Aug 4, 2016

Thoughts on Harry Potter And The Cursed Child

I read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child yesterday (it's a short book). J.K. Rowling's return to the Harry Potter universe violated her own vow to not drag Harry back into her stories, but fans received the book with a great deal of excitement and anticipation. Given the hype, it was maybe somewhat inevitable that they would be disappointed.

First off, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child isn't a book at all; it's the script for a play. I had heard that coming in, but I didn't fully internalize it. It took a while to get used to the format and it took a lot of conscious effort to forgive the medium for not being a novel. But--unlike other readers, including my wife--I did manage to clear that mental hurdle and ended up enjoying the story quite a bit. The engaging writing style, in-depth character development, and rich world building that Rowling's original series were known for can't shine through in a play script and I have to be honest in acknowledging that I missed them. Those elements are what made Harry Potter. Still, it was a good book in its own right.

At its core, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was about confronting the humanness of those that you idolize. In some ways, that's also translated through the book itself: childhood fans of the Harry Potter series forgot the flaws of the original books and were bound to be disappointed with the reality of Book 8. The perfect example within the story is the fans decrying Rowling for painting Harry as a "bad" father. It's fairly clear to me that (1) those people have never been parents and (2) they forgot what a giant twat Harry was for hundreds of pages through books 5-7. Did the story have weaknesses? Yes, definitely. I don't give a flying fig what Rowling says, it is not canon that Moaning Myrtle's real name is Myrtle Elizabeth Warren.

In short: good story, engaging read, solid dose of nostalgia, and a burgeoned desire to fly to London to see the play acted out.