Malee Moua, arts & entertainment editor.

Attention Harry Potter fans: this article contains spoilers.

On a rainy Thursday night, I went to the midnight screening of “Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows — Part Two” knowing full well that I had to wake up at 7 a.m. and face an eight-hour work day.

But I had to do it. It was my duty as a Harry Potter fan.

I read “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” four years ago, so I was genuinely surprised when Griphook was a jerk and left our pals Harry, Ron and Hermione to fend for themselves against a dragon. I was beaming for Neville when the sword of Gryffindor appeared before him, and he slashed Nagini, Voldemort’s vicious snake and the last horcrux.

At the end of the film, I couldn’t believe that it had been ten years. That I had grown up with the series. My first memories of Harry Potter take me back to a trailer classroom in the fourth grade. I came back from the book fair with “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” in hand. I heard a lot of hype about it, and I thought I’d give it a try. I barely got past the first chapter before I put the book down.

But then I saw the first film and became so transfixed on the characters and their world that I immediately set out to read “Chamber of Secrets” before the next film. (Kind of an unorthodox order, but I eventually returned to and completed “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”)

Harry, Hermione and Ron.
Before I knew it, I had become one of millions of people in the world who were in love with the series.

I remember getting up way too early, eagerly awaiting the UPS man to bring that special box with that special book. I remember rushing to my room, propping the book up on my pillow and devouring the 759 page book as though it were a haiku.

I remember when Sirius died. Sitting on my bed with my bedside lamp illuminating the pages and darkness outside my windows, I was so invested in the book that I couldn’t tell whether it was dawn or dusk. I remember rereading the first kiss between Harry and Ginny, because I wondered if a boy would ever feel that way when he kissed me.

I couldn’t take my eyes off the words on the page — so much so that I remember taking the seventh book to theater rehearsals with me. I was sitting on the stage when I read that Hedwig died.

It’s really hard to believe that it’s been over ten years since I first held that novel in my hands. I’m 21 now, and with the release of the final film, it’s all strangely sad — like I’m losing an old friend. So all I can say is thank you J.K. Rowling for teaching us the importance of courage, friendship and love overcoming evil.