'Harry Potter and The Cursed Child' Parts One And Two: a Book Review
Harry Potter And The Cursed Child is a two-part stage play featuring an original story from J.K. Rowling and John Tiffany. The story takes place nineteen years after Deathly Hallows and over the course of four acts, follows Albus Severus Potter as he attends his first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. While the first seven books in the series were very much centered around Harry, the play is focused on Albus and his close friend Scorpius. He also happens to be the son of Draco Malfoy. The theme of the book is the bond between parent and child.
Although kids, the protagonists in the play are bold and daring. Albus Potter faces down a great family legacy. Scorpius takes head on rumors of being the Dark lord's spawn. Their youth and recklessness allow them to get in situations in which they are in way over their head. The two make a great pair and play off each making the adventures they have even that more exciting.
The book's play on nostalgia is just right and doesn't overstay its welcome. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and some of the other characters from the series are back in more of a background role. The attention has shifted more to the children of the old cast and more focused around Albus and Scorpius. However, half the appeal of the play is reveling in the fact that these characters are so different than before. They're parents, have jobs, and not as adventurous as they used to be. Other favorites like Draco and Professor McGonagall make an appearance with the rest of the characters from the previous books mentioned in some form or capacity.
The newly introduced item called the Time Turner is an artifact that ingeniously allows one to go back in time minutes or even years. As a result, the story revisits past events past events such as the Triwizard Tournament and the Battle of Hogwarts. These instances of time travel add to the nostalgia factor and more importantly serve as excellent 'what if' scenarios. It's not just a trip down memory lane. Events often unfold in different ways and than in itself is very exciting to read.
The book's only blemish is the way it plays it fast and loose with its own canon. Several times, I've been puzzled with the wording and actions of certain characters. Snape certainly wouldn't even call Ron by his first name. Not even, in a future tense. Likewise, events that happen off-page and come 'out of no where' should not play a major role in the book's story. As I discussed the revelations the book makes with a fellow friend and Harry Potter fan, he even suggested it sounded like fan-fiction. Indeed it does as some of the revelations are shocking and mind boggling.
All in all, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child delivers what I believe to be a very adequate sequel of the series. It hits all its marks in the form of nostalgia. It also offers up a brand new adventure to sink our teeth into. However, a story more true to the series' canon would have made for a better play and not read so much as fan fiction. This a great play with some really good ideas and I definitely hope it gets a film adaptation— someday. If you're a Harry Potter fan, this is a definite read!