Learning Age-Old Lessons About Life From 'Harry Potter'

Last night I took my family to our little neighborhood theater where, with a few hundred other fans, we watched, or more accurately were transfixed by, the midnight premiere of the final Harry Potter film. My 12-year-old daughter, the biggest Potter fan in our brood, was in full Ravenclaw regalia for the evening, after having spent the last two days in a marathon re-reading of the book on which the film is based.

The audience, mostly older teens who had grown up with Harry Potter, cheered at the moments of triumph, laughed and applauded when Ron and Hermione kissed, and were, for teens, uncharacteristically silent at the moment when Harry meets his destiny. One young man, who'd been acting the part of Mr. Cool for his date all evening, whispered worriedly, "He doesn't really die, does he?"