Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – J K Rowling

 

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If you’re reading this review it’s likely that you’ve already finished this book, or that you intend to read it in the near future. For those of you in the second category, the only question that remains is whether you should buy or borrow Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

I bet you know that Cursed Child is a play script. Because the thing was originally intended to be a play performed in London’s West End, where most Harry Potter fans can’t see the show. So they had to make the story available in some form, although I’d have preferred a prose adaption even if everything besides the dialogue was ghostwritten. The play itself is written by some dude called Jack Thorne based on a story by JK Rowling and John Tiffany. I’m guessing that Rowling drafted up some super special top secret story that’s going to live in a vault until she dies, and Thorne spruced it up into a play. While the whole ‘reading a playscript’ thing is odd at first, it soon worked for me. It’s more economical, really. My only quibble was that I’d have liked a full colour insert with photos from the stage play inserted roughly halfway through the text.

If you were really anxious about spoilers I doubt you’d be reading this, so I feel no hesitation in telling you that the plot of Cursed Child is very similar to Back To the Future. Harry Potter’s son, Albus, and Draco Malfoy’s boy, Scorpius, steal a dodgy time-twister to save Cedric Diggory, that guy who died in the fourth book. You know time travel plots, they’re dramatic and always slightly inconsistent with their rules. But the heart of this story are Albus and Scorpius, two sarcastic friends with an outsider’s perspective of Hogwarts. Both are overshadowed by their fathers’ legacies, despite actually being more interesting characters. That’s not giving the now middle-aged Draco his due, though. Although he’s gotten over his Voldemort sympathies, there’s something about Harry Potter that just pisses him off. And I like that, it’s perfectly reasonable to be envious of a character as lucky and bland as Harry.

Plenty of cool things happened in this play, but by far the coolest was the revelation that the trolley witch from the Hogwarts Express is charged with keeping the students on the train, and that she can transform her hands into spikes and walk on the roof to do so. I bet Rowling’s head is full of bonkers Harry Potter facts like this.

One thing made me cringe, and that was the return of the infamous Sorting Hat. Since it’s meant to be a play the hat is played by some dude wearing a hat. And it still sings.

If Harry Potter ever meant anything to you then you’ll need to read Cursed Child eventually. But I’d only recommend that the really ardent fans buy it.

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