Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 and 2

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 and 2
Original Story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne; Script by Jack Thorne
Scholastic, 2016. 320 pgs. Fiction

Nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry Potter works as the Head of Magical Law Enforcement and has difficulty connecting with his youngest son. Albus, a Hogwarts student who struggles in class, on the Quidditch pitch, and among his peers, resents the pressure his father’s fame places upon him. After being sorted into Slytherin, he befriends Scorpius Malfoy, who similarly fights against his famous name and the assumptions that are made about him because of it. When Albus overhears an emotionally charged conversation between his father and Amos Diggory, the young boy decides it’s time that he and Scorpius rewrite history.

As a proud member of the Harry Potter generation, I of course went to a midnight release party to claim my copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. After reading it, I have mixed feelings. It was a delight to return to the wizarding world, and the play tells a dark, compelling story (one better suited to teens and adults than children) that I loved. I missed J.K. Rowling's distinctive voice, however. Although she conceptualized the story, the actual script for the play was written by Jack Thorne. He captures Rowling’s characters perfectly, and I often got glimpses of a similar kind of humor through the dialogue. Because it was a script rather than a novel, however, the descriptions were limited to stage directions, and this made me realize that Rowling as a narrator is one of my favorite aspects of her books. Overall, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child wasn’t quite as magical for me as the original seven books, but I think I might feel completely differently had I seen rather than read the play. Anyone want to offer me tickets and a flight to London?



ACS said...

I too had mixed feelings after reading the script. I most definitely prefer Rowling’s novels over a script, but since I probably won’t be getting to London anytime soon to watch the play, I’m satisfied with what I do have, which is better than nothing. To anyone picking this book up, that is the most important thing I would want them to know: This is a (rehearsal edition) script, not a novel. If you’re prepared and can accept that, your experience will be better.

I could still hear the character’s voices in my head, but there was some dialogue and actions that made me think, no, this doesn’t feel correct. They wouldn’t say/do that. Granted, after 19 years maybe they would. I know that this play has Rowling’s blessing and that she’s very happy with how it turned out, so despite its flaws I’m willing to accept it as canon. I’m happy to add it to my Harry Potter collection.

Liz said...

I also had mixed feelings with this book/script. I loved delving back into the world of Harry Potter but I was disappointed with the plot and scarcity of JK Rowling voice. It lacked the imaginative new characters and problems that arose in each new Harry Potter book. It felt like a rehash of so many things that I thought were passed, and had no need to be revisited 20 years later. I hoped for new spells, a villain not connected to Voldemort, and more on the grown up relationships between Harry, Ron and Hermoine and the next generation. But... since this designed for a West-end production, and I'm assuming this will be the only HP play, it makes sense to have so many familiar HP scenes and characters (even if it's choppy and brief) revisited on the stage. I want to see the production and then give my final opinion.