Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
By: J.K Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne
Genre: Play – YA, MAGICAL
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.
If you’ve followed my blog for a little while you will know how excited I have been for the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I pre-ordered it and anxiously awaited its arrival and since reading it I have been excited to share my thoughts with you.
Firstly this book has been receiving a mixture of good and bad reviews lately and I feel like some of the bad reviews stem from the fact that this is very different from the other Harry Potter books, of course because it’s a play. You have to think of it in a whole different light because it takes on a different form. The marketing campaign has been saying ‘Harry Potter book 8’ but for me I try to push it away from the original series in my head because whilst you do need to have read the other books to have all the background context, you also need to think of it almost separate because it doesn’t take on the same form and style as the other books. You also need to be use your imagination to bring some of the scenes to life for example because this is a play it doesn’t have the extensive description and scene setting therefore you have the stage directions instead or your own imagination to bring together a setting.
I personally really enjoyed Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, at first I had mixed feelings but having taken a few days to process my thoughts I definitely love it. My mixed feelings came from some of the characters; for example Snape is mentioned and he is talking in a jokey manner and Dumbledore is mentioned in a heartfelt scene which features him crying. For me I was thinking of the books and movies so felt like it really didn’t go and wasn’t in their character type but having once taken a few days to process the play in its own right I feel like it was added more for the play’s form/purpose than the actual story itself because it is meant to be performed on stage the emotions as well as everything else is usually heightened, the comedy and sadness will be another way to get the audience emotionally connected to the characters or scene because you almost have a limited amount of time whereas in a book you can fully explore something into detail.
The play is also filled with a lot of cross cutting so certain points in the play can seem somewhat abrupt although again if you remember to look at it from a play perspective and not a novel perspective then it definitely flows. Something I really enjoyed about this play was how it incorporated so much of the original stories of Harry Potter, so whilst you do need to push the thoughts of the books out of your brain in order to immerse yourself into this new form it also allows you to re-experience some of your favourite stories such as The Goblet of Fire and The Philosophers Stone.
Another thing I really enjoyed about the play was being able to experience my favourite characters in a new light, I liked seeing how they ended up and I liked how they developed as parents, it’s very rare to be able to return to your beloved childhood characters and see how they grow up. It’s an amazing experience to be able to do so and J.K Rowling’s decision to not make them perfect or living a perfect happily ever after offers a realistic element to a magical world, for example Harry has his own problems with parenting. The boy who lived who survived so much struggling to be a father? Who knew?
Whilst we do see some of our old favourite characters there is of course some we don’t see and I have to mention that I wish there was some real Luna and Neville scenes… Darn I miss the whole gang together.
Additionally to our old favourites we also get to experience a whole host of new characters and it adds even more to the magic. I loved Albus and Scorpius and what they represent, of course I want this to be spoiler free but the house they are put into really makes the play stand out a little more for me because it shows a different house experience and also it makes me look at it in a whole new light.
The plot is very shocking, I never read the blurb when I first pre-ordered the book and I tried to keep far away from spoilers or anything linked to it but the plot was something I really wasn’t expecting. There is definitely a lot going on in this play and a lot to keep you interested, the ending also transports you to where it all started and it’s definitely made me want to go back and read the books all over again…even though I still haven’t read Half Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows… Eek! I’m going to start Philosophers Stone again though then maybe if I binge read them all again I will finally finish them all!
I liked the back and forth of it all, how it very much incorporated the stories of Goblet of Fire and how it all began and even introduced us to new shocking characters so it was different.
Overall I would rate this play 5 stars and that’s an easy rating for me to give because I found myself easily immersed back into the magical world and I was emotionally engaged not only with my old favourite characters but the new characters as well as the entire plot. The play was also very shocking in places and it incorporated some elements which never would of entered my mind. I think if you can definitely separate your mind from the books and think of this as a whole new medium to experience this world then you can go into reading it with a little less expectation. J.K Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany are each fabulous in their own right and I am grateful for having the opportunity to be back in this world.
I also can’t wait for the release of the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them so we can see even more detail into this whole magical world, I have the book on my side and I’ve never picked it up yet so let me know if you think I should following my reread or shall we say restart of the actual book series.
Thank you for reading I hope that was as spoiler free as possible, I think I didn’t really drop anything in there so it’s probably super cryptic. If you have read the play then you will get any little references, let me know in the comments:
Have you read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?
What did you think or are you waiting to read it?
Who’s your favourite character?