Pottermore
Pottermore

Here's Your First Look at Harry, Ginny, and Albus from Cursed Child

Pottermore
Pottermore

Next week, the curtain rises on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child's first preview in the West End—and to celebrate, Pottermore has released new portraits of the actors playing Harry, Ginny, and Albus Severus in character.

Cursed Child is a two-part sequel to J.K. Rowling’s book series that, according to its official plot synopsis, follows Harry as “an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children” who is grappling “with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs.” Meanwhile, Albus Severus, the Potters’ youngest son, “must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.”

Jamie Parker (The History Boys) plays Harry; Poppy Miller (The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) plays Ginny; and Sam Clemmett (Foyle’s War) plays Albus Severus. In the photos posted on Pottermore, the actors wear costumes by Katrina Lindsay and makeup by Carole Hancock.

Parker—who, in addition to those glasses and that lightning-shaped scar, wears a suit to play Ministry employee Harry—told Pottermore that “with all the character’s costumes we want them to be instantly familiar when people see them, so that people feel like the story’s safe in our hands, and that we’re taking that responsibility seriously … It’s a unique gig in the sense that you have seven volumes of backstory that you get to bring on with you. And we were all very keen to make sure that the first time you see Harry it just feels right.”

Clemmett, meanwhile, is donning those iconic Hogwarts robes—and he had a bit of a backstory for them. “I had the idea he was wearing James’s—his older brother’s—hand-me-downs,” he said. “So I wanted him to feel quite uncomfortable, and be able to play with his clothes.”

Head over to Pottermore to see more photos of the Cursed Child cast in costume and to learn more about their looks (the site will continue to post photos of the other castmembers—there are 42 total—this week). Cursed Child officially opens in the West End on July 30; if you can’t make it to London to see the show, you can pre-order a hardcover copy of the script here.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0
arrow
language
New 'Eye Language' Lets Paralyzed People Communicate More Easily
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0

The invention of sign language proved you don't need to vocalize to use complex language face to face. Now, a group of designers has shown that you don't even need control of your hands: Their new type of language for paralyzed people relies entirely on the eyes.

As AdAge reports, "Blink to Speak" was created by the design agency TBWA/India for the NeuroGen Brain & Spine Institute and the Asha Ek Hope Foundation. The language takes advantage of one of the few motor functions many paralyzed people have at their disposal: eye movement. Designers had a limited number of moves to work with—looking up, down, left, or right; closing one or both eyes—but they figured out how to use these building blocks to create a sophisticated way to get information across. The final product consists of eight alphabets and messages like "get doctor" and "entertainment" meant to facilitate communication between patients and caregivers.

Inside of a language book.
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

This isn't the only tool that allows paralyzed people to "speak" through facial movements, but unlike most other options currently available, Blink to Speak doesn't require any expensive technology. The project's potential impact on the lives of people with paralysis earned it the Health Grand Prix for Good at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity earlier in June.

The groups behind Blink to Speak have produced thousands of print copies of the language guide and have made it available online as an ebook. To learn the language yourself or share it with someone you know, you can download it for free here.

[h/t AdAge]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
Animals
How Bats Protect Rare Books at This Portuguese Library
iStock
iStock

Visit the Joanina Library at the University of Coimbra in Portugal at night and you might think the building has a bat problem. It's true that common pipistrelle bats live there, occupying the space behind the bookshelves by day and swooping beneath the arched ceilings and in and out of windows once the sun goes down, but they're not a problem. As Smithsonian reports, the bats play a vital role in preserving the institution's manuscripts, so librarians are in no hurry to get rid of them.

The bats that live in the library don't damage the books and, because they're nocturnal, they usually don't bother the human guests. The much bigger danger to the collection is the insect population. Many bug species are known to gnaw on paper, which could be disastrous for the library's rare items that date from before the 19th century. The bats act as a natural form of pest control: At night, they feast on the insects that would otherwise feast on library books.

The Joanina Library is famous for being one of the most architecturally stunning libraries on earth. It was constructed before 1725, but when exactly the bats arrived is unknown. Librarians can say for sure they've been flapping around the halls since at least the 1800s.

Though bats have no reason to go after the materials, there is one threat they pose to the interior: falling feces. Librarians protect against this by covering their 18th-century tables with fabric made from animal skin at night and cleaning the floors of guano every morning.

[h/t Smithsonian]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios