Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Jamie Parker will play Harry Potter as an overworked father of three in “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” HARRY POTTER THEATRICAL PRODUCTIONS/FACEBOOK

Potterheads are going back to Hogwarts this weekend! Nine years after the original book series finished, the eighth story is finally coming out. “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” hits shelves this weekend, and in case you haven’t been paying attention to the Potter-verse, this is what you need to know about it:

It’s A Play — It’s actually two plays. The 320-page book being released on July 31 contains both scripts for the shows, which are currently being performed at the Palace Theatre in London.

Nineteen Years Later — This isn’t a story about Harry (Jamie Parker) alone. It’s about his son Albus (Sam Clemmett) as well. It’s his first time going to Hogwarts and living in the shadow of his famous father can’t be easy. He’ll be joined by Rose Granger-Weasley (Cherrelle Skeete) and Scorpio Malfoy (Anthony Boyle).

The Plot — “Cursed Child” kicks off at the train station as Albus gets on the Hogwarts Express for the first time, just like the “Deathly Hallows” epilogue, but his dad still plays a big part in the story. Harry is father to three children and an overworked Ministry of Magic employee. “While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted,” the official synopsis reads. They will both learn that “sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.”

New Characters — While plenty of the adults involved are familiar, expect some new names. With 42 actors in the cast, it’s safe to say that new characters will be there.

The Writers — J.K. Rowling didn’t work alone this time. She helped director John Tiffany and playwright Jack Thorne develop the story, but it was Thorne who did the bulk of the writing.

The Reviews — The show itself is getting rave reviews from critics. See their kind words HERE.

Only In London — For the moment, audiences will have to either travel to the West End or read the scripts. There are plenty of rumors that the show is negotiating a deal to start a second production on Broadway, and Warner Bros. started movie speculation when they trademarked “Cursed Child” merchandise. For now though, nothing outside of London is confirmed.

What You’ll Miss In The Script — Reading a play will give fans plot details, but they won’t see everything that audiences at the Palace Theatre enjoy. The breakout performance from Anthony Boyle will be missed along with Imogen Heap’s score. Those reading should know that after some difficulty wrangling real owls, live animals are no longer used in the production. Also, Hogwarts has updated their logos, as seen below:

How To Get It — “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” will be released on July 31, but it’s already available for pre-order. It will be released in hardcover or e-book and will be at most book retailers. Many stores are hosting midnight release parties with games and costume contests to get fans excited. Check with your local bookstore for details.