Thursday, August 4, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

I had to.

While I didn't get in line at midnight to get my hands on a copy of the eight Harry Potter book, I did pick one up the first day it was out. I have read (and own) a copy of all the other books and simply couldn't pass up adding this one to my collection.

The first thing readers need to understand is that this is not another Harry Potter novel. It is a rehearsal script for the play which opened in London on Harry's birthday, July 31 (the traditional launch day for all things Potter.) As an English major who enjoys Shakespeare and Ibsen (among other playwrights), I thoroughly enjoyed the chance to read a script. But this format may be a challenge for some readers, especially those not used to reading dialogue with a few stage instructions interspersed.

After reading it I went on-line to check out what others were saying about it. If you are the type of Harry Potter fan who disliked the Epilogue of the final book, I suspect you are going to be among those readers who object to this story. Many suggest that it reads like a piece of fan fiction. I can totally understand this. Although J. K. Rowling is listed among the collaborators on the piece, it is clearly heavily influenced by other writers and does not measure up to the same caliber of writing as her novels.

As a reader who was satisfied with the Epilogue I must say that, although I was sad to say good-bye to characters, it felt like a good ending to the story. In that spirit, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was a disappointment. I didn't need to be exposed to the foibles and shortcomings of Harry and the gang as 40-year-old parents. It lead me to wonder about the fact that for me, Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione, and Draco still functioned as the main characters while perhaps for younger readers/watchers it might be their offspring--Albus and Scorpius--who serve as the main protagonists. That idea makes the whole thing seem muddled and unclear to me.

I found it to be a quick read, so I don't feel bad about the time I spent reading it. If the play is ever made into a film, I am sure that I will see it. I would be curious to know how some of the staging is pulled off and will, no doubt, read reviews of the play. I wonder if this production will become something used in theater classes? With Harry Potter being such a world-wide phenomenon, I can see this play being a production that could serve that purpose well. In the meantime, I can't wait to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them!

From the Publisher . . .

"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."

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