Sarah Jessica Parker tells PEOPLE about reading with her kids and her love of Harry Potter

By Sam Gillette
September 06, 2019 02:24 PM

With wand in hand, Sarah Jessica Parker and a swarm of Harry Potter fans took over Times Square on Thursday night to celebrate the global expansion of Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. And it was all for her magic-loving kids.

“I have three children and all of them have very specific relationships with Harry Potter,” Parker, 54, told PEOPLE of her children James, 17, and 10-year-old twins Marion and Tabitha. “That’s why I’m here tonight. I love that my kids are readers and that they’re spending time reading these books. And now there’s this whole new chapter to explore.”

Waving her wand and posing for photos with the cast, the Sex and the City star helped draw a crowd to watch the premiere of a captivating and eery campaign on multiple screens throughout the square. (“Sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places,” author J.K. Rowling tweeted earlier that evening.)

Ilya S. Savenok/Getty

Not only is Harry Potter and The Cursed Child—which picks up the story of the original characters 19 years later—the most awarded play in theatre history, the show has sold more than two million tickets and is scheduled to appear in San Francisco, Hamburg, and Toronto.

It’s the continuation of the story that’s captivated both Parker and her kids, who have loved the characters for years.

“My son is 17 and he was just the right age to be pulled in and seduced,” Parker explained of James’ love for the Harry Potter books, the first of which published in 1997. “And my twin daughters have reached for those books. My daughter, [Marion], just finished the last one, and it was her dream to finish all of them before she turned 11.”

“She was deeply involved in the characters and she lived it,” Parker continued. “She thought a great deal of people’s choices and questioned the things that were moving her.”

When a fellow student left a clue about the series’ ending in her cubby, Marion was “devastated,” her mom explained.

The Harry Potter series aren’t the only books Parker’s kids read. The actress explains that they’re surrounded by stacks of books at home.

“We do read together. Not as much as we used to. We pick a couple books or three books a year to try to read together,” she said. “They’re really on their own reading now and they love it. They’re also very, very different readers.”

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Parker may have appeared in Times Square for her children, but she’s also a big fan of Rowling’s work. Before the campaign premiere, she watched the first part of the play (Harry Potter and The Cursed Child is broken into two parts).

“You think you’re going to have to remind yourself [about the story], but you don’t. You’re right back where you need to be because it’s J.K. Rowling, so she knows exactly how to put you right in the seat of it,” said Parker, who hopes the play will be a “gateway” for people who haven’t experienced theatre before.

She added: “You’re still grappling with these same big themes: Who am I? What do I want? Resentment, bitterness, victory. All of this stuff that plays in our lives every day. And the magic is crazy.”