Books: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne 

I need to admit first and foremost that I am a rabid Harry Potter fan. I have read the entire series more times than I’ll ever admit to and find the universe of Harry Potter one of the most brilliant and imaginative worlds ever invented by a writer. So it was with trepidation that I read the script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the new stage play that opened to rave reviews in London last month. It is difficult to pick up a script and read it without comparing it to the novels and their rich characters and locations. If I had been able to see the play, I certainly would have preferred that to reading the script but this was my only option because I wasn’t going to ignore this latest addition to the Potter world (Ok…I admit to getting up at 3 in the morning to try and get tickets to the play when they were released but I was thwarted in my quest).

Overall, I think the book is for devoted Potter fans. I wouldn’t bother with it if you aren’t. Go see the play, which is supposed to be wonderful – even if it takes longer to get tickets than it takes for Hamilton. I think that within the Potter fandom, there will be mixed reactions. On one hand, there are those who would rather the story of Harry Potter end with the epilogue to Deathly Hallows and this script will reinforce their opinion.  In the other camp, there are those who want any additional stories about this world that can be delivered to them regardless of the vehicle. For the former, it will be difficult to understand how Harry becomes the father that is portrayed in this play. It just doesn’t ring true with whom the boy/man is that we left after the Battle of Hogwarts or even in the Epilogue. These fans will want more character development then is found in a script and wonder why there isn’t more mention of Harry’s other children among other things.  It will seem like a superficial view into Potter’s universe which is the difference between a play not written by Ms. Rowling and one of her novels.

For the Potter fans that just want to revisit that world under any circumstances, it is wonderful to have Snape, Hagrid and other characters come alive again along with Harry, Hermione and Ron. There are humorous moments like the time travel episode that showed Ron married to Padma Patil.   Draco having a kind and generous son makes for a very satisfactory addition to the Malfoy family tree. The links to the Goblet of Fire are intriguing as is the visit back to Godric’s Hollow. There are many other well written connections to the books which provide the fans with their due.

I tend to fall in both camps. I am glad the play was written in order to continue Harry’s story but it left me wanting so much more – I missed the amazing world and characters that Ms. Rowling was able to describe magnificently on ever page of her 7 novels. For me, Cursed Child was a quick diversion from my normal fare but one that left me hanging. I will hope that someday, Ms. Rowlings continues the story with a new generation but I’m happy to leave Harry where he was at the end of Deathly Hallows.

My children were the perfect age when the Potter books came out and we’d all be at Barnes and Noble at Midnight as each book rolled out unless they were at camp and I ordered through Amazon to ensure delivery the day of publication. We’d then spend all night reading them. This summer, my almost 30-year-old daughter was on staff at her childhood camp and I sent a copy of Cursed Child to her. It was like old times and I wasn’t the only parent of a millennial to do that! Pottermore fans, enjoy and everyone else – wait for the play to eventually get to you – I’m sure it will!

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