August Reads: HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

MY TIME HAS FINALLY COME.

If you haven’t yet realized I am a Harry Potter mega-nerd, you’re about to figure it out. I’m obsessed with Harry Potter. The books were part of what first got me into writing. I love the entire universe. I’ve been to Universal Studios twice. I have a wand. I have a fake Time Turner. I’m literally that girl.

AND I AM SO FREAKING EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK REVIEW.

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.

(Goodreads)

I’ve gotta say, reading this book was one heck of a ride.

(spoilers below)

The beginning was… well, frankly, I was on a Harry Potter high. Everything was an exciting mix new and old, and the story was wonderfully familiar. Then there was… the rest of it.

From maybe the second scene, things started to get weird. It’s not that it wasn’t a good story—a compelling story—it’s just after all this time (Harry Potter reference unintended), I developed my own pre-conceived notions of what would happen. Albus would be in Gryffindor. He would meet Scorpius on the train and he, Scorpius and Rose would become the best of friends (the next Golden Trio, even). Though Albus would struggle with his dad’s legacy and the popularity that came with it, his family would keep him grounded. But Albus was in Slytherin. People didn’t like him. Scorpius was his only friend, and Rose hated Scorpius. He couldn’t play Quidditch, and wasn’t very good at spells. He resented his father, and stopped being friends with Rose because she didn’t like Scorpius. He was, essentially, the polar opposite of everything I ever imagined him to be.

And all of this is my fault; I understand this. I put all my headcanons into a book and expected them to come true. And when that didn’t happen, I got disappointed. But even though I knew all of this, knew I was sabotaging myself, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong.

And to be honest, I wasn’t even sure if I liked it until the very end.

That said, though, I did like it. Some of the decisions were a little questionable—especially the whole Time Turner thing. Like, what? Also, Lord Voldyshorts has a daughter???—but it was a great coming-of-age story of someone learning who he is. Albus grew from a moody, emo teenage wizard into someone who could accept the lot he was given, who could maybe (just maybe) learn to forgive and be happy.

So yeah, there were a lot of things I didn’t like. I wish Al had been happier, even though I realize him being happy wouldn’t make for as good a story. I wish James had more of a role. I wish we’d caught a glimpse of Teddy and Victoire. But there were also a lot of things I did like. Scorpius’ awkward, adorable nerdiness (and his crush on Rose). Harry and Ginny’s relationship. Hermione being Minister for Magic. Draco’s reluctant alliance with the Weasley-Potters. Snape’s heroic comeback. The final scene between Harry and Albus.

My advice for anyone else who wants to read it is to keep an open mind. Remember: J. K. Rowling did not write the screenplay. She had input, but she was not the main writer. It’s not going to be the same Harry Potter. It’s going to be different. It’s going to be weird. It might not jive with you at first.

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To read July’s book recommendation, click here!

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