The Harry Potter series was and is very close to my heart. I have read the 7 books around 40 times already. I cried when I went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios two years back. I ordered this book in April. The wait for this book to release was filled with equal parts excitement and trepidation. Excitement because JKR OMG I CAN’T EVEN. Trepidation because this was the script for a play. I knew that the play would definitely be better. I’ve had a little experience with reading plays, so the medium of narration wouldn’t be a problem. I was worried the play just wouldn’t measure up to what we expected from the eight story of the wizarding world.
It is with a heavy heart that I say that my worries weren’t quelled on reading the book.
The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.
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.
Let me make one thing very clear. This is a review of the rehearsal edition script. I believe that this script translated onstage would be simply brilliant. The play has some exceptional actors and it should be simply first class to watch the magic unfold onstage.
The book on the other hand…
Characterization, which is usually handled in a sterling manner by J.K.R., was half and half for me. It was neither too bad, nor all that great. Then again, this being a play’s script wouldn’t bring to light our beloved characters the way we want. Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy were absolutely brilliant. The reader can’t help but fall in love with Scorpius, he was just written that well. Our old characters from the books didn’t do it for me. The way these characters were written seemed like distant echoes of their glorious pasts. The reason being us reading about them as dialogues rather than blocks of text. I’m going to wait to see if I ever get to watch the play and make a final judgement on the characters. But one thing I’m very sure of: Rowling would never make a mistake in casting. Something tells me seeing the script unfold onstage would set right anything we find off in the characters.
The writing style is great. The tone of each character is different from the other. There’s no dry, “he said, she said” nature to the script. It maybe in the form of a script, but the voice of each individual is definitely unique.
The book is divided into two parts. Part 1 is very fast-paced. Towards the end of part 1 is where I started hoping the play wasn’t going where it sure felt like it was headed. Part 2 established that and it all went downhill from there for me. The plot just wasn’t Harry Potter level. It was Harry Potter fan fiction level. I’m sure somewhere in the dark corners of the Internet, you can find fan fiction a little similar to the plot in this book. I found that very disappointing. It is for this alone that I’m deducting points from the rating.
If you haven’t read the book yet or on your way through it, this is my advice to you. Make a conscious effort to remember that this is the script of a play. If you find something unbelievable, imagine watching it transpire on a stage. This will mostly resolve any disbelief that may arise. If you are new to reading plays, you’ll get accustomed to it at least 30 pages in. Reading it as a play is going to be weird. Do you think we would have liked it if Deathly Hallows alone had been made a play? Watching it would be fine but reading about it would still have been different from the experience we had with that wonderful book. The plot may not be all that great but there are some good parts to the book. Nostalgia is at the forefront. And that is why everyone should read this book.
The plot dashed all my hopes of this being another masterpiece from Rowling. For me, this play doesn’t get the right to be called the eighth story. I’d rather call this Rita Skeeter article that.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
I’m going to re-read the series now and think of the better days. Leave a comment if you felt the same on reading the book too.