WATCH: ‘Harry Potter’ is back as ‘Cursed Child’ hits bookstores around the world
WATCH: ‘Harry Potter’ is back as ‘Cursed Child’ hits bookstores around the world
The book launches in Asia on July 31, the birthday of both Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling

MANILA, Philippines – Harry Potter magic hit Asia on Sunday morning, July 31, as aspiring witches and wizards crowded into bookstores to get their hands on the first copies of a new play that imagines the hero as an adult.

Launch parties for “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” were held hours after the play’s premiere in London, setting the stage for a return of the series that has captivated readers and movie audiences worldwide.

In Manila, Philippines, fans flocked to National Bookstore in Glorietta 1 in Makati City, dressed in their Potter best to celebrate the return of the beloved ‘Boy Who Lived’ and his family and friends. 

Take a look:

Photo by Paolo Abad/Rappler

Photo by Paolo Abad/Rappler

Photo by Paolo Abad/Rappler

Photo by Paolo Abad/Rappler

Nearly 300 fans rushed through the doors of Kinokuniya bookstore on Singapore’s Orchard Road as early as 7:00 am to become one of the first people in the world to see the new script.

FOREVER FAN. A Harry Potter fan receives the first of the new Harry Potter script book to be launched in Thailand outside Asia Books in Bangkok on July 31, 2016. Photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

Student Samantha Chua, 24, who along with her boyfriend was first in line, said she had been waiting outside the fourth-floor bookstore since 5 am.

“We were here so early that the mall wasn’t even open yet so we had to come up through the cargo lifts,” she told AFP, adding that it was “all worth it.”

“I grew up reading the books and I have a special place for them on my shelves but this will be my crowning glory,” added Chua, who was wearing a Harry Potter-themed sweater.

Widely seen as the eighth Harry Potter installment, the play is set 19 years after the end of the last book and features a grown-up Potter working at the Ministry of Magic.

The entrance to the Palace Theatre is seen ahead of the premiere of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child stage play in London on July 30, 2016. Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP

Like many of his fans, Potter has now become an adult and has three children with his wife Ginny Weasley.

He still has his trademark round-rimmed glasses and the scar on his head, a permanent reminder of his nemesis Lord Voldemort, but must now help his youngest son Albus confront the family’s dark past.

The script’s global kickoff was timed to coincide with its launch at midnight in London, after the play’s world premiere at the Palace Theatre earlier in the evening. July 31 is Potter and author J. K. Rowling’s birthday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY. July 31 is the birthday of both J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter. Photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha/Rappler

Wands, wizards and wonder

Hundreds of fans snaked down London’s famous Picadilly street waiting to get their hands on a copy, while others queued anxiously outside Lello, a Gothic Revival-style bookstore in Portugal’s historic center.

Harry Potter fans, Fran Plagge (R) and Lottie (L) will be first and second to receive the new Harry Potter script book inside Waterstones bookshop on Piccadilly in central London on July 30, 2016, during the midnight party celebrating the launch. Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas / AFP

In Singapore, some fans held a prize-giving ceremony and a hunt for the Snitch – a type of ball used in the wizard sport of Quidditch in the Potter books.

Others were spotted sitting in nooks around the store eagerly poring over the book.

Valerie Wan, 10, was decked out in a Gryffindor robe and a wand along with a stuffed toy version of Hedwig, the snowy owl that was Potter’s pet in the books.

In Bangkok, around 40 fans, many wielding wands and other wizarding paraphernalia, gathered outside a large downtown mall overnight.

Sanpipat Huangsawat, 29, was first in line and had started queuing at 6:30 pm on Saturday evening. He finally got his hand on the book some 11 hours later.

“I feel very excited and it’s great to be the first owner of this book in Thailand,” he told AFP.

Sheryans, 16, said he was not sure he’d ever get the chance to see another Harry Potter book launch.

“I’ve been following the Harry Potter series since I was eight years old, and it’s unbelievable that after nine years they’re keeping it going,” he told AFP.

Dozens gathered at a downtown bookstore in Hong Kong to get the new title and try on Harry Potter costumes provided by the store.

Harry Potter fans pose for a photo with a copy of J.K. Rowling's 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' at a bookstore in Hong Kong, China, 31 July 2016. Photo Jerome Favre/EPA

Ten-year-old Adele Leung, who came with her mother, was anxious to crack into the latest Potter tome.

“I love Harry Potter and have read all of the last ones. I think I will read it in a few days,” she said. – with reports from AFP/

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