The wet and windy wait is almost over for thousands of Harry Potter fans who have been camped out in London's Trafalgar Square for days ahead of Thursday's (June 7) premiere of the one of the most successful movie franchises in film history.
Many have been staking out their spot, lining the enormous red carpet since Monday (July 4) in eager anticipation of seeing their favourite stars and celebrated series author JK Rowling.
An elaborate red carpet set will be built from Trafalgar Square to nearby Leicester Square, in what's believed to be longest in the world
running to approximately three-quarters of a mile.
Hollywood studio Warner Bros is pulling out all the stops for the final Potter installment by recreating Diagon Alley, the fictional London
shopping street where wizards buy their magical wares.
The 8,000 fans who queued for wristbands to allow them into the Trafalgar Square enclosure have endured all kinds of weather, but it's not
dampened their spirits.
"I've been here about 72 hours, we've been counting down somewhere. And I've been sunburnt from Monday and Tuesday when it was really hot and now I am absolutely soaked from when it rained last night….so English weather. I wouldn't change it for the world," said Amanda Hulley, a 23-year-old fan from Norfolk in England.
"I've been here since 6 o'clock (a.m.) Monday. And it's been really good, there's a lot of camaraderie, You know, everyone is a Harry Potter fan and it just brings us all together. It unites us and there is such a great atmosphere and this is what it's all about," said 35-year-old Richard Bennet from England's Southend, who has camped out at many other Potter premieres in London.
Dressed in Harry Potter costumes, the fans have come from America, Australia, Mexico and across continental Europe, all keen to see the London sights where Potter and his wizard gang have their adventures.
National flags and amusing posters are slung across the barricades.
Someone hung a tee-shirt up on the barrier reading "There's room in my sleeping bag if you want to Slytherin" in a witty reference to one of the Hogwarts school houses.
Most of the fans are aged between 18 and 25 years old. They call themselves the "Harry Potter generation" having literally grown up
alongside the three stars of the books Harry, Ron and Hermione. In the films the characters are played by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, child stars who grew up in the spotlight of the world's media.
The stars and their co-stars will all speak on huge stages at Trafalgar Square before walking the mammoth red carpet to the cinemas in Leicester Square where the film is being shown.
Construction workers have been working through the night to erect the stages, red carpet and set.
The seven movies released so far, starting with "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's (Sorcerer's) Stone" in 2001, have grossed 6.4 billion dollars (USD) at the box office, averaging close to one billion dollars (USD) per picture.
Although the figures hide a steady decline in admissions, with the first film still the most successful, experts predict that the combination
of higher 3D ticket prices and anticipation surrounding the final chapter could see "Deathly Hallows 2" break records.