Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, et. al.
In this screenplay, we reunite with a grown-up Harry Potter, his family, and the rest of the Hogwarts gang as Harry goes through being a parent, his son has to figure out who he is beyond his dad’s legacy, and a new enemy emerges with a sinister plot up her sleeve.
Publisher’s Description: Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on 30th July 2016.
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
Possible spoilers beyond this point.
Kat Mandu says…
I finally got the chance to read this! I’ve had it since July but I wanted to reread all seven books before I read it.
I enjoyed the majority of this. Some of the time changes threw me for a loop (as in three years pass within seconds of reading it). I’m certain if I were to actually see the play for myself, I’d understand it a lot better. Not that it was hard to read the script. It’s just a very big jump from novelization to screenplay and although I understood it, I do wish I could have seen it live to get a better feel for things.
However, that story is remarkable! Time turners are brought back in a bad way and Harry’s son Albus gets a taste of what Marty McFly went through when he tried to mess with time. You get to see all kinds of characters in new light as different changes are made to affect them. But things work out in the end.
I really loved the character of Scorpius, who is Draco Malfoy’s son. He has the best lines and I simply adored him and his humor, plus his unexpected and unyielding friendship to Albus.
Agent Annie says…
I don’t think this Harry Potter book was nearly as good as the original series. I know that it is supposed to be watched on a stage, which makes for a different style of writing, but I didn’t think the actual story was as well done as previous.
I did enjoy “meeting” some favorite characters again, but I didn’t like how Rowling wrote Professor McGonagal. I thought Rowling made her weak and uninformed. I also thought she made Ron the same way. Their dialog was really a lot of “Huh? What’s going on, what do we do?” This didn’t feel true to the characters in the original series. Thinking about this further, I wonder if JK Rowling enjoyed simply exploring alternative ways she could have ended the original series.
I also can’t imagine actually performing this play. The scene changes seem so fast, just a couple pages in some cases and the sets were quite elaborate. There is one scene which re-creates the first meeting of Hagrid and Harry on his 11th birthday. What a nightmare to try and do on stage. I haven’t actually read any reviews of the production, but based on what I read in the book, I’m not sure I would want to attend the play.
I give the book a 3. As a fan, it’s fun to delve back into the characters and see the what if’s, but I thought it lacked the depth that her previous work has.
Invested Ivana says…
The Cursed Child is an interesting read, so much so that I feel I’m still digesting it a week after reading. It certainly feels different than the books, though I don’t think the themes are any darker.
I like the characters quite a lot, both the familiar and the new. Albus and Scorpius are good kids, despite the fact that their boyhood adventures didn’t turn out as well for them as they did for Harry. I think it’s excellent that this book attempts to show a better side of Slytherin; but in the end, Scorpius seems much more like a Huffle Puff to me. I didn’t really get a sense of why he was in Slytherin.
It’s wonderful to see what Harry, Ron, Hermonie, and Ginny are up to as adults, having invested so much emotion in their childhoods.
Cursed Child deals a lot with time travel, almost to the point of being confusing. Since this is a screenplay and not a book, and thus there is no exposition, the reader has to pay close attention in order to follow all the alternate timelines. It’s very interesting, however, to see how little actions affect the current timeline. I enjoy that part of time travel stories.
Perhaps the only thing that felt disappointing to me was the backstory of the antagonist (yes, I’m being vague because if you haven’t read the book yet, I don’t want to spoil anything). While it makes a great counterpoint to Harry’s relationship with Albus, it feels to me as if it came out of the blue, as if it wasn’t something that had been planned. Rowling does an amazing job, even with the new movie, Fantastic Beasts, of demonstrating how much of her world is planned out and connected; nothing feels like a last minute-decision—except for this antagonist. That being said, I should trust that it’s my perception, not the writing, that is the issue. But I just can’t shake the feeling that the antagonist doesn’t quite fit the world.
Overall, I think I will never love book eight as I have loved the first seven, but I did enjoy it. I really want to see The Cursed Child as a play. Being in the Midwest United States, I’m sure it will be a long time before that happens. If I’m lucky, something like Fathom Events might carry it, eventually. Or perhaps Pottermore will make it a dramatized audiobook; that would be a lot of fun. Otherwise, it will be likely be years before I get to see the play as it is intended, and I think that would add a lot to my experience of the story.
Our reviews in this series…
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Book 01
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Book 02
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Book 03
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Book 04
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Book 05
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Book 06
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Book 07
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Book 08
- All the Harry Potter companion books by J. K. Rowling