Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2 Book Cover Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2
Harry Potter
J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany
Play
Arthur A. Levine Books
July 31, 2016
Hardcover
320

The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

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.

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.

 

Harry Potter and the Fan Fiction Cursed Child was…ugh, I struggle to even put it into words, which is probably a lot like what the authors of this thing felt like. Forget Hogsmeade, this story is full of hogwash. Now granted, the authors were fairly limited with what could happen in The Cursed Child since it is a play. You cannot have huge, epic magic duels left and right due to the limitations of special effects. Despite this, there is a fair amount of magic.

Another limitation of a play is the style of writing. Readers cannot be given deep, detailed descriptions of everything. There are little blips here and there describing scenery or what a character is doing, but at least 90% of the text is dialogue. So the story really becomes more about the characters themselves, namely Albus (Harry’s son) and Scorpius (Draco’s son). While these two are supposed to be the main characters of the play, it can be kind of hard to tell with how much focus there is on Harry and co. The kids feel more like the catalyst that spurs the adventure than the heroes of the story. The original books had the adults helping out but it was always the youngsters that were the true heroes.

That is not to say that the authors did not try. It feels like they really, really tried their hardest. But Harry Potter being the cultural phenomenon that it is, there has been a large fan following over the years. People have picked the original series apart and asked, “Why didn’t the characters do this particular thing?” Some fans take it a step further and write their own stories based on these ideas. It felt like every major “what if” the Harry Potter fan community has thrown around in the past near-decade found its way into this story.

If they had decided to swing with one or two of these ideas, ok. That would have been fine. But it is just one after another for the entire book. Barring the overuse of those ideas as well as generic clichés, it felt like everything that a new story needed was there but that it just was not executed properly. Now maybe seeing The Cursed Child as a play can live a different impression on you. The way actors and actresses portray these characters could be much more effective than the mental images conjured up while reading. But as a book…I really hope J.K. Rowling was given a very big check in exchange for giving this her stamp of approval because that is really the only excuse.

December 11, 2016

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