Warner Bros. Pictures
When J.K. Rowling recently mentioned on Oprah that she could write more Harry Potter books, Harry Potter incarnate—a.k.a. Daniel Radcliffe—freaked out. "Oh God, she promised me categorically that there wouldn't be another book involving Harry," he said. "I think 10 years is a long time to spend with one character."
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It has indeed been a long time. Many of us have spent more than a decade with the series, truly growing up with Harry Potter. I have been a fan almost since the beginning, taking the books with me as I moved from my awkward teenage years to my slightly-less-awkward mid-20s. A lot has changed since the first Harry Potter book was published in 1997—let alone since the first movie came out in 2001. For all the media phenomena we have to obsess over today, nothing from the same time period has yet proved to be as enduring as Harry Potter.
Regardless of what J.K. Rowling may or may not write one day—and she has pledged that there will not be any more movies—it certainly feels like the beginning of the end. The first part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows finally hits theaters today. Part two will follow in seven months. As muggles around the world gear up for the final chapter of the epic children's series that's hardly a children's series anymore, even the most ardent fans might need a bit of a refresher course. Even if you haven't devoured (and re-devoured) the series, here are the most important things you need to know before you watch the movie: