AUBURN – Sandy Virgin thought about packing her kids in the car – driving from her home in Rumford to a movie theater in Auburn – for the midnight premiere of “Phoenix,” the latest Harry Potter film.
In the end, she backed down. She wouldn’t go alone. And she figured her 10-year-old son, Trenton, couldn’t stay up that late.
“I’ve been waiting since December of 2005 (when the last Potter movie premiered) to see this,” she said Wednesday, as people filed into Auburn’s Flagship Cinemas for the afternoon’s first showing of “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.”
It was worth the wait.
“It was perfect,” she said later. “It was exactly as I imagined.”
Inside the theater, people clapped and cheered as the boy wizard stood taller than ever against author J.K. Rowling’s darkening forces.
“I thought it was amazing,” said Sarah Wright, 17, of Lewiston. “I really did.”
With circles beneath her eyes from a late-night spent at the midnight premiere, Wright returned to the theater for the early matinee with her sister.
“I’m a Harry Potter freak,” she said. “It’s pathetic.”
She had to see it again, though.
“It showed a whole different view of Harry Potter,” she said.
Sam Thiesse of Sabattus, who revamped her schedule as a video store manager to attend the movie with her three children, raved.
“It tops all of them,” she said.
Details from the 870-page book were lost or condensed, but the story felt complete, Thiesse said.
Such characters as villainess Dorothy Umbridge – a kind of warped mixture of Ann Coulter and Emily Post – retain every ounce of their potency on screen.
And the frights? None bothered Thiesse’s children: Amanda, 16, Taylor, 13, or Dakota, 10.
“I loved it all,” Dakota said.
Thiesse’s plan now is to hold on for nine days for another Potter holiday, the July 21 release of Rowling’s last book in the series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”
She has ordered two copies already.
Virgin, also a fan, plans to pick up her book on release day. With U.S. publisher Scholastic printing a first run of 12 million copies, she figures she’ll be able to find a copy.
“I can’t imagine they’re going to run out,” Virgin said.