First and foremost, HAPPY NEW YEAR! May your last night of 2016 end better than the rest of the year. I’ve managed to read two books since my previous post, the latter of the two taking quite some time to finish. Luckily, the former was the latest (possibly the last?) installment of the Harry Potter Series. If you haven’t read it, be prepared because this will, without a doubt, contain spoilers! First and foremost, despite what many have been misinformed, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is in fact by J.K. Rowling. She just didn’t do it alone. Creating the play alongside Rowling were John Tiffany and Jack Throne. And, yes, you did read that right. Cursed Child is indeed a play, not a novel.
For some bizarre reason, Potter fans were furious to learn that Curse Child was not a novel. I’m not entirely positive how or why, since it has been advertised as (and even performed as) a play. The play itself was written (or maybe just produced?) by Thorne, but the story was a collaboration between Tiffany, Throne, and Rowling. The work is as much hers as is the rest of the Potter series is. Making Cursed Child exactly that: a part of the series. (It’s canon, people!) Fingers crossed it isn’t the last.
Though there’s been complaint of the eighth story is a play, I believe it’s an ideal format following what we all thought to be the end of a great adventure. My reasoning for this is simple: it’s a perfect combination of the two medias that brought Harry Potter so much popularity, literature and performance.
Admitting a deep dark secret, I have not fully read the entire Harry Potter series. I’m working on it, though, so the torches and pitchforks can be stashed away in the meantime. I have, lik so many others, watched all eight of the film adaptions. While the movies have had a lot of information cut from the plot to fit screen time, they kept the gist of Harry Potter. The play itself follows the story and caters to fans of both artistic genres.
There will be, of course, readers who do not and will never like reading in script format. Even now, I remember all my high school classmates who couldn’t stand reading Romeo & Juliet, mainly because they found it too difficult to read. (Granted, English is far from what it was then.) Something to keep in mind with scripts is that they’re mostly dialogue, leaving plenty of room for the imagination. Now, after the lengthy explanation, let’s get to the actual review!
The story starts where Deathly Hollows ends, with the Potter and Granger-Weasley family sending their kids off to Hogwarts. Overall, it centers on Harry, his youngest son, Albus Severus, and Albus’ best friend, Scorpius Malfoy (yes, that Malfoy.) In a shocking twist, Albus is sorted into Slytherin, where he is immediately ostracized by all around and met with difficulty with by his father. Albus’ only friend is the equally tormented, Scorpius Malfoy. Rumors have flown wild that big, bad Voldemort had a child before he died, everyone assuming it to be none other than Scorpius.
As the story goes on, Albus and Scorpius are tasked with helping save Cedric Diggory from dying that fateful night and hopefully changing their lives for the better. With the aid of Cedric’s cousin Delphi, they acquire a time turner and go back multiple times to correct the mistakes they’ve made to their present. A few to include is Albus being sorted into Gryffindor and being banned from being with Scorpius or Harry dying resulting in Albus to never be born, leading Scorpius (The Scorpion King) to find help from a beloved character in order to make things right again.
Starting of with the pros this time, I immediately want to shout for joy at Scorpius’ crush of Rose Granger-Weasley! I most definitely feel it’s a redemption for the missed opportunity that could have been Draco and Hermione. That’s a post for another time, but Scorpius’ attempts brought a smile to my face as he tried (and failed) to flatter Rose. Another tidbit I enjoyed was the love between Albus and Scorpius. Apparently, some readers saw it as a romantic love, which I also dig, but I liked the idea that two boys were allowed to have a friendship that meant something to both of them. They were both outcast for both different and similar reasons, but they’d stuck by each other regardless of the fact. I mean, Scorpius could have turned tail twice to avoid the crazy they got into. The first time when Albus decided to walk on top of a magical, moving train and again when he was in an alternate reality and the Scorpion King of the school.
Draco Malfoy’s humanizing redemption was a nice touch, as well. While I personally don’t know or care for Astoria’s character (is it bad that I’m cool with her not being alive during this?), it was heartbreaking for Draco and Scorpius to lose someone they loved so much. It’s safe to say that Draco had amazing character development as a father and man(wizard?) in this. He makes sure he is not his father’s son and does what he can to make Scorpius happy. Whether that includes spoiling him, I don’t know, but Scorpius seems like a pretty damn humble kid.
Jumping into the cons, I can’t say they are many because this is, obviously, Harry Potter. Everything about this is well thought out. But, there were some things that irked me while I was reading. During one particular scene, Harry and Albus have a conversation that quickly escalates into an argument. In the scene, Albus says he wishes Harry wasn’t his dad, implying that Harry’s fame has made Albus’ life a difficult existence. Harry, in return, replies that he sometimes wishes Albus wasn’t his son. Harry’s comment floored me. I understand this is character development, but it was an extremely dark admission to his child. Like, Harry and Draco are on opposite spectrums of this parenting thing. It may just be preference, but I truly do believe it’s a horrible thing to say to any child (fiction or real).
Their entire relationship is the basis of the story and the motivator for Albus to do what he does throughout the play. Interestingly enough, I found myself seeing Albus as more of a Gryffindor in Slytherin. With the actions and decisions he makes, Albus can’t honestly deny being the son of two rebels. Though, do know that I am in no way opposed to his house sorting.
The end was kind of a bummer and left me wanting more, which hopefully means there will be in some way. Something about it didn’t seem absolute, though I can’t say there were any loose ends left behind. Harry and Albus sort of work things out and Scorpius gained some confidence after their mission was over. Only time will tell if, when, and where their story leads next.
If you’ve read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child or was enough to see the play, please let me know! I’d love to know your thoughts and opinions on either or both.