Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

By J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, & John Tiffany

19 years after the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry and Ginny (along with Ron and Hermione, and many of their fellow classmates) gather at Kings Cross station to send their children off for the upcoming school year. The younger of Harry’s sons, Albus Severus, expresses concern about the upcoming school year, only hinting at the weight of expectation he carries from both his namesakes’ histories as well as his family legacy. Consumed by unease, he finds comfort in his fast friendship with Scorpius, Draco’s son. As the years go by, Albus continues to find himself coming into conflict with school, peers, teachers, and his parents. Meanwhile, Harry faces his own challenges. Aside from an overwhelming workload, Harry continues to be plagued by a past that relentlessly interferes with his present, straining his relationships with family and friends. As Albus fights to bear his inherited burden, attempting to prove both his own worth as well as preserve the legacy of his family, Harry wrestles with the ghosts of his past and the looming threat of an unpredictable future. With the unwavering support of their friends, Harry and Albus come to realize that the past may never be neatly tucked away, but the messy experiences behind them create opportunities for the future ahead of them.

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is the 8th installment in the Harry Potter world. Written for the stage by the joint efforts of J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, this book is a reprint of the script for the play. In many ways, the script holds true to the characters, relationships, and wizarding world developed throughout the first seven novels. Ron is the quintessential Ron, Hermione lives up to all her expectations, and many other characters grew into adults that retain personality traits from their youth. The script also reinforces the reality of the wizarding universe, similar to some of the commentary in “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” or “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” (for example, by attributing quotes to Ludo Bagman). As a different mode of storytelling, though, the script beautifully portrays interactions that might elude narration in a novel. An entire scene on staircases with no dialogue conveys emotional depths and possibilities, whereas a narrative description of these same interactions might trade poignancy for clumsy or plodding detail. The script retains all the essential elements of the wizarding world, combining adventures with a prolonged look at the internal struggles of living up to expectations for a story about what it means to overcome struggles within a community, and for oneself.

As part of the Harry Potter universe, this book is absolutely phenomenal. OK, it has some corny parts and a few predictable plot lines, but it is still absolutely phenomenal. I love that this story spends more time looking at Harry’s struggle, years later, as “The Boy Who Lived” as well as his son’s difficulties inheriting the family legacy. It grants humanity to Harry and acknowledges that, yes, in fact, he survived immense trauma and encounters personal difficulties as a result of that. The only problem with this book is that it leaves me longing for more. What else does J.K. Rowling have to say about the wizarding world?? There are so many possibilities to elaborate further!

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