Thousands of fans from around the world massed in London on Thursday for the premiere of the final film in the magical adventure series.
They thronged Trafalgar Square, where the stars walked a rain-sodden red carpet, and nearby Leicester Square, where the movie was being shown in a plush movie theatre, braving the inevitable London rain with umbrellas, waterproofs and good cheer.
Sun broke out as cast members, including leads Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, and Harry's creator J.K. Rowling began arriving on the red carpet, signing autographs and chatting with fans.
Speaking from a stage erected in Trafalgar Square, 21-year-old Radcliffe, who has played the boy wizard since he was 11, told fans that Harry's story would never end.
"Each and every person, not just here in this square but around the world who have watched these films for the last 10 years, they will always carry the films with them for the rest of their lives," he said.
Rowling wiped away tears as she thanked the actors for "the amazing things they did for my favourite characters".
The fans, who chanted "thank you" as Rowling and the cast took the stage, came from around the world. Many had camped out overnight, some for days. Most were young adults who grew up with the boy wizard and his adventures, and could not pass up the chance to say goodbye.
"It's our childhood — we made friends because of Harry Potter," said Luis Guilherme, a 22-year-old graduate student from Sao Paolo, Brazil. "I don't know how my life would be without it. I would be less imaginative, for sure, and less adventurous. I would never be here in London.
"We'd never forgive ourselves if we didn't come, one last time."
The feeling is shared by the film's stars, who like many of their fans grew up with the series.
Grint said on Wednesday he felt "a little bit lost" without the movies in his life. Watson said she'd miss playing plucky Hermione Granger, who was "like a sister".
US Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour (with her neice Ellie) was an unusual red carpet presence at the Harry Potter premiere, considering that Paris haute couture week was still going on. But Wintour and her entire Vogue team had no option — seeing as she was banned from attending the debut couture show from Azzedine Alaia. The two fell out in 2009 and there's no love lost, with Alaia saying of Wintour: "She hasn't photographed my work in years even if I am a best seller in the US and I have 140 square meters at Barneys. American women love me; I don't need her support at all."