Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
This book...This book was...
Yes, y'all, I loved this most recent installment of the Harry Potter series. While there are many haters out there, calling it "fan-fic" and self-indulgent, calling it ridiculous, I stand by it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it (and maybe, as a lifelong Potter nerd, part of this was a self-indulgent relapse into the wizarding world), but I also felt like the story was true to the rest of the series and naturally evolving - not forced the way I expected it to feel.
I'll be honest: I was nervous about reading this book. I had plenty of concerns, number one being: Won't adding to the PERFECT Harry Potter series just muddy the waters? Sequels that are not predestined always seem to lessen the effect of their predecessors. It happens all the time in the movies (Pirates of the Caribbean, anyone? Who thinks they should have just stopped at two??). However, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child did not muddy the waters. If anything, it made them a little sparkly.
First things first, let's get something straight: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is not a novel, and if you're reading it as a novel you're #1) doing it wrong, and #2) probably not going to like it very much. As a script, it naturally lacks the prose that is so enchanting in the book series. JK Rowling is a gifted story-teller, and part of her gift includes the marvelous way in which she is able to show readers her world. Cursed Child is the bare bones story - the dialogue - and it takes imagination to produce a background. Luckily, the info is all there for Potter fans, a benefit not many plays have; we already know Hogwarts, the Ministry, all the characters...For this reason I feel that The Cursed Child is perfect as a play - it does not need to be more, and in fact would feel a little rehashed if it was. That being said, I cannot wait to someday see this play on stage!
As for the story - I am so glad I got to experience another crazy Potter adventure, this time with Harry's son Albus. In some ways Harry's youngest son is his exact opposite, but in other ways he is just the same. Albus's decision to "take matters into his own hands" was very Harry-like, and the way the adventure compounded on itself was exhilarating.
I really think this story was for the original Potterheads, those who started reading them as they were published and are now adults and parents themselves. It is interesting to think of Harry Potter as a dad, trying to navigate the difficult waters of parenthood. I have often wondered how his children would feel the effect of having the most famous man in the wizarding world as their father - and now I know. Albus hates the weight on his shoulders, hates that he's "the Chosen One's" screw-up son. To this effect, the interactions between the two are both heartbreaking and intriguing. There were many moments of the story where I wanted to smack Harry - his choices as a parent were bad! But then that's life, right? Even "the Chosen One" makes mistakes that don't seem so wrong in the moment. In typical Rowling fashion, there is a thread of universality and realism in the story, making it ever so easy to connect with the characters.
On another note, I was so glad to get to see some old characters I thought I'd never hear from again. SPOILER ALERT: Snape. I loved seeing Snape again, seeing how he would have turned out if things had gone differently. I also loved the friendship between Albus and Scorpius Malfoy, one I definitely didn't see coming. And omg Voldemort...but we won't get into that ;)
I don't want to say too much about the story in case any of you haven't read it yet, but seriously, if you love Harry Potter you'll love this too. Now I'm on the edge of my seat for the illustrated edition of The Chamber of Secrets and the screenplay of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Have you read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child yet? I would love to know your thoughts!! Tell me about your reading experience in the comments :)