LONDON - Fictional boy wizard Harry Potter made his first appearance in seven years on Monday, featuring as a nearly 34-year-old with grey hairs in a new short story by author J.K. Rowling.
In an article on her "Pottermore" website that is supposedly written by a gossip columnist, Harry and his friends reunite for a tournament of the broomstick-riding game quidditch.
Harry's redheaded friend Ron Weasley is said to be thinning on top while Ron's wife Hermione and Harry's wife Ginny all feature in the 1,500-word story.
Millionaire author Rowling meanwhile gives a teaser when she writes that Harry sports a new scar on his cheek to go with the lightning-shaped one on his forehead.
"About to turn 34, there are a couple of threads of silver in the famous Auror's black hair, but he continues to wear the distinctive round glasses that some might say are better suited to a style-deficient twelve-year-old," the story says.
There is a further hint of things to come when the story asks whether the "chosen one" is "embroiled in fresh mysteries that will one day explode upon us all, plunging us into a new age of terror and mayhem." The piece is written as a gossip column by Rita Skeeter of the Daily Prophet, a character from the Potter books who draws on the author's own vocal criticisms of tabloid journalism.
The article is part of a series about the "2014 Quidditch Cup" - a nod to the football World Cup in Brazil - that are set to appear on Pottermore, a website focusing on the boy wizard that launched in 2011.
The final article will be published on Friday, and will see Ginny Potter, now a journalist, cover the cup final, between Brazil and Bulgaria.
Rowling, who has sold more than 450 million copies of the Harry Potter books and seen them made into a string of hit films, has been keeping busy since the seventh and final novel in the series was published in 2007.
She published her first adult novel, "The Casual Vacancy", to mixed reviews in 2012 and has also released two big-selling crime novels under the nom de plume Robert Galbraith.
She announced in September that she will make her screenwriting debut by penning a series of spin-off films set in the Potter world, starting with "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them".