Title: Harry Potter and The Cursed Child
Writers: John Tiffany and Jack Thorne (based on J.K Rowling’s original story)
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (Special Rehearsal Edition Script, 2016)
Bought at: Amazon (USD 17, bargain, thanks MacKenzie!)
This is perhaps one of the most anticipated books of the year, especially for all Potterheads out there. It’s claimed as the 8th book of Harry Potter and started just as the 7th book finished.
For you who always wonder what happens after Harry took his children to Hogwarts Express that day, this book is like the answer to your prayers.
I was very excited myself. But after reading it – I was torn.
First of all, I am a true Potterhead and I eat everything Rowling could offer to satisfy my hunger of this world: from short stories in Pottermore to the latest tweets and discussions about Harry Potter, just count me in. I love to speculate, dream and think about Harry and his friends and the world that awaits them post Voldemort’s defeat.
This book though- I’m not too sure about it. Even though I jumped right ahead and asked my friend in the US to order it for me (using her Amazon Prime too, so it comes with discount)- I still felt unsure whether I would like it or not, maybe because it reminds me a lot of all Hollywood flicks that have too many sequels.
The story itself is pretty decent- not mind-blowing, but still OK. Just like its title showed, this is a book about Harry’s second child, the one with very assuming name: Albus Severus Potter. Albus, unlike Harry’s first child James (of course), is an introvert, gloomy child who always feels he doesn’t live up to Harry’s (and other people’s) expectations. Of course this could be just a middle child problem (shout out to all middle kids out there!), but considering he’s the son of Harry Potter, Albus loves to spice things up a bit and creates more problems than it was necessary.
First of all: Albus doesn’t belong in Gryffindor. Then, his best friend is Draco Malfoy’s son, Scorpius. Albus can’t play Quidditch and in general, he hates Hogwarts. So it’s not a very original idea when he asked Scorpius to runaway from Hogwarts Express on their third year, go to steal an illegal Time Turner that Ministry of Magic just discovered, using it to go back to the past to save Cedric Diggory based on Cedric’s father’s plea, and basically make the magic world great again. They were accompanied by Cedric’s cousin, a mysterious older girl named Delphi.
But -as Hermione, the current Minister of Magic- could tell you, using a Time Turner is very dangerous, tricky, and life consuming. Albus and Scorpius are only two kids playing with something that they don’t understand, and they traveled back and forth in time, just to find out every time they are back to present day, something terrible has happened and they have changed the magic world into crazy alternate universe.
The craziest thing happened when Albus and Scorpius realized that they actually become the tools for Dark Magic and Voldemort to be back in power. Now it depends on their wits how to ask for help from their parents to save them from the past and the darkest thing that loomed over them.
To tell you the truth, my opinion is probably a bit biased because I am not a fan of script plays. I love watching plays, but to read it as a script- I can’t enjoy it that much. So the format of this story is a bit annoying for me and maybe even influence me to take one star out from it.
But- aside from the play format- considering this is a Harry Potter story (even though it’s not written by Rowling herself)- the plot and twists are very bland and predictable. No surprises at all, I can guess the villain since the beginning (just as you all have, I’m sure). And the pace, because this is a play- is not familiar to me- I missed all the crafted details that Rowling loved to share in the seven books she has written.
The characters are also a bit disappointing. Considering 19 years have passed since the end of Deathly Hallows, of course so many things have happened in between- change of characters, different occupations, new families and friends- but since we haven’t been given the opportunities to learn them all, and without any background context, we were forced to just accept some weirdness and unexplainable things here: how Malfoy changed so much, her wife’s story, Ron’s quirkiness because apparently he took over the Weasley’s joke shop? – and I just can’t related with them, the friends that I’ve known since years and years ago.
I think I can enjoy this story more if I treated it a bit differently, for example, not thinking about it as the 8th book, but a different and separate story altogether. But it’s hard, because most of the characters are the same and even the timeline itself is a continuation from the end of the previous book. This feels like a fan fiction for me, the one with super serious treatment and fortunate enough to go international 🙂
Perhaps, if I am very lucky to watch the show one day, I would have a different opinion. But until then, I think I’ll have to forget about this cursed child for a while 😀
Check out this link to learn about the play casts!