When Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone hit theaters, I knew nothing other than it was the story of a cute little wizard boy and a Big Bad who would wreak havoc on his life. I don't remember why I went to see that first one, but as soon as I did, I was hooked. Every year I hit the theater for Harry, facing midnight fans to see the latest installment. But I avoided the books, vowing to wait until J.K. was done before I'd dig in. Then Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows hit shelves and it was time to finally work through the pages that had created such a whirlwind.

The ending was epic, sad, and happy all at the same time, and now that we've got this spanky first poster to the right for the film version (large in the gallery after the jump), I'm not feeling excitement so much as dread.
The same thing happened with the trailer, but with the fast-paced editing, I didn't have as much time to think and fear -- I was sucked in. But now, one lone and somber image of Hogwarts burning and I've got to face facts: As much as I love this series of films, I don't really want to see the end come to life on the big screen. [Spoiler Warning.]

Part of it, I realize, is my problem. I have this uncanny knack of completely falling for the characters that get killed off. Without fail, it always happens. Just like I had to watch Anya get savagely sliced with the sword, reading Deathly Hallows brought me face to face with the deaths of my beloved Nymphadora and Remus, plus Fred, Colin, Severus, and Dobby. And, of course, that's on top of the already-faced demise of one Sirius -- the best of them all.

As the poster teases, the final chapter, come 2012, is like all of the most hard-hitting, popular, and sad television finales wrapped into one. Hogwarts is taken over and then burns in battle as children and adults die together in the dangerous, raining chaos. It's not even just about saying goodbye to my favorite characters again -- I'm starting to get used to that -- but that this really isn't an epic battle in that typical cinematic good way that fuels the nerves and elicits excitement. Rowling went and made a real war, with death and danger that isn't carefully placed (save the series' stars).

I'll still see it, but the dread has set in. This might just be the first film where I can't control the waterworks. As Deathly Hallows arrives to wrap up the iconic series, are you feeling apprehension over the turmoil that will litter the screen? Are you ready to see Hogwarts burn?