Fans spellbound as Harry Potter script released at stroke of midnight


Hundreds of Potter-heads across the country are burying their noses in the script of the new play Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, after it went on sale at midnight.

Around 700 witches, wizards and magical creatures flocked to Waterstones in Piccadilly, central London, for the midnight launch, which also marked the birthday of JK Rowling and her boy wizard hero Harry.

The store was one of around 150 Waterstones across the UK putting on parties to celebrate the launch.

Four floors at the Piccadilly branch were transformed into a Harry Potter haven, with interactive activities on each level and a 10ft winged nest welcoming fans at the entrance.

Younger guests took part in several competitive quidditch matches, while others browsed the shops in a makeshift magic village on the first floor.

Hagrid's motorbike was on display, loaned from Warner Bros, and there was also a cupboard under the stairs - Harry Potter's dismal bedroom at the Dursley's house - to pose in.

Eva Engel, 10, reacts after being sorted into the Gryffindor house at an event celebrating the release of the book
Eva Engel, 10, enjoys the atmosphere as Harry Potter And The Cursed Child was released (Kaitlin McKeown/AP)

The midnight release came just hours after the opening gala premiere at the Palace Theatre in London's West End.

Set 19 years after the events of the seventh and final book, The Cursed Child brings back Potter as a grown-up employed at the Ministry of Magic.

Harry and his wife Ginny Weasley wave their youngest son Albus Severus, named after former Hogwarts headmaster Professor Dumbledore and Potions guru Professor Snape, off to their old wizarding school.

Once there, Albus struggles with the weight of his family legacy and goes to extreme and dangerous lengths to right the wrongs of the past.