I was 11 years old when I picked up Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone for the first time and let me tell you right now; that is the perfect age to start reading the series. It made it seem almost possible that I would get a knock on the door from Hagrid announcing I was a wizard (because witch was too lame for preteen me), or a ruffle-feathered Pigwidgeon might drop a Hogwarts wax sealed letter through my bedroom window at any given moment. Unfortunately, for us mere muggles, that was never going to be the case. So for the next 13 years, I lived my best life through the pages of novels and the cinema screen.
Reading The Deathly Hallows, way back in 2007, was particularly painful because it symbolised the beginning of the end of a world I’d come to identify with practically better than my own. Then watching TDH Part 2, in 2012, was bittersweet in its finality. The films were always released on my birthday weekend and when 2013 rolled around with out one, it was a mildly upsetting.
But then, a miracle happened.
A book, a play AND a film, all released in the same year. 2016, the glorious year of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and Fantastic Beasts and Were To Find Them.
Admittedly, I was sceptical at first. Who wouldn’t be? Usually when another book or film is tagged along to a series several years later its a massive flop. I predicted there would be tears, possibly murderous tendencies and maybe even a strongly worded twitter comment or two. In fact, I tried so hard to convince myself it was going to be awful that I didn’t read up on any of the theatre news, book details and only saw the FBAWTFT trailer when the fiance sat me down in front of it. I didn’t pre-order the book, or go to the midnight release. I was vaguely angry about the whole situation until the fiance brought the book home and put it in my hands. He’d pre-ordered us a copy, knowing me too well.
It was like being a kid again. I don’t think I’ve been that excited to read a book since the last Harry Potter novel. Just look at the fancy hardback cover, the heartwrenching depiction of little Albus. The fudging SNITCH!
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is set 19 years after the Battle of Hogwarts, our protagonists are now 40 and their child are off to Hogwarts. The story is based on Harry and Ginny’s son Albus who doesn’t feel as if he fits in with the life he thinks his father wants for him. He befriends Scorpius Malfoy and the pair set off on a misguided adventure that threatens to destroy the world as they know it.
Sorry about the seriously vague synopsis; I don’t want to give ANYTHING away to those yet to read the book.
I devoured those 330 in less than 3 hours and first of all, can I just say that Scorpius has the best name in the entire Potterverse.
Secondly, I was surprised to find that this wasn’t a traditional novel. It’s the script from the play. Whilst that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it is really strange to read for the first few pages and it threw me a bit, considering the Rowling books are so heavily laden with description.
After reading the first Act, I felt slightly disappointed. The characters are a little…off. I know that characters, as people, grow and mature but something just didn’t ring true. The path’s they followed (except Neville) weren’t as I pictured, but maybe that’s just me. The new generation, Albus, Scorpius and Rose, were so-so. Angry pre-teen, happy-go-lucky nerd and pretentious know-it-all respectively.
I’m not loving Hermione in this. She’s gone from being logical but still emotional to coming across as a little cold. That’s not the Rowling Hermione and whether it’s just how she is now, or the way it’s written I’m not sure. All I know is that I don’t feel this quite does her justice. The same with Ron. He’s not a major player so he’s skipped over and given a back story that doesn’t quite befit him.
As the original trio were, the kids are typical ignorant teens, mostly self-serving and incredibly stupid. Rose wasn’t really involved much, which worked out fine. Scorpius comes out the more likeable character, which is unusual for a Malfoy. Whilst Draco wasn’t perfect, neither was he evil deep down and he couldn’t help that he was demonized for his family’s choices.
After the initial surprise, I quickly fell into the story that is not the best but I can see how it works better on the stage. There are so many plot holes and skirted statements that it seemed a little rushed – however that could just be from reading it as purely dialogue. A novel fleshes out a story where a script is bare bones. They made it work though, I can’t argue with that.
The main antagonist is obvious extremely early on, which is so disappointing when you’re looking for a novel and not a play script. I was hoping for a little mystery but instead I got the drag Fairy Godmother winking hammily at me while the main characters are staring off into space. I know, I know, this is my issue and not at all a fault with the storyline but still.
The rest of the story is fairly middle of the road, not entirely unexpected as the hints dropped are a slap to the face. Again, written for the stage. I have a feeling that it would be much better performed but unless I’m willing to go to London (no, I most certainly am not), I’ll just have to wait for it to come up North before I can truly comment on that. The concept is great, falling back on a briefly utilised plot idea from back in the day that I personally have always wanted to read more about.
There were two brief and brilliant scenes that got me a tad emotional. I was sat there pouting like, “Girl, you’re 27, stop this now”. I can’t wait for the fiance to read it so we can discuss it like it’s still the 00s and we haven’t had to wait 9 years for a new book.
Despite the above perceived flaws, it was a great read. I obviously couldn’t put it down because I read it all in one go and then stayed up until 3am writing this review before I forgot anything. It was interesting and a different take on the new generation of Potter and Pals. I heavily recommend this to any fellow Potterheads.
All I know for certain is that I can’t wait for the next installment because, J.K. Rowling, there had better be more!