In person, Emma Watson is a fireball. She’s eloquent, smart, witty and scarily clued-in for one so young (she’s just 20).

Since the age of nine, she’s had an all-consuming schedule to create the eight movie instalments for an audience of Potter fanatics. But last year, not only did she throw herself into the world of fashion (as a Burberry model), she also became a student. Now midway through her first year at Brown University in Rhode Island in the US, Emma talks about her new life as a History and English Literature first-year and of course, the end of an era!

What has the atmosphere on set been like, knowing that you’re filming the last parts of the Harry Potter saga?
Emma Watson: It’s been tough doing two movies back to back, but there’s definitely awareness that this is it – this is the finale, and everyone is desperate to give their best performance.

How complicated has it been to do two films together?
Normally I’m a very methodical person, I have to know exactly where we are and how things relate to each other, but even I’ve had to let it go a bit – I’ve completely lost track.

You started college last year; how are you managing to study and be on set?
It’s going really well actually. In the States it’s great – you do all of your exams before Christmas so I was able to focus on filming when I came home.

What are you enjoying most about the university experience?
It’s hard to choose just one thing, but I guess I’m enjoying the simplicity of my life there. I’m sharing a tiny room with another girl, I’ve room for only a couple of pairs of jeans and a few tops – no entourage! And I get to sleep all the time – I love it!

Have people on the campus got over the fact that Hermione from Harry Potter is in their midst?
Yes, I was amazed how quickly that happened actually. The first two weeks there was a couple of people who passed comment but I think everyone realises I’m going to be there for four years with them so the novelty has worn off.

Do you think it’s a vital part of growing up to be out there on your own?
It’s definitely something I have had to adjust to. It’s strange not having people telling you what to do all the time. My schedule is usually so regimented that it’s taken me a while to get used to that aspect of things.

You’re sporting lost of bumps and bruises today, but are any of them real?
Not at the moment, but when we do stunts you definitely get knocked about, but it’s all part of the fun. More than ever, there’s a hell of a lot of running in these last two movies and I wasn’t ready for it – I’ve been so stiff.

Has there been a particular part of the movie that you’ve enjoyed filming?
I know I was complaining about having to run, but it was actually so nice to be out in the forest and out of the studio. For me it was very reminiscent of Azkaban and I really enjoyed that. This is such an emotionally heavy film that it’s sometimes nice to have a break from that and do something more physical.

What else does Hermione come up against?
As always, Hermione is the brains behind the operation. I always think of Hermione as a chess player, she’s always thinking ahead to the next move. And thank God she does, because there’s no way they would cope if she didn’t. There’s also still a weird relationship going on with Ron, and he abandons her which isn’t his finest moment, so she’s nursing a broken heart again.

How much is the trio’s relationship tested in this movie?
It’s so challenging on them in every way; physically and emotionally. They’re away from home, they’re isolated, they’re not sure what they’re doing. Being out of Hogwarts just makes it more real and I think these last two movies are going to feel really different.

Has Harry Potter been a sort of security blanket for you?
I guess it does feel like a kind of base, something that’s stable. But I’m also really enjoying new experiences like university.

Is it going to be hard to shake off the character of Hermione when it all comes to an end?
There’s a massive tie-in for us with these characters, I’ve grown up with Hermione. I can’t honestly tell you how hard or easy it’s going to be to walk away from this character until I’ve done it.

Janice Butler