Book Review: The Cursed Child is leaving Harry Potter fans turning (time) with delight

by Elizabeth Anderson, Reporter

It’s been over nine years since J.K. Rowling’s (@jk_rowling) supposed finale to the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and more than five since the last movie came out, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two. Since then, avid fans have had to resort to re-reading the series, over and over and over again (not that Harry Potter could ever get old, of course).

When the news broke that screenwriters Jack Thorne (@jackthorne) and John Tiffany were partnering with Rowling to create a new book, a screenplay, the Harry Potter community went wild. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was suddenly all anyone could talk about, and it was hard to stay patient as July 31st approached, when the book would be released to the public. Appropriately, this was also the date of Harry Potter’s 36th birthday.

With more than two million copies sold in the first two days after publication, Harry Potter fans definitely aren’t empty-handed, but like others, I would have a more satisfied reader if they had published the play in novel form.

As a devotee myself, I can agree that perhaps it didn’t quite live up to the expectations set by my love for the original series, but how can I expect it to be the same when it wasn’t even written by Rowling?

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child follows the schooling of the next Harry Potter generation, mostly focusing on middle child Albus Potter (son of Harry and Ginny) as he struggles to find his place in the family and at Hogwarts. With the aid of Scorpius Malfoy, a mysterious girl named Delphi, and a Time-Turner, Albus sets out on an adventure to right a wrong, altering his, and many others’ fates.

All in all, it was a predictable novel, but the content is definitely suitable for an entertaining play. If I could travel to London, I’d absolutely want to make a stop to see the theatrical production, first performed at the Palace Theatre in London, Great Britain, which opened the same day the book was released.

Critics are giving the play a thumbs-up, with some reviews reflecting a four and five-star rating, such as that of British newspapers The Telegraph and The Guardian. Said Ben Brantley of the New York Times, “[The play creates] a kind of magic that is purely theatrical yet somehow channels the addictive narrative grip of Ms. Rowling’s prose.”

If I had to choose one favorite character, it would probably be Scorpius, Albus’ closest friend as well as Draco Malfoy’s son. Scorpius isn’t just a sidekick; he shows his own development throughout the book as he deals with challenges such as his own frequent question of identity and the recent death of his mother. He tries to help Albus see that perhaps Harry isn’t a villain. I only wish Scorpius had taken the spotlight more often, a wish that I also hold for Rose Granger-Weasley, daughter of–you guessed it–Ron and Hermione. I guess that’s room for a sequel.

Most of the characters in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child are very unique, and yet they are very similar in the sense that each has ambitions and mindset to propel them forward in their development, which is clearly defined throughout the book. Unfortunately, the adult images of the original Harry Potter characters do not change, fading into a dull background of predictable careers and exaggerated personalities.

Harry Potter devotee and teacher Natalie Rebetsky, says she was happy with of the book. “For someone who gobbled up each HP book as it was released and who shared the magic of them with my sons, I was first in line to buy Cursed Child,” said Rebetsky. “I read it in under three hours with the same enthusiasm as years ago.”

She said how wonderful the book was in re-visiting past events like the Tri-Wizard Tournament, as well as “old friends” such as Moaning Myrtle, one of Hogwarts’ signature ghosts in the original Harry Potter series.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a fantastic book, if you aren’t too critical. Rowling may not have written it, but it can certainly stand on its own without her. It’s definitely some great fan fiction, and a spectacular lead-up to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a ninth Harry Potter movie that will premiere November 18.

You can check out a copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child from the media center, or purchase it on Amazon as a printed version for $17.98 or as an e-book for $14.99. This book can also be found at Barnes and Noble, as well as the public library.