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    Categories: Entertainment

Pottermania invades St. Albert

At the entrance of Chapters Bookstore in St. Albert there is a papier-mâché brick wall meant to simulate King’s Cross Station platform 9 – a junction where young wizards board the Hogwarts Express.

Once again, bookstores across the nation are hopping onto J.K. Rowling’s magical literary train to release Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the British author’s eighth book in the Harry Potter series.

The Cursed Child is a two-part West End play written by Jack Thorne based on an original new story by Rowling, Thorne and John Tiffany. It is the first play in the Potter series.

It is nine years since Rowling published the seventh and final Harry Potter novel.

The Cursed Child takes off where the last book finished.

Rowling sets the new adventure 19 years after the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry is now a working stiff at the Ministry of Magic while his wife Ginny is a Quidditch correspondent.

Their young son Albus Severus Potter, named after two of the world’s most talented and courageous wizards, struggles to live up to his name and the responsibilities that come with it.

The script book receives its release Sunday, July 31 at the stroke of midnight to correspond with the world premiere of the play at London’s Palace Theatre on Saturday, July 30.

Chapters Bookstore rolls out Scholastic’s new 336-page script book with a certain degree of Pottermania.

For three hours starting tonight at 10 p.m., Potterheads can enjoy a series of activities, games, puzzles and a horcrux hunt.

“The buzz is starting. There’s been a lot of interest since we put up the display. A lot of people weren’t aware a new book was coming out until they saw the display. But now that they’re aware, they’re eager to come in. There was a slow start, but during the week the numbers have built up,” said store manager Katie MacIssac.

Colleen Palmer, a Chapters employee and a Potter fan, has sewn a Sorting Hat for the occasion.

Children will have the opportunity to try on the Sorting Hat while drawing for their house even as parents stand in line to pick up pre-ordered copies.

So far slightly more than 130 books were pre-ordered at Chapters St. Albert. This is a drop from the 500 pre-orders made for the seventh installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows said MacIssac.

On a North American scale, Scholastic is printing 4.5 million copies of the play for Canada and the United States. This compares with the 2007 Deathly Hallows advance print run of 12 million.

However, Cursed Child has hovered between No. 1 and No. 2 spot on Amazon and predictors are it will be the top seller for 2016.

Rowling sold more than 450 million copies of the Harry Potter series and the subsequent films alone generated $7.7 billion dollars.

Potterheads are invited to jump on their brooms at Chapters from Saturday, July 30 at 10 p.m. to Sunday, July 31 at 1 a.m. Costumes are encouraged.

In a special promotion, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is priced at $23.99.

Anna Borowiecki: Anna Borowiecki joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2000. She reports on local people and events in the arts, entertainment and food industry. She also writes general news and features.