of the books, even though they did leave out many parts that were in the book, it’s more than likely you’ll love it too.

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