Harry Potter grows up and goes grey for new JK Rowling short story

WITH greying hair and a fresh scar on his face, though still with his trademark round spectacles, Harry Potter has made an unexpected return as a thirty-something father of two in a new short story posted online by JK Rowling.

For the first time since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released in 2007, Rowling has written about her most famous characters, charting their appearance as VIP guests at the 2014 Quidditch World Cup in Patagonia, South America.

Posted on Tuesday on Rowling’s website, Pottermore.com, the 1,500-word story is written in the style of a newspaper article under the name of Rita Skeeter, the scurrilous gossip columnist who works for the fictional Daily Prophet in the Harry Potter novels.

She describes the commotion in the crowd as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger — the great “celebrities” of the wizarding world after their battle against the evil Lord Voldemort — are spotted in the VIP section with their families at the fictional sporting event.

Harry is now an Auror, an elite detective in the Ministry of Magic, and has come with his two children, James and Albus, to watch the final of the Quidditch World Cup between Brazil and Bulgaria.

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“About to turn 34, there are a couple of threads of silver in the famous Auror’s black hair,” the story relates, adding that Potter also has a “nasty cut” on his cheek. A representative of Rowling told The Bookseller magazine that the author has “no plans” to write any further stories about the later life of Harry Potter, but the new story wonders where he got his new scar, asking: “Is the Chosen One embroiled in fresh mysteries that will one day explode upon us all, plunging us into a new age of terror and mayhem?”

Ron, who is now in business with his brother George, the surviving Weasley twin, still has his famous ginger hair, but is “thinning slightly”, while Hermione, now Ron’s wife, is described as the “femme fatale” of the group and is deputy head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, the story reveals.

The article speculates in catty fashion over whether there are “cracks beginning to show” in Harry’s marriage to Ginny Weasley and also reintroduces some of the supporting characters, including Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood.

It shares details of the jobs, businesses and adventures they have been involved in since leaving Hogwarts.

Rowling spoke out at the Leveson inquiry about the impact of press intrusion and her new story briefly deals with this topic through the eyes of Ms Skeeter, her tabloid reporter, who states: “(Anyone} closely connected with Harry Potter reaps the benefits and must pay the penalty of public interest.”

The characters in the new story are, in fact, younger than they were in the epilogue at the end of the final Harry Potter novel, which portrayed them in their late thirties, returning to King’s Cross station to send their own children off to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, 19 years after leaving the school themselves.

Rowling has been writing match reports and articles about the Quidditch World Cup for her website since March, but this is the first time any have featured the leading cast of characters.

The final article about the competition will be published this Friday, as a report on the final match of the tournament. Readers must sign up for a free account on the Pottermore.com site to be able to read the story.

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