January 23, 2017

Review: Harry Potter & the Cursed Child by John Tiffany & Jack Thorne

Title: Harry Potter & the Cursed Child
Author: John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
Publisher: Little Brown UK
Published: July 31, 2016
Hardcover: 343 pgs

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Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage.
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.

First of all, do not compare this book to any of the previous Harry Potters. It's like comparing apples to oranges and it just wouldn't be fair to the playwrights. Because this isn't an actual book, you won't get those amazing descriptions of the wizarding world that we were fortunate enough for JK Rowling to create. You won't get to go as in-depth into each character and in fact, some characters will be totally left out (like Albus's brother and sister, who exist but hardly ever make an appearance). And the biggest difference is that the focus of this book is not Harry. That may be hard for some of you to swallow, but once you get past that, it's actually a rather great play.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child continues right where the last book left off. Harry, Hermione, and Ron are older now, more established in their careers, and have children of their own. On the day of Harry's second son, Albus's trip to Hogwarts, he befriends none other than Scorpius Malfoy, son of Draco Malfoy (Harry's sworn enemy, for those of you who have read/seen nothing of the books).

This play is a really quick read and I'm happy to say that I'm impressed with the way it turned out. As with so many pop culture icons nowadays, there is such a thing as beating a dead horse. I thought for sure that this book would be nothing like the originals. That I'd get so frustrated with the plot line or character dialogue that I'd throw it out the window. Fortunately for me, my windows stayed intact.

The play actually goes into the father-child relationships that exist in this new world. Harry & Albus; Draco & Scorpius, Cedric & Amos Diggory; and one other that I can't tell you about without spoiling the book! The entire idea is: who is really the cursed child? Is it the one who's father is insanely famous (I mean, how do you live up to that pressure!)? Or is it the one who's father has an awful reputation as a death eater in world where Voldemort has been vanquished (should you be evil now or good?)? The story deals with adolescence and growing up and learning to make decisions that will affect everyone else more than yourself. Things that we watched Harry deal with as he grew older, and that's so fascinating to watch him deal with as a father.

If you're a fan of the series, I'd definitely recommend these two plays (combined in one book). Nothing will ever live up to the fantasy we enjoyed living/breathing/reading about in Hogwarts, but this is a great second best!

4 out of 5 stars!

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