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As Part 1 begins, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe, pictured), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) have left Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and are on the run from Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and the Death Eaters, who have taken over England's Ministry of Magic.
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The trio needs to find and destroy the remaining horcruxes — objects that contain bits of Voldemort's soul — as well as battle dark forces (including the huge snake Nagini) and their own doubts and demons.
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''Part 1 is quite vérité, quite real,'' says director David Yates, who also helmed The Order of the Phoenix and The Half-Blood Prince. ''You feel that these three kids are refugees. They're almost homeless, and it feels interesting seeing them removed from the haven of Hogwarts.''
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''This film has been hard to make, and I've had some of the most trying moments, both physically and mentally, than ever before,'' Radcliffe says. ''I wasn't entirely thrilled with my performance in Half-Blood — I found it quite same-y, and didn't think there was enough variation in it — so I've worked hard to make sure that if the seventh film comes out and I'm still unhappy with it, I'll know it won't be from lack of trying.''
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Robbie Coltrane reprises his role as the hirsute giant Hagrid; here, he and Harry race down Privet Drive.
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Rhys Ifans joins the cast as Xenophilius Lovegood, the father of Harry's loony pal Luna. He's the editor of The Quibbler and an expert in fringe magic most wizards don't believe is real — like the mysterious Deathly Hallows.
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Voldemort's allies include Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton, third from left); Draco's parents, Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy (Jason Isaacs and Helen McCrory); and his creepy-even-when-silent aunt Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter).
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Ginny Weasley (Bonnie Wright) and Harry grow closer, even when his destiny threatens to pull them apart.
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Harry and Hermione clutch The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore by Rita Skeeter, which reveals the secret past of the late Hogwarts headmaster.
To read our feature story on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 pick up our Fall Movie Preview issue.