Conversation turns to the future all the way to the end of Harry Potter. In February, shooting begins on the saga's terminus, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. That finale will be a bittersweet experience for more than the cast and crew. The film will close an era, one that began back in 2001 before the Olsen twins were legal, before Britney got knocked up, before a whole slew of Fannings came along to turn childhood itself into a performance. It will be the end of an eternal student, whose graduation will mark us all as a bit older.

Radcliffe faced it alone first, when he began reading Deathly Hallows on a plane trip. "It was very emotional, actually," he says. "In the front of the book I wrote something Anton Chekhov wrote to the woman he ended up spending the rest of his life with: 'Hello, the last page of my life.' Which I thought was very appropriate."

The fact is, Radcliffe's life has sort of been magic at least as magic as lives get these days. He became Harry Potter at 11. He will cease to be him at 21. And when he puts down the wand and broom, he'll be setting aside one of the most enchanted childhoods of the decade no longer England's richest or most famous teenager but just another twentysomething actor.

"I can't wait," he says, looking across a dark-green lawn and into a not-so-distant future.