Review: 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany (2016)
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
I can’t believe I am actually sitting behind my computer right now, ready to write a review of an actual new Harry Potter story…! Just like a lot of other people in the world I’m a big fan of J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ series and the books continue to be some of my absolute favourite novels of all time; there’s just nothing else that comes even close to them. So when I heard an 8th part of the series would be released in the form of a play, I couldn’t contain my excitement. When I was in the UK for the summer I immediately bought a copy of the script, and on the one hand couldn’t wait to sit down with it but on the other hand wanted to save it for a time I’d really need a good read. In the end, I didn’t wait too long and devoured the book in just two days while keeping my fingers crossed it would end up being as good as the other parts of the series…!
We all remember Harry Potter as The Boy Who Lived and who, together with his friends, managed to beat Voldemort. Now, nineteen years later, Harry, Ron and Hermione are all grown up; wizards spending their days working and taking care of their own families. Harry and Ginny are having some trouble with their middle son, Albus, who is finding it difficult to find his place at Hogwarts, especially with the family legacy he can’t seem to shake off. However, Albus is about to step into quite an adventure himself, something both he and his family never saw coming.
It's been a long time since I was this sad about having finished a novel...! Reading another part of the 'Harry Potter' series was destined to be kind of special, and a bit scary because of all the incredibly high expectations, and I'm just really glad I loved it as much as I did. It was absolutely wonderful to once again see Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny; all the familiar faces, but now nineteen years later. It was easy to fall in love with the new characters such as Albus, Harry's teenage son who is struggling with the family name and legacy, and his new best friend Scorpius Malfoy, whom I think every reader will easily warm to. And while I first had my doubts whether the storyline could be just as good as the ones in the previous parts, I thought it was once again really well done and quite clever.
I think one of the most important things to realise about this book is that it isn't meant to be read as a novel. It is a play that you need to see on stage, a completely different experience from reading words on a page while sitting at home or in the train. It's wonderful the play was printed like this because otherwise I probably wouldn't have been able to experience it myself, but I think it's crucial for readers to remember how the story was meant to be experienced. Of course I wish this would have been a full-length novel with a lot of lengthy descriptions and background info and emotions instead of a play, like many others probably, but in my opinion that Harry Potter magic is still there and J.K. Rowling did a wonderful job on this story that provides us with a sneak peak into Harry Potter's world, and the only thing I'm going to do right now is keep my fingers crossed it wasn't the last one...!