Blurb from Amazon:
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, 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 30th July 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.
I know I’m kind of late to the ‘let’s-review-The-Cursed-Child’ bandwagon, but as the brand new play, set in Harry Potter’s ‘Wizarding World’ is still a HUGE topic, I thought it would be better late than never. Please also be aware that, YES, this review does contain SOME spoilers! Ok, with that out of the way, let’s begin. The play is set nineteen years later, as Harry Potter’s youngest son, Albus (yes, after THAT Albus,) heads off to Hogwarts for the first time. It’s pretty much assumed that he will be sorted into Gryffindor just like Harry, Ginny, every other single Weasley, and Albus’s older brother, James. (Or as he is known in fan fiction, James Sirius.) On the way to Hogwarts, however, young Albus already begins to confound the reader’s expectations: he is clever but solitary, nervous and rather shy instead of bold and daring like other Gryffindors. He also makes friends with none other than Scorpius Malfoy, Draco Malfoy’s only son, who may look like a Draco mini-me, but is actually far sweeter, far more sensitive, and a master of one-liner jokes. Their friendship blooms in intensity, especially as other students shun Scorpius for (SPOILER) supposedly being Voldemort’s son, and even when (SPOILER) Albus gets sorted into Slytherin.
For an older, more careworn Harry too, life is not necessarily easy. Instead of becoming an Auror, he’s been drafted into the Ministry of Magic. He also finds it hard to connect with his Slytherin son, and is hounded by Cedric Diggory’s father, who has been embittered and eroded by grief, and who holds Harry accountable for Cedric’s fate. (SPOILER) Into all of this is thrown a Time Turner, and Albus sees it as an opportunity to bring back Cedric from the grave and somehow right his father’s wrongs, perhaps also winning his father’s attention in the process. However, even with Scorpius’s help, his plan starts to go very, very wrong…
So that’s pretty much the plot (although I haven’t given TOO much away, believe me.) I know the play format has been controversial, and I have to admit probably not without good reason- I felt it could have been even better as a solid novel, with more complex and detailed descriptions of Harry’s home life and Albus’s school life, instead of just stage directions. Sometimes I missed hearing Harry’s inner monologue as he faced his (oh so many) challenges.
There has been a lot of controversy and divided opinion over whether the play is heteronormative and ‘queerbaiting’, in the fact that it (SPOILER) hints that Albus and Scorpius could be more than good friends, but doesn’t make it explicit. I for one am firmly #TeamScorbus- obviously- and believe that Rowling could have pushed the play just a bit more, and suggested that they truly were a couple. They’re so good together! Goddammit, I ship them sooo much I’m just going to ignore all the people saying that they are straight, and just believe they are a couple. THEY ARE A COUPLE! I STILL SHIP THEM!! #SCORBUS IS REAL!! (*And breathe.*)
I also wanted to know moreabout what had happened to the other Weasley brothers, and it would have been good to see/hear mentions of characters such as Dean Thomas, Lee Jordan, Seamus Finnegan, Angelina Johnson, Luna Lovegood and even some of the other more minor Professors. What are they doing now, for instance? What are their lives like now Voldemort is gone and they’ve left Hogwarts? This might not have been suitable for a play, but it would be wonderful in a novel. However, I AM going to see the play next year (hurrah!) and aim to do a review of it afterwards, so I reserve judgment until then. (I’m soooo excited to see it!) Reading the play, even as a play, was still a joy.
Highly emotive in many moments (I was tearing up at some points,) intense and action packed in others, I would recommend this play to anyone. I had to pace myself whilst reading it because it just brought up so many emotions and wonderful memories, and I loved all the references to the original books. It is also packed with humour and spectacles (no, not the glasses kind, the ‘wow, that must look AMAZING on stage,’ ‘ooh, wow, fireworks’ kind.) This has only whetted my appetite for the Pottermore ebooks that have just come out, as well as the gorgeous-looking ‘Fantastic Beasts’ film. YES to Harry Potter, and YES to more magic!
#TheMagicLivesOn (and, if you’re anything like me, #OnandOnandOn…)
Overall rating: 9 out of 10- highly recommended! (I’ve taken off a point simply because I feel it would have been excellent as a book, and I feel as though the hugely talented J.K Rowling could easily have done both. ALSO- MAKE #SCORBUS A REAL COUPLE, DAMMIT!!)
This Book in Four Words: Funny. Emotional. Wonderfully Gay.
Read if you enjoyed: ‘The Harry Potter’ series of course! 😀
Suggestions for Further Reading: ‘Tales of Beedle the Bard’ by J.K. Rowling
Image credits: No 1. image: from dro0216, no. 2 image from winters-shield, no.3 image and no. 4 image both from drarry-notdramione, no.5 image from thatgrangerisdangerous, all on Tumblr.