Long live Harry Potter: Everything you need to know about Pottermania resurgence

Harry Potter fans using mobile phones outside the Palace Theatre in London, Britain, which stages British writer J.K. Rowling's play 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child'. PHOTO: EPA

Pottermania appears set for a revival.

On Thursday (Aug 18), author and creator of the magical universe, J.K. Rowling, announced that three new Harry Potter books will be released to fans worldwide in September.

The series, titled Pottermore Presents, comes after the opening of the play and publication of its script book, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child Parts One And Two, in July.

The e-book announcement also precedes the highly anticipated opening of the latest expansion to the cinematic franchise, Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them, which will hit theatres worldwide on Nov 18.

The announcement has delighted long-time fans who have been itching for new stories about the magical world of Rowling's imagination.

For the muggles who are unaware and baffled by Pottermania, here is everything you need to know about the post-Harry Potter supplementary works planned for this year.

1. Pottermore Presents e-book series

Women pose for a photograph as they read part of J.K. Rowling's new book Harry Potter and the Cursed Child during an event to mark the book launch at a mall in Chennai on July 31. PHOTO: AFP

The Pottermore Presents series will feature three new digital Harry Potter books.

To be released on Sept 6, the series is a collection of short stories that include new and unreleased stories penned by Rowling herself, as well as existing pieces that she had previously written for the Pottermore website.

The books will be available for purchase on Pottermore, as well as other major digital book retailers.

Each e-book is approximately 10,000 words long and are supplements to the original eight books in the franchise.

Hogwarts: An Incomplete And Unreliable Guide will dive deeper into secrets and lore of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where Harry and company received their education and experienced multiple adventures.

Short Stories From Hogwarts Of Power, Political And Pesky Poltergeists focuses on Professor Slughorn, Harry Potter's former potions master.

Short Stories From Hogwarts Of Heroism, Hardship And Dangerous Hobbies delves into the history of Professor McGonagall, head of Gryffindor House and later succeeded Professor Albus Dumbledore to become headmistress at Hogwarts.

Each e-book is priced at US$2.99 (S$4.01), and will be released in English and seven other languages: French, German, Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Brazilian Portuguese and Spanish.


2. Harry Potter And The Cursed Child Parts One And Two - the play

Workers make preparations at the entrance to the Palace Theatre ahead of the world premiere of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child stage play in London on July 30. PHOTO: AFP

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a two-part play that opened at the London Palace Theatre on July 30.

The play was collaboratively written by Jack Thorne, John Tiffany, who is also the director, and Rowling.

It is set 19 years after the epilogue of the last book, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows.

The sequel features fan-favourite hero Harry Potter, who is now an overworked employee at the Ministry of Magic.

It also focuses on Harry's youngest son, Albus Severus Potter.

The play brings back all of the series' familiar faces: Harry's two best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger as well as Harry's childhood rival, Draco Malfoy.

Their children also make an appearance in the play.

The play had courted some controversy in June when the cast of the play was first revealed.

Some fans had expressed anger over the casting of Hermione as a black woman.

They took to Twitter to complain about how the casting did not stay true to the descriptions stated in the books and have tarnished the legacy of the fiesty heroine.

Rowling, however, defended the casting decision, saying the outcry came from "a bunch of racists" and that actress Norma Dumezweni was chosen as "she was the best actress for the job".

Actress Emma Watson, who played Hermione in the film franchise, also showed support for Dumezweni on Twitter, saying she couldn't wait to see her performance in the Cursed Child.

Aside from the brief synopsis and the controversial character portraits, not much else is known about the plot as Rowling requested for fans to not publicise spoilers online under her #KeeptheSecret Twitter campaign.

Those who want to find out more will have to pick up a copy of the book or catch a flight to London to catch the play.

However, don't rush to purchase your plane tickets just yet, as there is an overwhelming demand for tickets which sell out very quickly.

Individuals who bought their tickets from unauthorised merchants have also been cautioned that the production team has the right to refuse admission to customers with tickets purchased from re-sale websites.


3. Harry Potter And The Cursed Child - the script book

Piles of the new Harry Potter script book Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One & Two are pictured inside Waterstones bookshop in central London on July 31. PHOTO: AFP

Harry Potter And The Cursed Child was also published as a script book on July 31 - Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling's birthday.

The book allows fans of the series who do not have the opportunity to watch the play a chance to enjoy the story.

As expected, the script book was released to great fanfare. Fans all over the world rushed to bookstores in order to be one of the first to get their hands on a copy.

In London, long queues formed at bookstores all over the city the night before the release.

Many fans also dressed up for the occasion, some as their favourite characters, while others donned the iconic black robes of Hogwarts.

Even in Singapore, bookstores came alive with witches and wizards.

Local bookstores such as Kinokuniya and Popular organised special events and activities on the release day, including a costume competition and a lucky draw.

Though critical as well as fan reception of the book has been mixed, its release has been a commercial success.

According to Scholastic and Little, Brown Book Group, print sales for the script book totalled to 3.3 million in North America and close to 850,000 in the United Kingdom.

Online retailer Amazon also stated that The Cursed Child was its most pre-ordered title in print and e-book since the 2007 release of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows.


4. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them - the movie

A cinema still fron Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. PHOTO: WARNER BROS PICTURES

There is also something in store for fans who are familiar only with the cinematic universe of the series.

The new Harry Potter film is set to release in cinemas worldwide on Nov 18.

It is based on the book of the same name, which was published in 2001 in between the release of Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire and Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, the fourth and fifth books respectively.

The story follows Newt Scamander, and is set in New York City in the 1920s. Scamander is a magizoologist who has a keen interest in magical creatures.

His story connects to the original series, as Fantastic Beasts is meant to be the textbook reference guide that Harry uses in the first novel.

Scamander had also been a student at Hogwarts, and his grandson also goes on to marry Harry's friend Luna Lovegood.

The movie is the first of a planned trilogy.

It is directed by David Yates, who directed the final four films of the franchise, and Scamander is played by Oscar-award winning actor Eddie Redmayne.

The movie also marks Rowling's screenwriting debut.

To commemorate this, the screenplay will also be released a day after the movie premieres in both digital and physical formats.


Sources: The New York Post, The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, The Verge, DigitalSpy, CinemaBlend

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