Tuesday, October 11, 2016

REVIEW: HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD ~ JK ROWLING, JACK THORNE, JOHN TIFFANY


I may not be able to get to England to see the play, but my book is from England and that helps!
A special thank you to my best friend, Erika, for this lovely gift ♥

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a new play by Jack Thorne based on an original new story by JK Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, starts with the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione sending their own children off to Hogwarts. 
*Spoilers ahead* 
The Potters and the Granger-Weasleys at Platform 9 3/4
 
Harry’s youngest son, Albus Severus, is headed to Hogwarts for his first year and he is afraid of being sorted into Slytherin House.  As in Deathly Hallows’ epilogue, Harry assures his son that the bravest man he had ever met was from Slytherin House, and that Albus Severus carries his name.  That is where the final novel left us, with Harry assuring his son that it would not matter if he was sorted into Slytherin – a good thing as this is indeed what happens.  Harry’s oldest son James, and later his daughter Lily, as well as Ron and Hermione’s children Hugo and Rose are all sorted into Gryffindor House, but Albus finds himself sorted into Slytherin. 
Rose Granger-Weasley is sorted into Gryffindor
 
Albus also has great difficulty mastering spells in school and is soon dubbed “The Slytherin Squib”.  This, and the constant comparisons to his famous father, leads to a lot of doubt and confusion for young Albus who becomes a distant, troubled young man.  Shunned even by Rose Granger-Weasley, once his best friend, he finds an unexpected friend and ally in fellow Slytherin, Scorpius Malfoy, the son of Draco Malfoy.  Scorpius is also an outcast as he is the son of a former Death Eater, and a very dark rumour hangs over his head – the rumour that Draco and Astoria could not conceive children and that they used a time-turner to go back in time and conceive Lord Voldemort’s child!  At first this rumour is merely that as all time-turners were believed to have been destroyed during the battle at the Ministry of Magic.  Harry, now an overworked Head of Magical Law Enforcement at the Ministry of Magic, discovers that this is not the case as he retrieves several illegal magical devices during a raid – including a time turner. 
Albus and Harry have a very strained relationship which becomes only more strained as the years pass.  Albus, mistakenly believing that Harry does not care at all for the blood spilt in his name, takes it upon his own inexperienced shoulders to right at least one wrong - Albus decides to break into the Ministry of Magic, steal the time-turner now in Hermione's possession, return to the Tri-Wizard Tournament and prevent Cedrick Diggory's death. Yeah... going back in time to alter events... what could possibly go wrong? 
Harry Potter consults the portrait of Professor Dumbledore
 
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child follows Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy as they navigate past and present, creating more wrongs than they fix as they tamper with the past and the butterfly effect changes everything in their present.  As Albus and Scorpius create all kinds of trouble messing with the past, Harry starts having very disturbing nightmares about his troubled son and his scar starts to hurt for the first time since Voldemort's death - could it mean what we all fear it means?
Ginny and Harry discuss his escalating nightmares and his hurting scar
 
I would have appreciated more time with our core trio, but this time around they are more supporting characters as the story focuses on Albus.  My favourite character is Scorpius Malfoy, much to my surprise!  I found him to be very complex and incredibly funny – I actually think, given the chance, he would have gotten along famously with the Weasley twins (oh, Fred).  The plot is very well written and keeps you on the edge of your seat.  After so many years away, it is great fun visiting Hogwarts again and catching up with beloved characters. 
An important announcement is made at the Ministry of Magic

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is, of course, released not in the form of a novel but as the script of the play.  It obviously reads very differently than the Potter novels, but it is quite easy to get into.  My only criticism would be that as reader I am not quite as immersed in the Potter universe as I am when reading the novels which have much greater, vivid descriptions – but as this is essentially a play meant to be seen more than a script meant to be read, this is not a fair criticism at the end of the day.  I am, however, not London-based and doubt very much that I will ever get to see the play performed in Pretoria, South Africa, so settle for the script I must – at least until a film version I desperately yearn for.   This story would make an excellent movie, though given the complexity of the plot and elements of time travel, a film version seems highly unlikely.  I also very much doubt that Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint could be persuaded to return for another Potter movie, but I think audiences would forgive a change in casting since their characters are 19-22 years older than during the events of the Battle of Hogwarts.  I, for one, would forgive a change of casting if it meant I got to see this story play out on the silver screen...  however, nobody – and I mean nobody – could replace Alan Rickman as Professor Snape…
The original stage production cast
All in all Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is great entertainment and sure to be a hit with all fans of the series.  As a film version seems highly unlikely, be sure to get yourself a ticket to the play (I would if I could!) or get your hands on a copy of the script - you will not be disappointed.


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