Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Review

Harry Potter fans come in all shapes and sizes. All ages and races. They span multiple countries of origin and religions. In fact with the exception of some truly deluded individuals who believe Harry Potter is adverse to their beliefs or just cannot read fantasy stories… the novels in the series are some of the most treasured works of art in the modern age.

These novels that follow the exploits of The Boy Who Lived have sold in astronomical numbers, the films are a multi-billion dollar business and the official theme park attractions are dreams come true for a fanbase who wants to continue living in that world.

The fantasies of all those who wish to join the Wizarding World invented by JK Rowling have sought expansion in various ways. The author has written many things to show the depth of her created universe. Books like The Tales of Beedle the Bard and stories on Pottermore.com continue to show us what life was after the final page of the The Deathly Hallows. In fact our need to continue the fun has caused JK Rowling herself to adapt one of her Hogwarts textbooks into a new film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as well as pen a new Harry Potter story and turn it over to be produced as a stage play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

The Rehearsal Script for The Cursed Child was released at midnight on July 31st, 2016 (In celebration of Harry’s Birthday). There are some obvious differences to this book release than those of the past. There is a trepidation over the story for some fans because once Rowling wrote her story others took it on to adapt it into two plays. This requires the stripping away of many of the most vivid and enjoyable details of each set piece. The best part of reading about Harry Potter was getting to inhabit the amazing, strange and often dangerous world he lived in. It was easy for all of us to spend so much time there because we could activate our imaginations and with Rowling’s descriptions transport ( or apparate) ourselves there time and again. In the case of The Cursed Child some descriptions are kept but since the sets would be visual and the action choreographed in the play, only the required pieces of imagery are written in the script. Meaning, even what descriptions remain are stripped of their floweriness and left in only to pass the most necessary instructions.

That said… if you are a Harry Potter fan and a story by JK Rowling showing Harry Potter’s life 19 years after The Battle of Hogwarts becomes available in any form, it is a must watch/read/listen. Does Rowling’s story live up to her previous seven? Or do the many needs of a stage production ruin the magic?

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child starts at a familiar moment to fans of the series. Harry, now a father of three, takes his middle child Albus Severus Potter to Platform 9 & 3/4s for his first year at Hogwarts. Albus’ older brother James is a great student, popular and in Gryffindor. He teases his little brother who worries greatly about going to Hogwarts with the name Potter. Albus meets someone who also worries about living up to their name when he gets on the Hogwarts Express, Scorpius Malfoy. A boy with an extremely difficult family lineage made all the more difficult by rumors his parentage may be more complex than it seems.

Harry, Hermione, Ron, Draco, and Ginny all feature prominently in the script but the story is absolutely centered around Albus and Scorpius. These two sons of two of the most important wizards in history have a lot to live up to when it comes to their own adventures and their story feels adequately epic. There is no flowery prose but there is a plot and without eschewing spoilers it follows all of the aspects we love about a JK Rowling plot. We are introduced to new characters, we gain insight into the main plot generally involving a piece of magic or magical equipment, a mission is set upon by our heroes and plot twists abound as they try to save the world.

There are negatives to releasing the story in this form. It is not the complete piece as it is intended to be seen by audiences. It will always be compared to the novels which is unfair but true. There will always be those that wish JK Rowling wrote a full novelization of the idea instead of releasing this. (I found it to be an immensely quick read on the order of the time I read the first book in about 2 hours.) Also, it makes hardcore fans yearn for full novels about The Marauders, The Order of the Phoenix and The Life and Times of Albus Dumbledore.

The positives are that it allows fans who do not live in London to experience the eighth Harry Potter story. We get an official plot that we can add to our favorite fantasy universe and we get to indulge in more Harry Potter excitement. For the many of us who like Harry have aged quite a bit get to relive the craziness of fan theorizing and midnight release parties. We also get to introduce Harry Potter to the young people in our lives.

The last positive is that although she has achieved great success with her novels based on her detective character Cormoran Strike, we hope that these different releases will get JK Rowling to sit down and give us the experience of returning to the Wizarding World with new novels. Until then it was nice to spend another night with old friends at Hogwarts and I cannot wait until the Broadway adaptations are available. I will be there opening night if possible.

– Mr. Khon

PS

JK Rowlings complete screenplay adaptation of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be released this November. The hope is that since she adapted the screenplay herself there will be a lot of notes and descriptions we love. Also the film itself will be more readily available so we can see everything she wanted us to experience.

Mr. Khon

Our own version of The Illusive Man, Mr. Khon’s identity is kept secret until he sells a screenplay. Once that happens, he’s taking us all to the big time.

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