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'Harry Potter' casts his final spell

Movies
Oh, nothing really big in movies this week, just the culmination of the biggest movie franchise in recent memory, about a young wizard dubbed "entertainment champion of the world" by TODAY.com contributor Michael Ventre. Nothing to see here, please move along. KIDDING, of course: The eighth and final Harry Potter film, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2," opens this week, and you won't be able to escape hearing about it. Fortunately, early reviews are extremely positive. As Dave White, another TODAY.com contributor, notes, this is the rare franchise where the films just got better and better as they went along. Goodbye, Harry, and thanks for all the magic. (Opens July 15.)

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    Ian Gavan / Getty Images Europe

    Image: Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows - Part 2 - World Film Premiere

    'Harry Potter' world premiere

    Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, J.K. Rowling and the rest of the "Potter" cast gather in London to celebrate the eighth film and the end of a decade of work.

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    Daniel Radcliffe -

    Daniel Radcliffe walks the red carpet at the "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2" premiere at London's Trafalgar Square on Thursday, July 7. The actor has starred in all eight films since being cast at age 11. He recently revealed he's given up alcohol after abusing it while making the film series.

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  • Image: Actress Emma Watson arrives for the world premiere of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" in Trafalgar Square, in central London

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    Emma Watson -

    Hermione Granger is all grown up. Emma Watson dazzled in a grey Oscar De La Renta ruffled gown at the world premiere. She's believed to be planning to study at Oxford University now that the film series is finished.

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    Rupert Grint -

    Rupert Grint played Ron Weasley, Harry and Hermione's pal, in the series. His large redheaded family also played an important role in the saga.

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    J.K. Rowling -

    J.K. Rowling went from a single mother on welfare to one of the world's richest women thanks to authoring the Potter book series.

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    Helena Bonham Carter -

    Helena Bonham Carter plays Bellatrix Lestrange, one of evil Voldemort's cohorts, in the films.

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    Alan Rickman -

    Alan Rickman plays Severus Snape in the series, a pivotal character whose motives may not always be what they seem.

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    One big party -

    Crowds fill Trafalgar Square in London hoping to see the "Potter" stars. Some waited for days in a downpour and with limited bathroom facilities to watch the events unfold.

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    Tom Felton -

    Tom Felton plays Draco Malfoy, Harry's school nemesis, in the films. He recently told the Daily Mail that the young cast members know they weren't chosen for acting skill, but because they resembled the characters Rowling created.

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  • Image: A fan holds up a placard ahead of the world premiere of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2" in London

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    Carrying on -

    A fan holds up a placard playing off the famed World War II admonition "Keep Calm and Carry On."

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    Robbie Coltrane -

    Robbie Coltrane plays the gentle giant Hagrid, who helps Harry, Hermione and Ron while they're at Hogwarts.

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    James and Oliver Phelps -

    Twin actors James and Oliver Phelps play twins Fred and George Weasley in the film series. They're identical, but Oliver has a mole on the right side of his neck and James does not.

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    Natalia Tena -

    Natalia Tena plays Nymphadora Tonks in the films. Her character marries and has a son during the series.

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    Helen McCrory -

    Helen McCrory plays Narcissa Malfoy. She originally cast as Narcissa's sister, Bellatrix Lestrange, but due to pregnancy had to give that role to Helena Bonham Carter.

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    Bonnie Wright -

    Bonnie Wright plays the character most young female "Potter" readers envy most -- Ginny Weasley, who eventually weds Harry.

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    Flying the colors -

    Harry Potter fans clutch books they're hoping to have autographed. Their faces are painted in scarlet and gold, the colors of Gryffindor, Harry's house at Hogwarts.

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    Clemence Poesy -

    Clemence Poesy plays Fleur Delacour, and in the film series, she weds Ron's brother, Bill.

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    Jamie Campbell Bower -

    Jamie Campbell Bower plays a young Gellert Grindelwald in the last two films. The actor also appears in another enormously popular film franchise, the "Twilight" series.

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    Warrick Davis and family -

    Warrick Davis poses with his family on the red carpet. He plays both Griphook and Flitwick in the series, and also worked as a casting agent to find additional little people to play goblins in the films. He also starred in "Willow," and plays an Ewok in the "Star Wars" series.

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    Evanna Lynch -

    Evanna Lynch plays Luna Lovegood, a loony Hogwarts student who plays an important role in the book.

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    Michael Gambon -

    Michael Gambon replaced the late Richard Harris as beloved Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore. Harris, who passed away in 2002 at age 72, took the role in the first two films, and Gambon played him in the remaining movies.

    Getty Images / Getty Images

If you've got kids too young for the scary world of Harry, fear not. This week also sees the opening of that rare children's film that doesn't have even the slightest potential for tears or bad dreams. Even toddlers can see "Winnie the Pooh" with no fear. The film combines three A.A. Milne stories, and Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit and all those beloved creatures from the Hundred-Acre Wood return. Adults will love it, too. Here's a fun game: Listen to Winnie the Pooh and Tigger talk and see if you can tell that the same actor (Jim Cummings) is voicing both. (Opens July 15.)

Books
More than a few fans of HBO's "Game of Thrones" hungrily sought out George R. R. Martin's books after the all-too-brief first TV season ended. Martin has four enormous novels out in the series already, and now this week, the fifth arrives. "A Dance With Dragons" continues the saga of the Starks, the Lannisters, Daenerys Targaryen and the rest of the characters. Best to read this one slowly, savoring every one of its 1,040 pages. Six years passed between the last novel and this one, and who knows when the sixth book, "The Winds of Winter," will hit shelves?

TV
It's probably a statement that's been made by more than one person: "Roseanne's Nuts." But in this case, it's also the name of comic Roseanne Barr's new reality show. Barr, her son and boyfriend are now running a 40-acre macademia-nut and livestock farm in Hawaii, and the show covers the challenges and rewards of that business. And knowing Roseanne, she won't bother to edit herself for the cameras, so "nuts" might just describe each episode. (Premieres July 13, 9 p.m., Lifetime.)

DVD
In the animated film "Rango," Johnny Depp voices an opinionated chameleon, a once-pampered pet who finds himself serving as sheriff in an Old West town that's desperate for water. The film is little advanced for the youngest kids (rated PG rather than G), but is beautifully put together. Roger Ebert gave it four stars and called it "some kind of miracle." (On DVD July 15.)

"The Lincoln Lawyer" is no designer-suited dandy. Mickey Haller is a criminal-defense attorney who operates out of his car, and he's not above cutting a deal or cutting a corner. When a high-paying Beverly Hills client turns out to be not exactly what he seems, Haller finds his own life forever affected. The amiably scruffy Matthew McConaughey plays Haller just as novelist Michael Connelly wrote him. Leonard Maltin calls the film "well-crafted" and "well-cast." (On DVD July 12.)

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