There I was on July 31, standing outside the book store, rushing in to get “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” While it occurs twenty years after the seventh book (it actually starts at the epilogue) and it’s not a novel but a play, I was ecstatic to finally be reading a new Harry Potter story. So there I was, first in line (it actually kind of was serendipitous…I didn’t camp out or anything, I just showed up expecting loads of other people in line and no one was there), ready to make my purchase, my inner child was squealing. It felt like I traveled through time back to when the books were being released. I then raced home and opened my copy, savoring the moment, wondering if this truly would be the last time I’d read a Harry Potter story for the first time.
I haven’t finished “Cursed Child” – I just started the fourth act, I’m savoring it- but so far you can tell J.K. Rowling didn’t write the play completely by herself. Apparently she helped come up with the idea, but it was really written by Jack Thorne, but it feels a little like a bad fanfic. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not terrible – any Harry Potter is better than none – and it grabs my attention and it’s very fun/easy to ready, it’s just not the usual J.K. Rowling I’d expect. I mean, in her seven novels, J.K. Rowling thought everything through. For instance, I read an article once about how Professor Trelawney in HP3 says that if thirteen dine together, the first to rise is the first to die. Then in later books, there are dinners where thirteen people dine together and the first person to rise was the first to die (Sirius, Dumbledore, and Lupin). I haven’t actually gone through and checked to see if this is true, but it’s something J.K. Rowling would do: she puts so much minor detail and attention in it, that every time you read it you get something different out of it. However, “Cursed Child” seems to lack this continuity.
Not to give anything away, but, for instance, in “Cursed Child” everyone refers to Voldemort as Voldemort. Everyone. Not just Harry, Ron, and Hermione. All the people who, in the books, were too afraid to use his name all of a sudden could use it. Yes twenty years have past, but in the books twenty years past after Voldemort first vanished after killing Harry’s parents and they still called him “You-Know-Who.” What’s more, everyone refers to Malfoy as “Draco” (his first name). It’s so bizarre. For seven books he was “Malfoy,” and then all of a sudden he’s “Draco.” There are just moments where I sit back and scratch my head and think, “This isn’t right.”
I will say, though, that I thought reading the play would curb my desire to rush off to London to see the play. It, however, probably did the opposite: so much action and magic happens in the play, I’m so curious how they perform it on stage. I mean, to see it performed would be awesome…I hope they film it for those of us who can’t make it to London.
Anyway, I don’t write this to dissuade anyone from reading “Cursed Child.” It’s great to be back in the wizarding world and checking up on our old friends, but be prepared for it to be different. Let’s hope, though, that this inspires J.K. Rowling (and only J.K. Rowling) to write more Harry Potter books!