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.
Amidst reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I realised that writing a review about it will not be an easy thing to do. Having finished it in just a couple of hours I was left with some serious thoughts and a great deal of soul-wrenching feelings.
I am all too tempted to note how this read has been the most awaited book for a while but I will be steering into a whole new territory here, however the message is clear: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child cannot and should not be read as part of the original series. You’d ask me why? The answer is as simple as that: unlike “the magnificent seven” it was never meant to be a book, it was only created to be experienced in the safe premises of a theatre. The publishers had two options to choose from: they could have novelised the play or leave it as a script. Honestly said, I think they opted for the best decision there. As a series the original seven books are a complete cycle, they do not need pre- or post-stories to be added. I say that from the point of view of a person who grew up with the stories and who awaited in anticipation every single one of them to be published; from the point of view of some who grew up with the characters, who cried and laughed with them and was completely smitten by the magic world they lived in. Therefore, I am exceptionally glad that JK Rowling complete realised that The Cursed Child should be treated as a separate matter.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a play about having grown up, being responsible for your own kids an struggling to do so. There are a couple of things I could not come to terms with, though: for example Ron – although he was the only character who managed to preserve his goofiness and childlike amusement he was portrayed as the least successful. Come on! Everyone else flew through life and have these all important jobs and he owns a jokes shop – don’t get me wrong, nothing shameful in that, but it left me feeling robbed of the great potential Ron had.
The adults have grown, they’ve changed. Some have changed so much that I hardly recognise them, Draco, for instance. I like that he’s, well, nicer now, but he doesn’t feel like Draco, you know? I’ve been so used to Harry and Draco being enemies that it almost surprised me… Although the way book seven ended the door was sort of left open for various outcomes for that blond head.
All in all #8 was essentially, a play with polar characters who need to put their differences aside in order to catch the baddie and restore the status quo, donning their best suits and jokes along the way. There are some quibbles – but in all key respects, it grips, it stirs and above all – it delights.
At heart, The Cursed Child concerns itself precisely with the anxiety of having an illustrious forebear and the dangers of trying to go back over old ground; it persuasively argues the value of doing so, too. There’s a universal, relate-able emotional core to the play. How do we grow up? How do we talk to our closest family members? How do we heal deep-rooted psychological damage? All matters that concern the people who actually grew up with the characters themselves – like me!
I am content with it, not overly excited, not overly disappointed, but convinced that it is a perfectly executed continuation of the story. One, that will only be understood by the people who lived with the books an breathed their air as if it was the only thing in the world.