(Bit slow on the up-swing, I know. I read this book as quickly as I could get my hands on a decently-priced copy, but I missed it in reviews. Here it is.)
I am a Potter fan. I mean, who isn’t? It was a whiplash ride from passively observing the mania to, well, becoming manic, but here I am. Read the books repeatedly. Have been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter twice. Movies play on our telly all autumn long. Titles painted on my “book spine” staircase. Etc.
I reviewed Rowling’s attempts at writing after Harry pretty harshly. (See HERE.) Then came the exciting news that she would be sort of returning to the world of Potter, just in the form of a play, which she partnered to do. So scared. I really thought that returning to Potter fantasy was her best bet, but now, would it deliver? And would people read a play? (Of course they would, but would they like it?)
This play was a nice surprise. I have never minded reading plays, as my love for Shakespeare can vouch for. And yet, in a play, it is hard to get the depth you would get in a full-length novel. In a way, The Cursed Child is less deep than Rowling’s novels, but I found it to be a fun and fulfilling way to work with an older Potter and keep the franchise turning. Rowling’s deft touch is here, in this play, as it was in the original series.
Taking place nineteen years after Harry defeated Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (or, more accurately, beginning with the nineteen-years-later scene at the end of said book), Harry is married, middle-aged, father to three, and a working stiff. He has usual middle-aged problems, including relationship issues with his youngest son, Albus. The book is really about Albus, and how he must deal with being Harry Potter’s son and a conflicted teenager. Adventure and magic explode all over the place, and I have no idea how you actually take the larger-than-life scenes (and constant scene changes) and make that work on the stage.
I guess that would be the influence of Rowling’s less-mentioned partners, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne.
It takes a little time to warm up, but warm up it does.
If you are a Potter fan or if you just like reading plays, this is a fun read which does a great job at taking Potter into the grown-up world while still keeping a younger face central.
(I remain bummed that there is no way for Potter fans to actually see the play, either on video or on an extensive American tour.)