Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus 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.
Song For This Book: Harry Potter Theme by John Williams
I don’t think that many people were expecting another Harry Potter story to come out. It’s been a long time since the seventh and final book was released, so it was a pleasant surprise when it was announced that this would be hitting the shelves. Another chance to dive into the Harry Potter world? Yes, please.
The tricky thing, though, is that this was very, very hyped. And not just online either. Stores were planning huge events around this, there were news articles, whole community events taking place. And because this was so incredibly hyped, there were a lot of expectations and speculation about it. I don’t think any other book this year comes close to this one.
I’ve been a big Harry Potter fan most of my life (I’ve been reading them since 1999), and I was so excited for this. And when all was said and done, I got out of this exactly what I wanted. Was it perfect? Not even close. Was it comparable to the previous books? No, because it’s a different writer and a different set of characters. But that’s okay. It was a fun story, a great adventure, and I got to go back to Hogwarts again. And that was what I wanted.
This is not a book, per se. It looks like one, but it is, in fact, a script. And a well written one, by my standards. The stage notes were good for atmosphere, the dialogue was very open for interpretation, and I could easily imagine how it would all come together. But scripts aren’t meant to be read, they’re meant to be seen, so that is taken into consideration for this review. You won’t see too much about the writing here – I’m going to focus on the plot and characters.
The Good Points of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child:
I got to go back to Hogwarts, and I had a blast doing it.
I absolutely adored some of the characters, and got a laugh out of many others. Scorpius was fantastic, as were most of the other new ones. I loved how Rose was a spitting image of her mother in attitude and speech, and how Albus found himself lost in the shuffle of a famous father and successful family. The returning characters were great too. They aged well, and I felt that I could see how they had gotten from Deathly Hallows to here.
The pacing is great. This play motors along like no one’s business, and the adventure seems to unfold in great time. If it were a novel, I could definitely see points where we could have used a little more, but for a play, it worked really well, and would stage really well.
This book fits with the first couple of Harry Potters, rather than the later few. I know we love our drama and Harry’s adventure with the horcrux’s, but that’s not what made us fall in love with those books. The fun and the adventure was what got us hooked, and this book comes across much the same way. It’s fun to read, and reminds you why you’ve been a fan for so long.
I liked the theme of friendship and family in this book. We get that throughout the series, but never has it been highlighted quite like this. It had it’s moments, but overall, I liked how it came together.
The Downsides of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child:
There are many cheesy and predictable plot points in this play. And while most aren’t that bad, you may find yourself groaning a little at how it all comes together. It’s not the most original thing in the world, and you’ll find a fair few commonly used ideas and themes throughout. It doesn’t quite compare with the previous books on the originality front.
I wish they had done more with Ron’s character. He had some great moments, but if you took him out, it would not affect the story at all. He was such an important player in the previous books, and I wish he wasn’t so overlooked in this one.
All in all, I really enjoyed this. It was exactly what I wanted, even with the negative aspects I pointed out. I hope the play makes it to Canada someday, because I’d love to see how these characters come to life on the stage.
I will be posting a more in-depth, full-of-spoilers discussion on this book in a week or so, so keep an eye out for that! Otherwise, let me know what you thought, if you agree, or whatever else popped into your head about this play!