Sunday, August 7, 2016

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne

The famous Harry Potter returns dragging audiences back into the wizarding world with a story developed by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne and written into a play by Jack Thorne. The story takes place right after the final scene in the Harry Potter series as Harry and Ginny Potter drop their kids off to board the Hogwarts express and encounter Draco Malfoy. The primary focus of this adventure is Harry's youngest son Albus Severus Potter and Draco's son Scorpius Malfoy. Both young students operate under the weight of their fathers with rumors abound that Scorpius is not Malfoy's offspring but indeed a progeny of the Dark Lord, Voldemort.

The play pulls pieces from every previous book and is set on revisiting the classic tales that charmed so many readers nearly a decade ago, and still woo new readers in the modern day. Harry has grown up and deals with Ministry duties neglecting his son who has trouble in school when in his first year he joins House Slytherin and falls in line with his new best friend Malfoy. Times moves rapidly through the play and is the primary focus of the conflict that ensues throughout the four acts. 

For fans of the books, this story is a great revisiting of the old tales as Rowling seems reluctant to leave her old work behind and chart new territory. Instead, this story roots itself and past events and seems to challenge fans who have spent years debating characters and alternate plotline by dictating that even the slightest change would have dire consequences. The play lacks the mystery and plot twists every present in the books though there is some double-dealing and a shocker near the finale. The script rests primarily in the nostalgia of the old books and the stories that readers have all agreed to love.

The older characters that readers know and the new ones were all intriguing. Scorpius and Albus steal the show with the most stage time but there are also interesting new additions like Delphi Diggory, while classic characters are revived to continue the tale and explore what might have happened had everything been different. There is not much more exploration of the wizarding world with some limiting magical accoutrements due to the format of this being a stage play and not a Hollywood production or the true freedom of a fiction novel.

It has been many years since the last Harry Potter book arrived on my door, unfortunately, by mail and not owl, but I was excited to pick up the latest installment in a serious that I long ago thought ended. This story has a lot to live up to just as the characters within so it is hard not to change it based on the previous work. It's also odd that they went for a time travel story as those have a considerable amount of logic that tangles up plotlines and holes could most likely be pointed out to the more astute observer. However, the magic is still there and will continue on with a movie later this year, so as for now, Harry and his friends live on. 

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