Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts 1 & 2 (Harry Potter #8) by J.K.Rowling (2016)
Theatre | Fantasy
“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.
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 July 30, 2016.”
pooled ink Review:
Hmm…I’m honestly not sure how to review this…I will say that a script is only the foundation of a play. The words are important indeed but there is something so drastically changed when one sees a play performed compared to simply reading the words in the script. This is especially true if one is not an actor, director, or theatre person whom has experience or the gift for envisioning what words can become on a stage (or screen).
This being said I am a theatre person (if my college degree is anything to go by anyway). I could envision to a slight degree the potential of what this script could become on a stage with all the magic that goes with such a transition. Many of the stage directions seemed truly intriguing concepts and I hope that one day I will get to see this story performed live.
Oh, but don’t panic if you’re not used to reading scripts. It’s quite easy to get into especially since this published edition really narrates and caters quite well to a general audience. Most of the time I envisioned the scenes like I would with any other book, almost forgetting this was a play. I believe that whether you like theatre or not you will not have much trouble reading this script/book.
Okay so why didn’t I give this book 5 stars and a raving review in all capital letters? Well…because it was just okay. I love love love the Harry Potter books and movies and I am curious about the Fantastic Beasts trilogy coming soon (the movie trailer looks awesome!). So it’s not that I don’t love Harry Potter, it’s honestly just the story that I wasn’t completely sold on. While the writing is spotless as usual the story just couldn’t hold my interest (I think I read three or four books between starting and finishing this script).
The whole plot (which takes place 19 years after the Battle of Hogwarts) felt a lot more like a very well thought out fan fiction. I just didn’t buy it. I really wanted to love this. I so did…but I just…didn’t…quite…
The characters were not…I don’t know… Ron is an utter goober in the few scenes he is given (why is he given so little substance? It almost felt like he was trying to fill Fred & George’s shoes but ended up just a bumbling goober). Harry is the same as ever, just older and with less sass (still beating himself up, having frustrated temper tantrums, hating Malfoy, etcetera). Hermione is still bossy and serious and I just didn’t quite love her. Draco Malfoy, I’m glad to report, has a chance to redeem himself and he does try (although I loathe the ponytail). Scorpius Malfoy is by far the best character in this entire book – he’s funny, nerdy, geeky, lovable, loyal, brave, and just all around brilliant. Albus Severus Potter, the son with the worst name ever, is an angsty little git for 90% of the whole play – he’s moody, dramatic, annoying, and an idiot, and a large reason why I kept rolling my eyes while reading and finding myself annoyed (I mean I think we all rolled our eyes when Harry went through his teenage angst phase but at least there was plenty going on to distract us from it). Delphi was quite a plot twist I suppose and is definitely reminiscent of Bellatrix LeStrange but with less cackling and mad laughter (thank goodness haha that would be too terrifying).
I’m not saying every story has to be profound or groundbreaking…but as clever as this story makes itself out to be, it sort of wasn’t. Perhaps it was all over-hyped. Perhaps if I had waited until all the excitement had died down I would have enjoyed it more. I’m not sure. Perhaps if I read it again in a year or two I will absolutely love it. Anything is possible.
But listen, this has happened to me before. Sometimes I read a script and I’m not convinced until I see it performed and all that the actors and crew have brought to the table. But that’s theatre, right? Always meant to be a living thing.
Look, I practically bleed Hogwarts pride, but just because I’m a die-hard Potterhead doesn’t mean all of J.K.’s other books/plays/screenplays/whatever will get an automatic pass. She’s a very gifted writer and I bet this show would be seriously incredible to see performed live (like seriously, based off some of the loose stage directions in it I bet they have quite a few nifty tricks up their sleeves and the characterization that an actor brings to their role is really the magic that sells it).
Overall: I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it. Glad I read it but I could totally have lived without it.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is stage play and a brave continuation of the Harry Potter novel series. An interesting look into the Wizarding World’s future that is best performed, witnessed, and experienced rather than simply read and scrutinized. Entertaining but not heart-pounding.
Purchase here: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: parts 1 & 2
Meet J.K. Rowling!
Author of the seven Harry Potter novels; three companion books originally published for charity; The Casual Vacancy, a novel for adults; and, under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith, the Cormoran Strike crime series. J.K. Rowling is making her screenwriting debut and is a producer on the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, due for release in November 2016.
Meet John Tiffany!
Writes for theatre, film, television, and radio. His theatre credits include Hope and Let the Right One In, among many others. Film credits include War Book and The Scouting Book for Boys, and for TV, the BAFTA award-winning Don’t Take My Baby, The Fades, and the This is England series. He is adapting Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy for the BBC.
Meet Jack Thorne!
He has won multiple awards for his directing work both in the West End and on Broadway. His work includes Once, The Glass Menagerie, Macbeth, The Bacchae, Let the Right One In, and Black Watch. He is Associate Director of the Royal Court, and was Associate Director of the National Theatre of Scotland from 2005 to 2012.