The boy who lived is back.
The next installment of author J.K. Rowling’s story about orphaned boy wizard Harry Potter will hit the shelves of bookstores and libraries this weekend. The series has been a boon for publishers, bookstores and the film industry since the first novel was published in 1997 and was succeeded by six more novels, two spin-offs and eight movies.
But the latest milestone for Harry Potter takes place on stage with “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” a two-part play scheduled to be open at the Palace Theatre in London on Saturday. The story takes place 19 years later after the main series and focuses on an adult Harry and his youngest son, Albus.
A book release of the play’s script, co-written by Rowling, screenwriter Jack Thorne and the play’s director, John Tiffany, will be released in the United States at midnight Saturday.
“This is definitely a bonus,” said Tami Furlong, the owner of Fundamentals bookstore, 25 W. Winter St., in Delaware.
Before the release of the screenplay, Fundamentals will celebrate with activities, trivia contests and snacks prior at 10:30 p.m. Furlong expects about 75 to 100 people to attend.
Furlong started hosting parties at her bookstore to celebrate the midnight release of Harry Potter books starting with the fourth one.
“That’s when it really took off,” she said.
About 150 people attended Fundamentals’ celebration of the seventh book, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” Furlong said.
Furlong will receive assistance from regular customers, Bobby Wolf, 13, and his sister Meg Wolf, 11, who have dabbled with the series.
“I started (reading) the last one again,” Bobby said.
Although the the eighth installment of the series is a script, Furlong said she has nearly pre-sold all of the 80 copies she ordered.
“This (time) is a little different,” she said.
The boy wizard has not gone unnoticed by other businesses and organizations in Delaware County.
Instead of a midnight release, Half-Price Books in Lewis Center will have an all-day celebration featuring games, costume contests and snacks. The event is birthday-themed since the titular character was born on July 31. The store will sell its 60 copies on a first-come, first-served basis, said Liz Comer, store manager.
“I feel like we have a huge young adult base in the area,” she said.
The Delaware County District Library will have 18 copies with 43 requests as of Thursday morning, said Nicole Fowles, the library’s communication manager.
“I’m in line for it as well,” she said.
The library will have a Harry Potter day at the Powell branch from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 14, featuring arts, crafts, costume contests and trivia for different age groups, she said.
Since the seventh book’s release, the franchise has continued strong with the a theme park attraction in 2010, followed by the launch of an official Harry Potter-centric website and a new trilogy of films that take place way before the first book starting with the November release of “Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them.”
Furlong said celebrating the release of a Harry Potter book is the best because they all end promptly.
“[At midnight] I don’t have to tell anyone to go home because they all go home to read the book,” she said.
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.