Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, 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 will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
VAGUELY SPOILERY SPOILERS AHEAD
I think if I was new to the world of Harry Potter, I would have rated this lower, but as I am such a fan of the series, my rating is more for enjoyment and nostalgia than anything else. Let’s be honest, I felt like a lot of this was pure fan service. The next generation, seeing what our old favourites are up to, the threat of Voldy coming back to haunt the wizarding world, old enemies forced to work together…
I have to admit, I wasn’t that excited about the news of the new book and the forthcoming Fantastic Beasts movie. I had my closure when the series ended, and felt everything that needed to be said had been done so. But despite my lack of enthusiasm, I found myself trundling to the book store come Sunday 31 July, and finished my copy of the book that very day.
I think we lose a lot with the script format, for obvious reasons – you have to try deduce everything from the dialogue, which can leave a lot of emotional development lacking. The book also relies heavily on knowledge from the fourth book – so again, if I was a stranger watching the play for the first time, I’d be completely lost.
But enough of my complaints. After all, I rated this 3.5 stars, did I not? For me, two aspects really stood out: firstly, the character of Scorpius, who is an absolutely dork and an awkward sweetheart who brings moments of comedic delight as well as those of heartbreak. I was less impressed with the unfortunately named Albus, who is fairly self-centered and gives no thought to the consequences of his actions, which is incredibly frustrating to witness.
I also though the father-son issues were intriguing, particularly in the parallels between Scorpius/Draco and Albus/Harry. I mean, it has to suck growing up as the kid of a famous, or infamous parent, and in the Cursed Child, there are daddy issues galore.
But that revelation of that child’s parentage? As another reviewer said, it’s just completely out of character for what we know of the father, who didn’t seem the type to lower themselves to such a human, bodily act. And it felt like a cheap plot point, to be honest.
So yes, I’m about to utter something sacrilegious here, but while I enjoyed the book/play, I could also have done without it. I think for me, at least, the magic is over.