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Harry Potter is back — mysterious, married, and going gray.
J.K. Rowling has given fans a glimpse of the grown-up boy wizard in a new story posted Tuesday on her Pottermore website. (For the enthusiastic fan reaction, check out our sampling of Tweets, below.)
“I woke up and I said: no way!” Adrienne Alwag, the head organizer of the popular fan group Los Angeles Dumbledore's Army, told KPCC. The group arranges events for Potter fans over the age of 21. “It’s just really great to have more content.”
It's the first update since "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" was published in 2007, but Rowling spokesman Mark Hutchinson said there are "no plans" for a new Potter novel, the Associated Press reported.
The 1,500-word story describes Harry, about to turn 34, attending the final of the Quidditch World Cup with his family and old friends Ron and Hermione.
Alwag, who first picked up the books in her mid-20s on a work trip to Singapore, told KPCC the fan base for the popular series is still going strong, although the last movie was in 2011.
“Because I have this group, this magic lives on in us,” she told KPCC. “It’s not something I’m ever going to let go of.”
Brent Clark, a Potter fan from Riverside, compared the excitement of the day to Beatlemania of the 1960s.
“For us mid-20s to early 30-year-olds, we grew up with these characters as a part of our lives,” he told KPCC. “The excitement is indescribable.”
Clark said he had to read the story through three times before it sunk in that the update was real.
In Rowling’s new short story, Harry now has "threads of silver" in his hair and a mysterious cut on his cheekbone, related to his "top secret" work as an evil-battling Auror, the AP reported.
The story is written in the style of a gossip column for the Daily Prophet by reporter Rita Skeeter, a minor character in the novels.
The style allows Rowling to poke fun at the tabloid press, a real-life bugbear that she has accused of invading her privacy and that of her family, the AP reported.
Skeeter observes that Harry and friends are "no longer the fresh-faced teenagers they were in their heyday" and speculates about the state of Harry's marriage to Ginny Weasley.
She says Ron Weasley's red hair "appears to be thinning slightly," and notes witheringly that Harry still wears "the distinctive round glasses that some might say are better suited to a style-deficient 12-year-old."
The story discloses that Ron now runs the family joke shop, while Hermione is a — literally — high-flying civil servant, Deputy Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
There are also updates on other characters, including Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood, as well as glimpses of a new generation of teenage wizards.
Rowling has long said that "Deathly Hallows," would be the last Potter novel, but has produced other Potter-related material, including spinoff story collection, "The Tales of Beedle the Bard."
Rowling has also published a novel for adults, "The Casual Vacancy," and two detective thrillers under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.
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This story has been updated.