J.K. Rowling bids farewell to Harry Potter at 'Cursed Child' gala

Mon Aug 1, 2016 9:19am EDT
 
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By Deepa Babington and Francis Maguire

LONDON (Reuters) - A new "Harry Potter" play that opened to swooning reviews and delighted gasps from the audience marks the end of the journey for the beloved boy wizard, his creator J.K. Rowling said at the play's premiere in London on Saturday.

Billed as the eighth installment in the series, the play "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" and a book based on its script have helped awaken a new wave of Pottermania five years since the previous episode was made into a movie.

Throngs of fans crowded bookstores for the midnight release of the book, hours after the play in London's West End theater district dazzled theatre-goers with swishing capes, billowy wraiths floating overhead and illusionist tricks of actors appearing to vanish into thin air.

Asked if the book and play heralded a new phase of stories, Rowling told Reuters: "No, no."

"He goes on a very big journey during these two plays and then, yeah, I think we're done. This is the next generation, you know," said Rowling, who later appeared on stage during a standing ovation at the end of the show. "So, I'm thrilled to see it realized so beautifully but, no, Harry is done now."

Based on a story by Rowling, playwright Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany, "Cursed Child" picks up the story 19 years later, featuring Potter as a 37-year-old overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic and father of three.

The play, a marathon affair running over five hours and split into two parts, is sold out through May 2017. Enthusiasts from around the world queued outside the ornate Palace Theatre for a glimpse of Rowling and the cast of the production.

Many in attendance at the show said it lived up to its billing in reviews as a thrilling theatrical spectacle, with deft stagecraft that drew audible gasps at times.   Continued...

 
A fan poses for a photograph at an event to mark the release of the book of the play of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child parts One and Two at a bookstore in London, Britain July 30, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall