Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Author: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne
Series: Harry Potter, #8
Publisher: Little, Brown UK
Release Date: July 31st 2016
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. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
As soon as I heard there was going to be an eight Harry Potter story released as a play I knew I had to get tickets. I was in an online queue for three hours before I managed to get a ticket for a performance. It was definitely one of my highlights of the year. Then I heard the book was being released and of course I immediately went on to Amazon to pre-order it. I was quite lucky with the timing; the book was being released after I had a ticket to go and see the play.
I really did enjoy this book; it was wonderful going back to the world and seeing the characters who I loved so much when I read the first books as they were released. However, there was a lot in the play that I felt was missing in the book. You can read the stage directions but it’s a very different experience to see it performed on stage. I’m very aware that one of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much was because I had seen the play first and was essentially reliving it in my mind as I read.
I would love to see this pay travel around the world, or for a movie to be made so people can have the same experience watching it for themselves as I did, even if they live on the other side of the world.
Years after Voldemort’s defeat Harry and his family are safe and happy, and now it’s Albus’s turn to attend Hogwarts. Unlike his father though Albus’s experience is not a happy one. Immediately placed in Slytherin he starts withdrawing from everyone but his best friend Scorpius Malfoy, and as the years pass in the blink of an eye he seems to move further and further away from his father who still makes an effort to reach out to him.
When Harry retrieves a Time Turner in a raid he is aware of how dangerous it could be in the wrong hands, but Albus sees it as an opportunity. When Amos Diggory begs for the life of his son Albus decides to use the Time Turner to go back and save Cedric. With the help of Scorpius and Delphi Diggory Albus travels back, unaware of the disastrous affect they’re having on the time stream and their present day lives.
Albus suffers a lot under the weight of his father’s legacy. Whereas James, and eventually Lily, end up in Gryffindor Albus is the only Potter in Slytherin and that seems to have a profound effect on him. One of the reasons he wanted to save Cedric is because he identified with him. Cedric was the spare and that’s very much how Albus feels among his own family; the one who doesn’t belong. He becomes withdrawn from pretty much everyone but Scorpius, fighting back against the expectations that comes with the Potter family name in the only way he knows how.
Scorpius is definitely my favourite character in this book, and one of my favourite characters from the whole series. He seems to be the best parts of the original trio all in one character; he has Hermione’s intelligence and level-headedness, Ron’s lighter outlook on life and sense of humour, and Harry’s loyalty and dedication to the people he cares about. Like Albus Scorpius struggles under the weight of people’s expectations of him, but this time as Voldemort’s son, or so the rumours say. Still he doesn’t let it get him down because he has his best friend by his side.
The friendship between Albus and Scorpius was one of my favourite aspects of this book, and yes at times Albus could be a little self serving in his quest to right what he sees as his father’s wrong but you never doubt the strength of his feelings for Scorpius.
There was a big emphasis in this book on the relationships between Harry and Albus, and Draco and Scorpius. What I really loved was the new depths we saw to Draco’s character and his actions back in the original series, even his dedication to his family and his son which I didn’t really see coming if I’m being honest. Harry’s relationship with Albus becomes so much more complication and some of the things he did and said in the book I really could not see the Harry I remember from the original series doing and saying.
I felt the story was very much all about the select few characters; Harry, Ginny, Albus, Scorpius, Malfoy and Hermione; everyone else seemed to be forgotten. I understand that there was a limited amount of time, especially in a play, to introduce everyone but there were so many of my favourite characters who were completely missing; Neville Longbottom, the rest of the Weasley family, even some of the next generation who I would have loved to discover more about; Albus’s brother and sister and his cousins.
What I loved about the original series was seeing Hogwarts, the wonder and the magic, through Harry’s eyes; and one of the things I enjoyed about this book was seeing the same world but through the eyes of someone who doesn’t see that wonder and magic, someone who dreads going back every September. It almost makes it seem more real to be introduced to some of the downsides of Hogwarts and the prejudices against certain houses which, even years after Voldemort has been defeated, are still around. The original series plays a large role in this book, and it was great seeing how they linked the stories together using the Twiwizard tournament and all three of the challenges Harry and Cedric had to face all those years ago. I thought the repercussions Albus and Scorpius were faced with every time they meddled in the past, both the subtle and the not so subtle ones, were just brilliantly written.
This book has a lot of mixed reviews, and I think with something like this it’s easy to be disappointed if it’s not what you’re expecting. For me I loved going back to the world of Hogwarts, seeing it through different eyes and seeing the next generation starting their own adventures, albeit ones that do go horribly wrong.
What did you think of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.