Everything you need to know about the new Harry Potter book

It’s really happening: there’s going to be another Harry Potter, and it’s going to be here soon. At the end of the month, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be released, and it’s already exciting wizarding fans across the world.

In the last book, the story ended with an epilogue where an older Harry, Ron and Hermione were sending their own children to Hogwarts. Harry’s famous scar “had not ached for nineteen years,” and “all was well”, Rowling wrote, bringing the saga to a close for good… Or so we thought.

Now a new Harry Potter story is about to unfold. But what’s it about? And, more important, how can you experience it? We’ve got everything you need to know:

What’s it about?

Set nineteen years after the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Potter is no longer a wand-touting wonderboy wizard: he’s an overworked father-of-three, balancing his life at home with his work as an Auror at the Ministry of Magic. 

Potter’s pedestrian life is interrupted as his son struggles with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. Both Harry and his son, Albus, are set to learn that “darkness comes from unexpected places,” according to the team behind the play. 

We don’t know much more than that. But we’re set to learn more than ever before about Potter’s life after Voldemort, and what evil lurks in the world of wizardry now he who must not be named has been vanquished.

One major difference: it’s not a novel

The Cursed Child was written for the stage; you’ll be able to buy a copy of the script, or borrow it from one of our libraries, but the story itself is the first in the series not to be released as a novel. J. K. Rowling explained this, saying: “The story only exists because the right group of people came together with a brilliant idea about how to present Harry Potter on stage. I’m confident that when audiences see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child they will understand why we chose to tell this story in this way.”

Still, this shocked a lot of readers who expected any follow-up to be much the same as previous stories. Instead, those who want to experience the new story will need to book tickets to see the play, which is premiering in London at the end of this month or get their hands on a copy of the script.

Seeing the production will be nearly impossible for international audiences, but have hope - Warner Brothers, the film studio who brought Rowling’s stories to the silver screen has signalled that it plans to release a film adaptation which would be released worldwide.

There won’t be any familiar faces

If you’re expecting Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson to return (the duo who played Harry and Hermione in the film adaptations of the original seven books) then you’re going to be disappointed. Meet the new cast:

Many of the actors involved in the original series have signalled that they have left their Harry Potter past behind, and the Cursed Child is a different story for a different medium. 

As with most stage productions, it’s likely that different countries will have a different cast, so don’t expect to see the above anywhere outside of the UK. But international audiences should be heartened by the interesting casting choices: audiences have warmly received the news that Noma Dumezweni will be playing Hermione, and it’s hoped that this will pave the way for other creative choices. 

Other things worth knowing

If you’re lucky enough to be in London when the play is showing and you want to try and get tickets, be warned that the play is in two parts, so you might have to see part one and two on different days. Tickets have also mostly sold out, and you should be extremely careful about purchasing from resellers as you end up out of cash if sold a fake ticket; some are selling for over  $300, and the price is likely to rise in future.

There are no plans right now for the story to be released in any way other than through the script but given the way previous instalments have taken off, it’s likely that international audiences will have more to look forward to soon.

If you need to know more and the script isn’t enough, it’s worth checking out Pottermore and following JK Rowling on Twitter and other social networks. That way, you’ll be among the first to hear when the story is released in different forms to new audiences