‘ALBUS: Slytherin is the house of the snake, of Dark Magic…it’s not a house of brave wizards.
HARRY: Albus Severus, you were named after two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably there bravest man I ever knew.’
I feel like this book is going to be pretty hard for me to review…for one thing it’s a play script, so it doesn’t exactly read the same as a novel. It’s also an extension of a story that is very important to me, and that I grew up with and followed avidly throughout my childhood, so I guess in my eyes nothing will compare to the magic of those original seven books. But I’m going to give it a go anyway!
As you probably all know, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a play written by Jack Thorne, based on a story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Thorne himself. It premiered in the West End on July 30th, and a book of the rehearsal script was released the following day.
The story is set nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts, and follows the youngest child of Harry Potter, Albus, as he heads off to Hogwarts. Unlike his father before him, he struggles to make friends at school, and finds himself struggling to live up to his father’s legacy, whilst Harry himself is finding being a father and an overworked Ministry employee much harder than he had ever envisaged.
I would have absolutely loved to have gone down to London to see this play, as I think it would have brought it to life in a way that simply reading the script couldn’t, and I have heard that it got very good reviews. However, it was interesting to read the script nonetheless, and catch up with some familiar characters years on from the climactic events of The Deathly Hallows.
I wouldn’t exactly count this as ‘The Eighth Story, Nineteen Years Later’, though, as I felt that tonally it was very different to the original Harry Potter books, and I felt like through the dialogue you could really tell that it wasn’t J.K. Rowling herself who wrote the play. I know that the original characters are older, but a lot of what they did just didn’t seem to fit them in some cases, and I found it hard not to think of them as completely new characters to be honest. Take Ron, for example: in the play he is a funny character, just not in the same way as I remember from the books.
The new characters I liked though, particularly Scorpius Malfoy, as he was witty, and openly scared of everything which I thought was refreshing, and his friendship with Albus was genuinely sweet. I also liked his relationship with his father, even if it is quite strained at times, and felt sorry for him over the loss of his mother.
The character of Albus, however, confused me a little. In a lot of cases I couldn’t quite understand his motivations for doing anything other than to annoy his father who he is mad at all the time…for some reason. I get why after one of their confrontations he’s angry with Harry, but before that? I wasn’t quite sure.
I don’t want to give away too much of the plot in case people haven’t read it, but it was pretty fast-paced, which I liked, and was definitely inventive. It did seem a little all over the place at times though, and I felt like it could have been a bit tighter than it was, as despite it’s quick pace it seemed quite meandering.
However, it was definitely interesting to see what the Wizarding World is like when removed from the shadow of Voldemort, and I think that was actually one of the most enjoyable things about reading this for me. I may have had a few minor problems with character and the plot, but I really liked dipping back into that world again, and experiencing it with fresh eyes, as I did when I was a child, and so for me this was definitely worth a read. As I say, I would have absolutely loved to go and see this play, but unfortunately I don’t really have the money at the moment to travel all the way down to London to see it!