Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany

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“Harry, there is never a perfect answer in this messy, emotional world. Perfection is beyond the reach of humankind, beyond the reach of magic. In every shining moment of happiness is that drop of poison: the knowledge that pain will come again. Be honest to those you love, show your pain. To suffer is as human as to breathe.”

When J.K Rowling announced that there was going to be a stage production of the 8th Harry Potter story focusing on Albus Severus Potter I was absolutely ecstatic – as any Potterhead would be. However when she later announced that there was also going to be a script of this production published I was in two-minds about it; a part of me was happy to see that people who couldn’t see the show for whatever reason weren’t going to be excluded from the magic and that the story would always live on even if the show were to close. Whilst another was worried that this was just an attempt to exploit the love of the fans and this fire was further fanned when I saw that some places were selling the book for pre-order as a ‘story’ rather than a ‘script’, something that a number of people have spoken about since the books’ release. But that magical world has no place for negativity or cynicism, so putting that aside my intrigue got the better of me and I decided to buy it from a little bookshop in Ottawa. I finished it two days later in the car on the road to Québec and wow, how I’ve missed Hogwarts.

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Taking into account that this was a script and so is predominantly focused on the dialogue (Well obviously Ally…) the setting of this book is incredible:

“Platform Nine and Three-Quarters. Which is covered in thick steam pouring from the HOGWARTS EXPRESS. And which is also busy- but instead of people in sharp suits going about their day- it’s now wizards and witches in robes mostlu trying to work out how to say good-bye to their beloved progeny”

You can just see the places, the stages. Maybe the fact that the books and films have helped us get to know these places so well already helped in this, maybe they didn’t. All I know is that this book felt alive. The descriptions of spells and potions also aided in creating the realism of the story; scripts are written to aid the director and actors and generally anybody involved to know what should be happening, when it should be, where it should be and how it should be. So it’s not surprising that this worked specifically well regarding the magic.

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The characters were on the whole brilliantly written; the characters we know and love – Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny and many many more – stick true despite their older ages, with exception of Ron who became a sort of caricature only there to provide comic relief.  Other than that the developments that the characters have made in the twenty-two years in which we’ve not seen them feel so natural, almost as if you subconsciously expected them. I also loved the character of Albus, I just wanted to give him a hug pretty much all the way through. There’s a specific scene, which I won’t divulge the details of because SPOILERS!, where you’re given a real insight into Albus at what defines his character and I just thought that was incredible. The one issue I had with the characterisation was in regards to Scorpius – who was actually my favourite character and is just the cutest little thing in the world. I adored his character but there was very little development of it with the majority of it occurring very late in the story which I thought was a shame as he was such a strong character.

* * *

So now for the area where I found the most issues; the plot. Before I actually read the book I came across a Tumblr post bullet-pointing all the major events; as I scrolled down I inadvertently read the first couple of bullet points and I was simultaneously horrified and dumfounded. Without any context these things looked absolutely ridiculous, I sat staring at my phone thinking “But..How..WHAT?!”. Now however, having read the book, I can say that these events seem a lot more logical and the reasoning behind some of them are much more natural. But still it felt a little over-complicated and just a bit…far-fetched. There are even places where things happen which break the rules established in the other books. It’s quite difficult to explain without giving away any spoilers! I’m just glad that all the characters were strong and so they didn’t have to rely completely on the plot. If you’ve read the script already and agree with me somewhat leave me a comment down below (but please just put “SPOILERS” at the top so we can keep the magic!).

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Overall I really enjoyed reading this script! No it wasn’t perfect but it’s Harry Potter and that pretty much is as close as you can get. I’m now going to try and nab myself some tickets for the show as I am so intrigued as to how they do some of the Special Effects / Magic!

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