Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Novel)

Greetings beloved Hatters! Due to the release of Fantastic Beast and Where to Find them, I wanted put out this review that is long overdue.

Upon arriving at the midnight release for the next Harry Potter installment a couple of months ago, I was able to indulge in my nerdy love for all things Harry Potter with a bunch of folks who shared that same love. And may I say, it was a phenomenal experience! It was like going to a Harry Potter Con with tons of Cosplayers and Wizarding World puns galore.

In the books, after making it to Hogwarts, all the first years get sorted into their respective Houses. (Houses are like different teams/communities of students that attend Hogwarts.)

In attempt to recreate the first years’ experience, there was the Sorting event where book lovers were sorted into one of the four Hogwarts Houses (which consists of Gryffindor, Slyntherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff) when they arrived at the book store. Ravenclaw is what the Sorting Hat chose for me. Which is not bad, even if Pottermore knows that I’m a Gryffindor at heart. There were magical themed beverages and treats, Harry Potter trivia challenges, an adult coloring station, and of course let’s not forget about the simple fact that Barnes and Noble was open late, so we had the entire book store to search through to help kill time. Not to mention, that when the clock struck midnight, I had the book in my hands within 10 minutes and there were at least 50 people in front of me. Clearly, it was a joyous occasion for all.

Digressing from the event description, per usual, please brace yourself as I give you a bit of a glimpse of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child without too many spoilers.

A notorious quote is said in the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Philosopher’s Stone):

There won’t be a child in our world who doesn’t know his name.

For the most part, this is coincidentally true. Harry Potter is a well-known name and series across the globe that has sold millions of copies. However, if you’ve turned out to be one of the few muggles that knows absolutely nothing about the Wizarding World created by J.K. Rowling, fear not; I will give you a brief introduction. This tale starts off with a 11-year-old boy, named Harry Potter. On the day of his 11th birthday, he is propelled into the magical world that is the wizarding world, with the help of the Hogwarts Games Keeper, Rubeus Hagrid. He comes to find out – that even without his knowledge of the existence of magic (since it’s been kept hidden in plain sight) – he is known as “The Boy Who Lived” in this world. But he doesn’t have to wait very long to find out why that is. While traveling to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he meets two students: Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. And the three of them end up facing many adventures together throughout their time at Hogwarts to defeat the evil that torments the world.

Now, I’ve definitely over simplified the book series. However, we’re absolutely off to a good start.

With Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the Harry Potter universe is brought to us through a different format from what we Potterheads are used to. As a fandom we’ve gotten books, movies, theme parks, themed conventions, a YouTube puppet show (which I find highly amusing), three YouTube parody musicals by Team Starkid (which are fantastic), and tons of fanfiction stories. Now the most recent HP craze dealing with the infamous Trio is a play and screen play collaboration with J.K. Rowling herself!

In retrospect, the last Harry Potter book was released in 2007. So we’ve done our fair share of waiting – nine years of it to be exact. It’s become the eighth story in the series. Essentially, it’s another addition to the Harry Potter world, told during Harry, Ron, and Hermione’s adulthood; where as before, JKR only gave us snippets of the Trio “adulting”. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is told in two perspectives: through Harry Potter’s and his youngest son, Albus Severus Potter’s, point of view.

This latest installment of the story begins with Harry and his kids at Platform 93/4. Albus is starting his first year at Hogwarts while carrying the legacy of being a Potter on his shoulders. There’s also the little fact of Harry’s legendary lightning bolt scar is hurting again. Which can only mean that the possibility of the Dark Lord coming back is likely.

With a series like this, it’s my rule of thumb to read through the book twice.  The first was more of a speed through to quench the thirst of me wanting to know what happens. During my second attempt, I actually paid close attention. After my initial nostalgia wore off, I can admit that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child read like a well written fanfiction piece. It’s both a good and bad thing. I say it reads like a fanfic piece partly because it was only co-written with JKR, but more so it’s the result of how events played out in the script.

There’s definitely a part of me that wondered and questioned if the way the script reads is cohesive to the way it may have been displayed through theater, possibly making certain relationships and events more true to original story. The script seems to stray away a bit from the core values of several of the main character, to the point where the character appears to simply be an empty shell of what the character once was.

Fully understanding that in order for characters to be dynamic, there should be development. Change in this instance, doesn’t equate dynamic characters. There’s a difference between character growth verses aspects of a character’s actions and displayed emotions not lining up with character profile. However, towards the end of the book, it does start to feel like the writers start to grasp the concept of the character’s and the world, to do some justice to the series. Guess it’s better late than never. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was more intrigued with the character devolvement between Draco Malfoy and his son Scorpius Malfoy vs Harry Potter and Albus Potter. Draco and Scorpius’ relationship and progression seemed more organic in comparison to Harry’s progression with his own son. It was actually quite refreshing to see this take on the Malfoy family. But that’s all I’ll say without spoiling it.

Overall, there is definitely fanfiction that is considered more canon than this script; nevertheless, the script does confirm many theories that Harry Potter fans have had about certain characters and events from this Wizarding Universe. I probably could have lived without the eighth story and have been satisfied with the original ending of the series, but I am grateful for it. Because like any other fan, we do love to get our hands on all source material that is of this universe. In summation, I’d rate it 33/4 on a 5 point scale.

If you find yourself curious about the videos I mentioned earlier, I’ve added the web addresses below! Until next time, enjoy Hatters!

Potter Puppet Pals playlist – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TqTHmzMk0Cw

A Very Potter Musical Series playlist – https://www.youtube.com/user/StarKidPotter/playlists?view=50&shelf_id=2&sort=dd

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