Great news for Harry Potter lovers: JK Rowling has written a new Harry Potter story, to be published on October 31st.
It was revealed on Pottermore, the site that allows fans of the boy wizard to follow the series after the conclusion of the books and films, that a new story about former Hogwarts professor Dolores Umbridge will be published next week as a "special Halloween treat for Harry Potter fans."
The new tale will be "a rich, 1,700-word backstory about Umbridge's life filled with many new details as well as Rowling's revealing first-person thoughts and reflections about the character," the site revealed.
It is perhaps fitting that a story about Dolores Umbridge - one of the cruellest and most frightening characters in the books - will be linked to Halloween. As the Pottermore statement points out, "Umbridge is not only one of the most malicious Potter characters, she is the only person other than Lord Voldemort to leave a permanent physical scar on Harry."
Umbridge, who was played by Imelda Staunton in the Harry Potter films, works for the Ministry for Magic (the government in the wizarding world) but takes up a position as a Hogwarts Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher in the fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, to try and control the students of the famous witch and wizard school.
She is known for her supposedly harmless exterior, with a soft voice, pink suits and a fluffy cat disguising her harsh character, and the backstory that the new tale will reveal may explain how she became such a dislikable figure by the time we meet her in the books.
JK Rowling has recently been teasing fans on a return to the Harry Potter world with a cryptic anagram tweet. Earlier this month, she tweeted this:
Cry, foe! Run amok! Fa awry! My wand won’t tolerate this nonsense.— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) October 6, 2014
After a series of guessing, the anagram was finally unscrambled to say:
Newt Scamander, a character from the books, wrote one of Harry's school textbooks, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, which was previously published for the Muggle world's reading pleasure, so the anagram could have perhaps been a hint another 'spin off' story was in the works.
JK Rowling has commented in the past that she has years of prologue and epilogue to the books stored in her mind that she created as she was writing her famous series, and releasing extra stories like this allows the fans to keep the excitement of the books alive.
The author has also recently denied that she is writing a romance novel, instead focusing on her crime series, which she writes under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.
Words: Victoria Gray, Images: Rex Features