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Harry Potter and the
JK Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
Review by Jarad Johnson
Based on an original new story by JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play premiered worldwide on July 30th, 2016.
Eighteen years after the death of Voldemort and the end of the Great Wizarding War, Harry Potter, now married and a father of three school-age children, is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, along with some of his fWhile he grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy that he doesn’t want and doesn’t feel that he lives up to.
This was an interesting read, to say the least. As a nearly lifelong Harry Potter fan, I was caught off guard at the prospect of continuing the series, after I thought that it had reached its conclusion. And, like many people, I was relatively nervous about re-entering a world that I had loved so as a child. I guessed that it wouldn’t be on par with the original seven books, and unfortunately I think I might have been correct. It’s geared towards middle-grade students, much like the first three books of the series. And it was pleasant to revisit old friends. It was an enjoyable read, but it felt odd. Seeing Harry and the rest of the original characters as adults was disconcerting. On one hand, it was awesome returning to that world, and on the other there was a disconnect that’s difficult to articulate.
I think that it was difficult to fully return to the world because there could have been more substance in the book. It was written as a screenplay, and that took away from the overall reading experience. As a novel, I think that there could have been at least 50-100 pages added, because there was no detail. Not to say that there was no depth, but almost everything that made the other books great is lacking in this installment. As a screenplay, the writing does not reflect the story in the kind of intricate detail that made the original stories so compelling.
However, in this book, an avid reader will uncover more of the history of Harry Potter’s world. For example, Voldemort had a secret daughter. And we get to see how Harry deals with his child being sorted into Slytherin; and trying to differentiate himself from Harry. Unlike Harry, Albus does not relish his time at Hogwarts, and spends time with his one friend named Scorpious, who is the son of Draco Malfoy, Hurry’s longtime rival. But, like, Harry, Albus eventually embarks on his own quest, going back in time to save Cedric Diggory, who was killed by Voldemort. In doing so, he changes the future several times, making Ron fall in love with someone other than Hermione, and even changing who won the Wizarding Wars. Oh yes, we got to see what would have happened if Voldemort had defeated Dumbledore’s Army. So the suspense is triggered not only by what will happen to a new generation of Hogwart’s students, but by whether or not the magical world readers have come to know and love will hold together.
I loved revisiting those familiar characters, older and wiser, along with some new, interesting characters. I really loved how time turners played a key role in this book. We only saw these used briefly in the Prisoner of Azkaban, and it was nice to see elements from the older books incorporated into this novel. Overall, I did enjoy the story and the plot, but I felt that the story suffered from its format.
Jarad attends Middle Tennessee State University, loves tea, and tries to spend every spare second reading. Jarad is majoring in English. Bless his heart! Let's all light a candle for him and send him happy thoughts!