Harry Potter and the Cursed Child — FINALLY! New Harry Potter ….. but is it worth the read?
First, because I don’t want to release any spoilers to those who come just to get a sneak peek, I’ll share some of the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child release party photos at Barnes and Noble.
It started out as something simple and sweet – cosplay, arts and crafts, trivia games and costume contests….
The store was decorated really well! they did a great job of highlighting the store for the party for how large of a space it was. The “Harry and the Purple Crayon” bit was my favorite!
Almost all of the staff dressed up – they were absolutely great.
The Cast of Characters
The special details were great – like a Forbidden Forest full of spiders, candles hanging from the ceiling in the Starbucks and Proclamation Decrees hanging all over — including on the restrooms
And I have a funny story about the restroom. All evening, I kept trying to catch up to the bookseller who was playing Moaning Myrtle to grab a photo. We kept flirting around each other exchanging words as she was being whisked off by another customer with a query. When I went into the first floor girl’s restroom for a necessities break, who did I finally run into? You got it…. Moaning Myrtle. We had a laugh about how ironic that we met there – but I did wait until she was free again later in the evening to take the photo (top left of the character photo above).
You know…reading that now, the mirth has left the story – but it was hilarious that night, I promise!
The Photo Wall was a nice touch, too. You could do these Wanted Poster (yes, we did it all wrong…we weren’t meant to be taking passport photos), and Chocolate Frog collector card photos.
And the last thing we did was get sorted into our Houses. This, of course, was the first thing we were supposed to do, but the line for this was so long the whole night, so we kept waiting and waiting and waiting. We actually were sorted into the correct houses we already knew we belonged to!
(photo coming… )
The crowd was big. Oppressive even. But the cheers went up as the book went on sale. Our store wasn’t as cool as other stores we heard of the next day. We didn’t sing Happy Birthday to Harry and Jo. Some fans we are ….
So now that it’s in my hot little hands … or on my lap when we finally took it out of the bag once we were safely in the car ….
W A R N I N G
S P O I L E R S A H E A D
Really – if you don’t want the story to be spoiled, leave now ….
How about a refreshing Butter Beer?
Don’t say I didn’t warn you 🙂
My review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
First, in case you didn’t know, this is the script of the current Palace Theater production in London going on now. It was an idea of Jo’s put into a play. The book is done in that format, not in the prose you’re so used to reading.
We meet Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny, Draco and their families, 19 years later. Harry and Hermione are working for the Ministry, Ron is in the family business, and Ginny is the Sports Editor for the Daily Prophet. We’re on the platform waiting for a new school year.
Then the adventure takes us with Rose (daughter of Hermione and Ron), Albus Severus (son of Harry and Ginny) and Scorpius (son of Draco). Living under the shadow of famous parents with big dreams for their kids is hard. Expectations of who you are to become are mixed with what you really are. Assumptions made by other people because of your parents is also very hard, and we see how the three children grow from that burden they were born with. Rumors surround them, and as we all know, rumors have a nasty way of coming back to bite us.
And the big one … is Scorpius really Voldemort’s son? He can’t be… he has a nose!
While the three children are off getting sorted into their schools, developing strong bonds, and integrating into the wizarding life, the adults grapple with hints that things are on the move again. Giants are leaving, the werewolves have gone underground, and Harry is having pain in his scar again.
H a a r r r r y y y y P o t t t t t t e e e r r r r r r r r
When a parent tries so hard to give you the kind of life they never had, and you try so hard to break free to become your own person, it’s hard to see past the dreams and anguish to make good choices, for both sides. Parents love so hard, but don’t understand the burdens they put on kids; kids want their own way, but don’t understand the sacrifices made by their parents to help make that way easier.
An old friend comes to make a request of Harry, who simply can’t do what Amos Diggory wants, and Albus is listening in the whole time.
When you find that your father lies, and you assume he’s been lying about everything else, all along, it’s time to take matters into your own hands and prove that you are better than him, that your way is best, common sense be damned.
Some honest feedback about the Cursed Child
At this point, I’m going to suggest that you read the rest of the book like some elaborate fan fiction. It’s hard to put a voice into a play that you’ve heard in your head for so long. And the mechanism to make action happen on the stage are just different from a novel.
The relationship between fathers and sons is not the only character driving the story in the play. Amos Diggory is sure that bringing Cedric back will end his grief after all these years. He’s certain Harry Potter can help fix it, but when Harry refuses, Albus decides to take matters into his own hands. We then meet a new character, Delphi Diggory, who befriends Albus and Scorpius when they scheme to help Amos change time to rescue Cedric from Voldemort’s death sentence.
Introducing a new Harry Potter Character
Delphi is a witch who has never attended a wizarding school, instead she was raised by guardians who kept her while she was unwell throughout her childhood. She plays a perfect part as mentor to the boys while still staying just aloof enough to be mysterious. She helps them develop the plan to get the last remaining Time Turner and go back to rescue Cedric …. with disastrous results.
If you are a fan of Star Wars, I’m going to insert a Kylo Ren reference here.
Do you remember the yearning for Harry to connect with his parents …. imagine if that search took a dark side.
My reaction to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
It’s wonderful to see old friends come back to visit. Some are wonderful, some are dreadful. Some get to have that last bit of their story told that we all really wanted to hear before the stories ended. It was also great to see relationships mended, bigger stories told, and just getting one last shot at revisiting favorites.
What is a little harder for me is seeing beloved characters with even bigger flaws or who have a complete change of personality. Though, I will have to admit, just like in the series, even flawed characters can rise to the occasion when necessary. This plays into the story device of time and how it turns and what happens when you mess with the course of events.
As I’m writing this a few days later, I don’t dislike The Cursed Child quite as much. I know the flaw of not being able to make the leap from novel to script format is in me, I just think it was the wrong device to deliver the story in. However, I do understand what it would’ve taken for Jo to make this into a novelization of the play as opposed to having someone else just put her story into this format. It hasn’t changed how I feel about the original series — I’ve just decided to look at it as a great piece of fan fiction and that makes things better.
The things I loved about the Cursed Child
- Scorpius – the child we knew Draco could have become if only
- McGonagall – the sassy woman is back and just as great . She made me smile.
- Snape – I can’t say that I didn’t know he was going to appear in the book. I looked at the cast of characters (which is at the back of the book for a reason) so that I could do a few Instagram shots before reading the book, to make sure that I didn’t show any spoilers in those initial photos. But I still gasped a little; I still hoped a lot; I still read it in Alan’s voice as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
- Ron and Hermione really didn’t divorce (Jo has spoken before that she thought that they might have)
- The feels.
- Yay, more Harry Potter, but…
Things I didn’t love about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
- There are no more horcruxes, thus how could Harry’s scar have hurt and understood Parsel tongue again. We finally attributed this to something like a disturbance in the force that he was sensitive to.
- The characters were all so flat. This is an issue with it being a stage play and action driven more than word driven as in a novel. This is an issue with me wanting it to be another Harry Potter book. This is probably more an issue of me than the book.
- The book. I know…shoot me. Plenty of people have embraced the book and love that we’re back at Hogwarts and back in Jo’s world. I just had a hard time getting myself there. The play felt forced, it felt like they were trying too hard, and it felt a little unbelievable.
My husband and my son feel pretty much the same way. We’ve read the book separately and didn’t talk to each other about it until we’d finished. But it’s interesting how we had the same kind of reactions through the book. We dislike the same characters for the same reasons, we wanted to throw down the book at the same points, we had the same issues with plot devices, we all wanted it to be just like it was before…..which it can never be again.
Now I wish I could see it on stage, instead. I do hope, after the run is almost done, that they broadcast the play in theaters, record it for release or do something to allow the rest of the world to see the play, instead of only the few who can get to England to watch it. I can’t even imagine the theatrics needed to make the switches in time happen, or even some of action. It must be awesome in person.
All in all, I think this is an issue of do you love it because it’s more Harry Potter or do you dislike it because it’s just not the same. Which camp do you fall into?
Because I’ve been asked:
- The Hedwig the Owl mug came from Universal Studios – it was my splurge trinket from our trip last year.
- The Wand is part of a pen/bookmark set that I got at B&N
- The Harry Funko figure is a Pocket Pop! key chain that I removed the chain from.