Hello, people of the internet!
Along with a lot of books I’ve reviewed previously, I got this book a year and have only just now read it. This play script was popular, as well as the play, last year, but I ‘decided’ to read the book a year later. Okay, I didn’t actually make that decision; it wasn’t like I thought to myself, “You know what, I bought this book just a second ago and I might as well read it now…But nah, I’mma read it later ‘cause YOLO”.
Anyway enough about me and my book-related, sporadic YOLO tendencies, here is what I thought of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Parts One and Two).
Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Parts One and Two)
Authors: J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
Publication date: 31st July 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, 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.
I had heard mixed reviews of this book before I started reading. Some people thought it was amazing and talked about how it felt like it belonged in the Harry Potter universe, whereas other people thought it was on par with fan fiction and absolutely refuse to think of it as canon. Since I’m someone who doesn’t mind fan fiction and refuse to degrade it as anything lower than published work (heck, I’ve read worse stuff that somehow got published, but I digress), I had expected great things from this book. Well, I can say that I can somewhat agree with both viewpoints. There were segments where it had the emotion and character of a Harry Potter book, specifically when any of the characters bantered, argued or connected with one another. I know it sounds bad, but the best written parts of the book are how the deaths of James and Lily Potter still affect Harry when he’s forty years old. The emotions are raw and hard to read, but it’s powerful – just like in the original seven books. The themes of love and friendship are also present as well as developed further with Harry’s relationship with his son, Albus, as well as Albus’ friendship with Draco Malfoy’s son, Scorpius.
However, there are sections that felt like fan fiction to me. Not that I’m saying fan fiction is entirely bad, but it did distract me from the story itself. The fact that Albus and Scorpius are friends, even though their fathers don’t see eye to eye, does sound like something from fan fiction. Even the plot twist itself sounds like fan fiction to me – those who have read the book, seen the play or even both would know who I’m talking about. I personally found it very distracting as I found myself thinking, “I think I read something similar once when I used to read fan fiction” instead of “Oh wow! I can’t stop reading this, it’s just as good as the originals!”. Is the plot itself very fan fiction-ish? Well…it’s a mixed bag – some parts sound like fan fiction, but others don’t. But should I ignore it and not consider it canon? Nope, I wouldn’t go that far.
Regardless, I did enjoy reading the play script. I would have still read the book if it had been a novel, but the creative writing student in me was very happy to read a play script again. I understood its layout well and I’m very intrigued to see how the more magical elements are done in the play. I would definitely see the play and, if anything, reading the book made me want to see it more.
It’s good to read Harry and the gang again as their older selves. As a huge Harry Potter fan, I’d say they were written well. I enjoyed it when they were present and liked how they connected and interacted with one another. I also liked how Draco was written and felt his interaction with Harry about their sons was realistic. They may not have been on par with J. K. Rowling’s original books, but their characters in this play were good representations.
I’m glad to have read this script. I’ll give 3 stars out of 5. It may not have been as good as I had hoped, but it definitely wasn’t awful. If I get the chance to see the play, then there is no stopping me!
Thank you for reading!