Think back to your high school graduation. There you are, on the verge of the great unknown, about to be sent off into a strange world offering both great possibilities and pitfalls. You walk down the aisle, receive your diploma and commiserate afterwards with your classmates -- perhaps the last time you'll see some of them, and most definitely the last time you'll all be together. Indeed, that safety net of familiar faces and places is moments away from being pulled out from under you.
Now, imagine that instead of a class of kids you shared cafeteria lunches with, you're parting from friends with whom you took magical adventures around the world and share secrets and experiences no one else could ever understand. And instead of anonymous high school, which promises to be a launching pad to bigger and better things, you're ending what could be the most popular film franchise ever, with no guarantee that you'll ever reach that plateau again.
That's the prospect faced by the young stars of the "Harry Potter" series; they debut the final film in their eight-part saga later this month, a last chance for camaraderie following their very last movie set wrap -- or, graduation. Having grown up together making those films, a world without Hogwarts must seem scary, or, at the very least, a bit empty.
In the case of the series' star, Daniel Radcliffe, he's talented enough to have already carved out a successful post-Potter career path, drawing rave reviews for his run on Broadway in "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying." But even with that spotlight secured, the Potter limelight, and creation of lifetime friendships, are unrepeatable experiences, and so when that final day of filming wrapped, there was no chance that it wouldn't bring a tidal wave of emotion.
Radcliffe spoke about the experience with Larry King for his upcoming CNN special on the finale, discussing that feeling of loss of camaraderie.
"I've had such an amazing time on Potter, and it's been such an extraordinary experience to work with," he told King (via E! Online). "It's actually the same group of people for 10 years. You develop such close bonds with so many people it feels odd that, although those bonds will still exist in the future, it feels very strange to not be going back to work with them next year."
And as for the last day on set?
"Very, very emotional," Radcliffe remembered. "I remember I kind of wept like a child on my last day."
Still, Radcliffe doesn't think he'd be up for doing another "Harry Potter" film in the rare event that author JK Rowling wrote another book that featured his character.
"I think that would be a bit odd. I'd be very skeptical about that. First of all, I don't think that [Rowling] will [write another Potter installment] and second of all, oh, I don't know, the idea of going back to something after 10 or 20 years?" he recently told the Los Angeles Times. "At that point, I will have worked 20 years to establish a career outside of it, and at that point to go back to it would feel a little self-defeating."
"It was very, very emotional. I remember I wept like a child that last day.