Since the end of The Deathly Hallows, Potterheads everywhere have been clamouring for more from the world of Hogwarts & Harry Potter.
Sure, we have Pottermore filling in gaps along the way and Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them is on the way to cinemas but what we really wanted was to be properly immersed in a follow-up to the world we left when we finished that seventh book.
Harry Potter & the Cursed Child was set to be that fix for the addiction that is the world of Harry Potter – “The Eighth Story Nineteen Years Later”. It must be noted however, this is a script from the stage play rather than a full novel.
Harry Potter & the Cursed Child picks up almost to the letter where The Deathly Hallows Epilogue left off. Harry, Ginny Ron & Hermione are at Kings Cross Station ready to see their kids off on Platform 9¾ for yet another year at Hogwarts. It is Albus Serverus Potter’s first year at Hogwarts and he is worried about being sorted into Slytherin among many other things.
From there, we are thrust into a tale of a young boy feeling the burden of struggling to live up to his father’s legacy and getting caught up in a time-travelling tale to change the past but in doing so, changes the course of history and not for the better. All the while, a new enemy with a secret past emerges from the darkness and the wizarding world as we know it is once again plunged into grave danger. Twists, turns, Harry Potter nostalgia and conspiracy are all floating about harder than a Bludger on a Quidditch pitch.
However for this writer, it certainly feels that while we have a new Harry Potter story and sequel to the core series, it feels as if we could have gotten so much more.
Admittedly, there are many magical moments within the script book. Learning of what Harry & co. have been doing since we last left them is interesting, as are weaponised book shelves, the Hogwarts Express Trolley lady and some other aspects. The effects time travelling has on the present day is also brilliant in a “What If?” story kind of way. Sadly, this is where the magic stops.
The main problem with Harry Potter & The Cursed Child is not the screenplay format (though it does not flow the same as a novel) it’s with how it clings to the past and never makes you feel an attachment or love to the characters, including the veterans of the series. Much of the story is caught up with Albus & Harry’s issues (and Scorpius & Draco to a lesser extent) but rather than Albus over coming these issues with Harry and stepping out of his father’s shadow, they argue and it is all just brushed under the Invisibility Cloak. You end up resenting Albus and even Harry at times in how they interact with each other, and not in the love to hate sort of way. Compare this to how Rowling’s seven books made you love even the most detestable of characters it’s a far cry from what we’re used to.
We also love a good kick of nostalgia, however Harry Potter & the Cursed Child harks back to the original seven books so much it feels like there’s no fresh story there. While the premise of the story is a great concept, the reality of it ends up falling a bit flat due to the fact that it does not forge a new path for these new characters. It essentially just plays about with twenty year old history temporarily before setting it right.
All things considered, we would be hard pushed to say that we hated Harry Potter & the Cursed Child and would be lying if we did. It wasn’t a boring read and it was nice to get more Potter story. It also did have one or two very fun moments that certainly fit well in the grand scheme of things. For many this will be the Harry Potter story they have always wanted. However, there is no escaping, even for many long-term Harry Potter fans, this felt more like Tumblr fan fiction than the next instalment in one of the great literary series of all time.
I guess you’ll all just have to give it a read and judge it for yourself….
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a two-part West End stage play written by Jack Thorne based on an original new story by Thorne, J.K. Rowling and John Tiffany. The story is set nineteen years after the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and follows Harry Potter, now a Ministry of Magic employee, and his younger son Albus Severus Potter. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is available in all good book stores now.