The Casual Vacancy: J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter follow-up becomes an HBO mini

When J.K. Rowling brought her beloved Harry Potter book series to a close in 2007, fans wondered where her unique literary mind might wander next.

Publishing the Potter spinoff The Tales of Beedle the Bard a year later, Rowling then turned her attention to a strictly grownup audience with 2012’s best-selling The Casual Vacancy. Now the prolific author has teamed up with the BBC and HBO to adapt the brooding tale of small town discord into a three-part, two-night event of the same name.

The Casual Vacancy is set in a fictional and picturesque English hamlet called Pagford, where, behind its pretty facade, issues of class, age and gender are simmering to a boil over the future of Sweetlove House — namely to keep it a community center designed to aid the town’s most downtrodden residents or turn it into a high-end spa.

That’s where the titular “casual vacancy” comes in.

When one of Sweetlove House’s most vocal supporters,  Pagford Parrish Councillor Barry Fairbrother (Penny Dreadful‘s Rory Kinnear) dies unexpectedly, necessitating a replacement, blog posts begin appearing that suggests dead men (or someone pretending to be one) really do tell tales. Much to the consternation of the people looking to fill the vacancy.

Michael Gambon as Howard Mollison on HBO’s The Casual Vacancy. ©2014 Steffan Hill/HBO

Michael Gambon, who played Professor Dumbledore in six of the Harry Potter film adaptations, stars as Council President — and spa proponent — Howard Mollison.

The Casual Vacancy premieres April 29 at 8pm on HBO.

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Lori just hasn't been the same since "thirtysomething" and "Northern Exposure" went off the air.