Courtney Smith and her friend wanted to get matching tattoos and considered puzzle pieces that would fit together. But something else bewitched them.
Almost two weeks before the nationwide release of the film "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2," the two went to a tattoo shop to have the tops of their feet adorned with the Deathly Hallows symbol: a circle with a line through it inside of a triangle.
"It's not a butterfly or Tinker Bell. It's the Deathly Hallows," said Smith, 31, of Chesterton, a teacher who jokes that she'll use the tattoo to promote literacy.
For fans of the seven-book series that chronicles the adventures of the boy wizard Harry Potter as he fights the evil Lord Voldemort, the namesake of the final book needs no explanation. But for all of you Muggles out there, or people without magical powers, the Deathly Hallows are three highly powerful items -- a wand, a stone and a cloak -- featured in a fairytale told in the book.
The last movie of the series premieres in theaters Friday, ending a decade of Potter-mania in film, and Northwest Indiana fans aren't quite ready to say goodbye.
Kelly Jansky, 22, of Whiting, plans to wear a neon yellow shirt featuring the Deathly Hallows to the midnight premiere of the movie early Friday morning. Like Smith's tattoo, the symbol is a subtle sign to show she's a die-hard fan. Jansky said she has read every book in the series at least seven times.
"I like series books," she said. "I like watching the characters develop."
Linda Johnsen, manager of the Cedar Lake branch of the Lake County Public Library, said today's readers, like Jansky, enjoy series. The Harry Potter books are so popular with the county system's readers that many have had to be replaced because they've been checked out so often. She estimates the library has about 30 copies of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" and about 20 copies of each of the other books.
"When a book takes off like that, it's kids saying, 'This is really good,' to other kids. It's not coming from a librarian," she said.
For Morgan Fisk, 15, of Crown Point, who read the first book when she was in the first grade, it was easy to identify with the characters growing up in the books and movies because she was growing up with them.
"Something I practically grew up with is coming to an end," said Fisk, a self-proclaimed hardcore fan who listens to wizard rock, a genre of music based on the world created in the series.
Smith, who got the Deathly Hallows tattoo, said although the movies will reach their conclusion Friday, she's excited for the series to continue to live on through Pottermore.com, a website set up by author J.K. Rowling. In the meantime she's dealing with some Harry Potter issues in the family.
"I think my husband wants to get one, too," Smith said about her Deathly Hallows tattoo. "'Cause he's jealous."