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'Cursed Child': What to expect in surprise Harry Potter sequel

'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' comes out in book form on July 31, after debuting on the London stage on July 30.

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    'Harry Potter' author J.K. Rowling lights the Empire State Building to kick off her non-profit children's organization 'Lumos,' April 9, 2015. Scholastic Inc. announced Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, that a 'script book' of 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' will be published July 31. The book is a based on the two-part stage collaboration of Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany and arrives just after the play premieres in London July 30.
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How's this for a special birthday gift for Harry Potter: Almost nine years after releasing the final Potter book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," JK Rowling will release an official eighth installment in the popular series on July 31 – the boy wizard's birthday.

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" will first hit the London stage in a special two-part theatrical production premiering July 30. Thanks to fans' demands, the play will then be published in book form immediately after the stage debut, according to Ms. Rowling's website.

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts I and II" will be published by Little, Brown in the UK and Scholastic in the US. Rowling's online Harry Potter universe Pottermore will publish an e-book edition as well.

“JK Rowling and her team have received a huge number of appeals from fans who can’t be in London to see the play and who would like to read the play in book format,” David Shelley, CEO of Little, Brown, said in a statement. “We are absolutely delighted to be able to make it available for them.”

"Cursed Child" offers a fascinating glimpse into the future for fans eager to see the boy wizard all grown up.

At the end of the last “Potter” book, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” an epilogue revealed that Harry married his schoolmate Ginny Weasley and they had three children, as The Christian Science Monitor's Molly Driscoll explained last year. The epilogue also centered on Harry’s son Albus, who was starting at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for the first time and who Harry had to reassure on his first day of school.

The new story picks up around the time of the epilogue and focuses on Harry's relationship with his son, Albus Severus.

Harry Potter is now “an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children," according to a synopsis published on Pottermore last year.

“While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.”

Rowling has promised treats for fans in the new sequel, like telling the "untold part" of Harry's story, including the story of the lives of his murdered parents.

Fans can expect a slightly different format this time, because the book is being adapted from a stage script. The script was written by Jack Thorne, based on a story by Rowling, and the production is directed by John Tiffany. The first printing of the book will be a "Special Rehearsal Edition," which reflects the early preview period of the script. A later "Definitive Collector's Edition" will include small changes made during previews and present a finalized version.

And there's more for Potter fans to look forward to. The film adaptation of the Harry Potter prequel, "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," is set to hit theaters in November.

Bloomsbury, the publisher of the seven Harry Potter books in the UK, also announced plans to mark the 20th anniversary of the series, in 2017, with four new editions of the book, each representing one of the four houses at Hogwarts school: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw.

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