Almost seven years on from her last Harry Potter novel, author J.K. Rowling has released a brand new short story featuring Harry Potter and his contemporaries well into their thirties. The 1,500-word piece comes in the form of an article from the Daily Prophet written by the newspaper’s resident gossipmonger Rita Skeeter, reporting from the Quidditch World Cup in the Patagonian Desert where Dumbledore’s Army have reunited.
Found on Pottermore in Diagon Alley’s Daily Prophet headquarters, the story offers an intriguing glimpse into the lives of Rowling’s beloved characters ten years on. Here’s everything you need to know…
1. Harry Potter is about to turn 34 with a “couple of threads of silver in the famous Auror’s black hair”. But apart from his greying barnet, it appears not much has changed with the “distinctive round glasses” still being worn – the sole difference being a “nasty cut over his right cheekbone” to keep his famous lightning scar company. According to Skeeter, “requests for information as to its provenance merely produced the usual response from the Ministry of Magic: ‘We do not comment on the top secret work of the Auror department.'”
2.Harry is still married to Ginny (or “Ginevra” as she’s called here) who is a Daily Prophet reporter and covering the Quidditch World Cup – a gig that doesn’t seem to have gone down too well with her colleague, Rita. (“When your last name is Potter, doors open, international sporting bodies bow and scrape, and Daily Prophet editors hand you plum assignments.”)
3. Harry & co are VIPs, causing plenty of buzz among wizarding factions as they attend the sport’s biggest event – famously portrayed by Rowling in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Readers are told Dumbledore’s Army are camped out in the “VIP section of the campsite” where they are protected by heavy charms and patrolled by Security Warlocks as large crowds gather outside.
4. Ron and Hermione are still at the Potters’ side, or in this case the tent next door. Harry’s gone grey but it sounds like Ron’s famous red hair has begun thinning on top… He’s a co-manager of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes with his brother George after two years employment at the Ministry of Magic – and, according to Rita, has publicly admitted the destruction of He Who Could Not Be Named’s Horcruxes “took its toll” on him.
5. Hermione is continuing to rule the world, enjoying a “meteoric rise to Deputy Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement” and now tipped to go even higher within the Ministry.
6. Victor Krum makes an appearance. Still described as “Bulgarian seeker”, Harry’s one-time rival is introduced to his young sons James and Albus as they visit the players’ compound where the pair embrace and engage in a half-hour chit-chat – the subject of which Rita speculates upon heavily.
7.Neville Longbottom and his wife Hannah are also in attendance. Until recently the pair were living above the Leaky Cauldron but rumours are abounding that Hannah – a retrained healer – is applying for the job of Matron at Hogwarts, to join her Herbology teacher husband. According to Rita, “Idle gossip suggests that she and her husband both enjoy a little more Ogden’s Old Firewhiskey than most of us would expect from custodians of our children.” Ooh-er, Neville.
8.Luna Lovegood is now married to Rolf Scamander, “swarthy grandson of celebrated Magizoologist Newt” with twin sons back “at home with grandpa”.
9. The remaining Weasley family are also taking in some Quidditch – minus Arthur and Molly – with George (Ron’s co-manager), Charlie (a dragon wrangler and still unmarried) and Percy (Head of the Department of Magical Transportation) joined by Bill, Fleur and their young’uns.
10.Teddy Lupin is something of a wildchild. Since the death of his parents in the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry has been taking care of his godson but 16-year-old Teddy – a “lanky half-werewolf with bright blue hair” – has been “behaving in a way unfitting of wizarding royalty since arriving on the VIP campsite. He’s joined by Bill and Fleur’s beautiful, blonde daughter Victoire and romance has blossomed…
11. Could there be an autobiography to come…? Rita finishes with the tantalising suggestions, “Harry Potter and his cohorts never claimed to be perfect! And for those who want to know exactly how imperfect they are, my new biography: Dumbledore’s Army: The Dark Side of the Demob will be available from Flourish and Blotts on July 31st.” Watch this space…