J.K. Rowling wasn’t lying when she said her new play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, isn’t a prequel. Because it’s actually a sequel, set 19 years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
The official synopsis of the play, which opens in London next year, was finally shared on Pottermore late on Thursday night:
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
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.
There are a few (not mutually exclusive) ways to interpret this news. One: Joy! Fans are getting another Harry Potter story. Two: Relief that the Deathly Hallows epilogue, which featured Harry and his friends all grown up with kids, won’t remain a nice but incomplete bit of fan service for mourning readers. Three: Uncertainty at the thought of seeing Harry Potter—The Boy Who Lived, who once slept in a cupboard under the stairs, the tormented and heroic teenager—as a weary, frumpy civil servant.
Imagine the possibilities. For once, a Harry Potter story with no Voldemort (or a chunk of Voldemort’s soul trapped in a person/book). And a new hero in Harry’s middle child, Albus Severus (admittedly a real albatross of a name, however well-intentioned). It’s one thing to be named after two noble but flawed men, and another for one of those men to have killed the other, and yet another for your father to have witnessed both of those men die. And then, there’s Harry himself: What’s worse, having the most evil wizard of all time trying to murder you and everyone you love, or not being able to make it home in time for dinner?