I’m currently sat one hour into a three hour coach journey & I’ve just finished reading the new Harry Potter book. And holy crap I need to talk about it.
Back in 2013 JK Rowling announced that she had spent the last year working on a new Harry Potter story to become a stage play everyone went crazy. In October of last year the cast line up was released, as well as the announcement that the play would be set nineteen years on from the end of the original Harry Potter series & everyone went even more crazy. And then there was an official release date, & the theatre gazebo lights went up everyone nearly died. Apparently it only took six hours before someone tried to climb into that big nest on the theatre front by the way. The play was written by Jack Thorne, based on the new story written by JK herself (along with John Tiffany & Thorne).
It’s perfect. It’s everything Harry Potter should be – intense but somehow lighthearted at the same time with characters new & old & a fresh story with new issues that
Firstly, if you’re worried about the new book being nothing like the original series then don’t panic. Though the two main characters are the sons of Harry Potter & Draco Malfoy, the story is so cleverly new with the new characters but revolves around the history that we already know; the Battle of Hogwarts, Dumbledore, Voldemort, Harry’s parents etc. It’s a really clever way of bringing about this new era of Harry Potter.
Reading the book doesn’t feel like spoiling the play for me. I need to see that play, I need to see the actors & all those (literally) magic stage directions brought to life. I so badly want to see how it’s all been brought to life for an audience to see it all up close in front of them. Reading it is really exciting even trying to figure out how they’re going to do it, though I bet it was a stupidly hard job for the ones who had to make it reality.
The story follows Albus Severus Potter, the second son of Harry & Ginny who was last seen in the final scene of the final Harry Potter film where he was played by Arthur Bowen. I don’t think many people were expecting him to go on to become the lead in continuing on the Harry Potter story but the character really is so interesting & really well written.
The Cursed Child is at the end of the day, basically all about male teenage angst. It is difficult at the best of times but to go through it whilst learning magic at Hogwarts with your father being the most famous wizard in the world is a bit more added to it.
Albus is puberty at its worst, because puberty with magic are just two things that really shouldn’t mix. He’s one side of the tricky father/son relationship that is being too similar to each other to be able to get on with each other – & it’s not like he can even escape from his father’s shadow what with everyone in the wizarding world knowing his name. So the play is about him trying to defy the expectations his name gives others & lash out against it. But amongst it all, Albus has at least one loyal, best friend – Scorpius Malfoy.
I think I’m a little bit in love with Scorpius. He’s the most optimistic character despite his heritage & the hundreds of rumours regarding said heritage, & I totally think he’s the person Draco Malfoy wanted to be (& would have been) if it hadn’t been for his father. The shift between the old generation Malfoy’s & the new is so interesting & really nice to see! Scorpius is the voice of reason for a lot of the play, & is the sole one to carry it at times. I love love love him.
There’s also Rose Granger-Weasley, daughter of Ron & Hermione & basically a mini Hermione: the same actress is even intended to play younger Hermione in flashbacks. The only difference between the two is that Rose has the world famous parents to be overly proud of too, bragging about being their daughter at every opportunity she can. She has quite a high opinion of herself, & can easily hold a grudge but I think she’ll grow out of it like her mother & go on to be a valiant & valued witch.
And then of course a lot of the favourites from the original line up are back. They’re older, but still just as badass really. We have the two power couples: Ginny & Harry, & Ron & Hermione, as well as revisiting teachers, old villains &
Though I’m writing this review based purely on the script, I can’t not talk about black Hermione. When the cast for the play was announced in December 2015 it was revealed that Noma Dumezweni would be taking on the role of Hermione which stupidly caused a mass discussion about Hermione now being portrayed by a black actress. I think it’s brilliant – & J K Rowling was quick to state that Dumezweni was the best actress for the role, & that she never wrote a description of Hermione’s skin colour, just that she had crazy frizzy hair. Imagine all the black little girls that will look up to that role model even more now that they can really see themselves in her. And I am sure that Noma Dumezweni is knocking it out the park every performance as Hermione, just as she has done in every other performance of her career dominating theatre.
Okay, back to the script now.
As for the story, the play toys a lot with time & alternate universes. Though a little surprising, it’s the perfect way to tie the two worlds together.
The biggest backlash I’ve seen from the play is that a certain character was a bad guy in one of these alternate universes & that’s “so not his character”, which while I understand the upset, I think is a total overreaction because that’s the point: there is this universe so terrible that one of the best guys possible is a villain.
There’s some really touching moments – most notably Act Four, Scene Twelve. I even got teary eyed, & it physically hurt??! No spoilers, but it’s actually a really heartbreaking moment that’s done so beautifully that it feels like it was always going to happen in the franchise eventually, you just never would have seen it coming.
The rest of the story is a mixture of adventure, nostalgia, angst & love. It catches you up with what’s happening to old characters in a really perfect way & introduces a new story seamlessly. The story is exciting & suspenseful enough without being complicated, & it’s not too dark either.
All in all, this script doesn’t disappoint. It’s a simple & fun story with a lot of heart & a lot of emotion that I’m sure will give every Harry Potter reader total satisfaction.