Unless you’ve been living under a rock you will be aware that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the script for the play of the same name, was released this weekend.
Firstly I have to say that I loved that the release was set for 31st July, Harry’s birthday, although a bet a lot of delivery men/women were probably not massively happy that they had to work on a Sunday to keep all up Potter fans happy! I happened to be in London yesterday and so didn’t actually get my book in my hands until 8.30pm, and which point I was not letting go of it until I finished it!
A prior warning, this review contains no spoilers. I have not included any information about the plot and mostly talk about how our characters and the wizarding world has changed int eh 19 years since the previous book. The only characters that I have made reference to are those that we, the public, have already been informed are in the play. I have included some quotes from the book, but have removed the character names from those that I think knowing who has said it would spoil it for you.
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.
So, first question. How do I write a review without telling you the things that make this book amazing. The answer… with difficulty!
“Hogwarts is a big place.”
“Big. Wonderful. Full of food. I’d give anything to be going back.”
We begin this story where the last book ended with Harry, Ron and Hermione waving off their children at platform 9 and 3/4. Going back to Hogwarts was simply magical and saw the return of some of our favourite characters of the series, including The Sorting Hat (with new songs!!!). Hogwarts is the same but different, still full of magic but seen through the eyes of a child who doesn’t find the same joy in it that Harry did.
HARRY: Do you want a hand? Packing. I always loved packing. It meant I was leaving Privet Drive and going back to Hogwarts. Which was . . . well, I know you don’t love it but . . .
ALBUS: For you, it’s the greatest place on earth. I know.
The book focus’ a lot on the father/son relationship of Harry and Albus, which at times was a strained one. The pressures of being Harry Potter’s son and living up the legacy he had been born into was a hard one for Albus to deal with and we could do nothing but read on as it ship away at their relationship more and more. The two give us some very raw and emotional scenes and I am sure that those of us who are lucky enough to see the play on stage will be feeling a whole lot of emotion during them.
ALBUS: Really scared you?
ALBUS: I thought Harry Potter wasn’t afraid of anything?
HARRY: Is that how I make you feel?
The adult Harry that we get in this book is very different from the younger version we are used to. I felt like younger Harry (whose life was in peril the majority of the time) was less troubled than grown up Harry, who struggles with the general adult stresses of work and family life. I worry that the young and new Harry Potter generation wont be able to connect with this Harry in the way that us, now adults, who have have grown up with him can whilst being able to identify with his adult challenges.
“It’s tough to live with people stuck in the past, isn’t it?”
I really liked where our trio were at in this book though. Hermione still showing how bad ass female and muggle born witches can be, and still very much taking control of any situation her and the boys seem to get themselves into. Ron, even more full of jokes and with the biggest heart. And Harry still taking the responsibility of the fate of the wizarding world on his shoulders and allowing himself to feel guilt for any consequence of Voldemort’s life and actions.
“Hermione Granger, I’m being bossed around by Hermione Granger.”
Draco and his son Scorpius were also very prominent characters in this book and their development as both individual characters but also as a father/son relationship was just as interesting to read about as Albus and Harry’s. Seeing how fiercely Draco loved his son made my heart crack, if but a little bit, for him and I feel that some opinions of Draco may change through this book.
DRACO: . . . it is exceptionally lonely, being Draco Malfoy. I will always be suspected. There is no escaping the past.
I really had no idea where this story was going to go. I had no clue who the “cursed child” was going to end up being and found myself changing my mind every two minutes. The plot of the book allows us and the characters the chance to relive moments and memories of the previous books, and I loved reminiscing but also seeing the emotion that it brought out in our now adult characters looking back on their child including some of the more emotional as well as some of the more emotional and I was very happy to say that I felt every once of this emotion, even though I was reading it as a script.
Harry, there is never a perfect answer in this messy, emotional world. Perfection is beyond the reach of humankind, beyond the reach of magic. In every shining moment of happiness is that drop of poison: the knowledge that pain will come again. Be honest to those you love, show your pain. To suffer is as human as to breathe.