*** This post was originally published on November 13, 2016 at Erynn Loves Books’ first home, gobbleupbooks.wordpress.com ***
When Harry Potter and the Cursed Child came out, my brother was the type of Potterhead who went out at midnight to get his copy. Actually, I don’t know if that is true since my brother is currently living in Florida but I assume he either pre-ordered or picked it up at midnight. His childhood bedroom in my parents’ house is still a Potterhead’s paradise. Three of the walls are a dark red and the fourth is a pretty yellow gold – my brother is a Gryffindor through and through. The lightplate looks like antique wood and says lumos in script (he DIY’ed it). It’s honestly pretty neat though I’d never tell him that. Oh, sibling love.
I, on the other hand, am a quieter Potterhead. My Ravenclaw lanyard and over-the-knee socks are probably the only indication in my life that I’m even a fan. I unfortunately don’t own the books yet as my brother and I split up our shared library a few years ago and he won the entire Harry Potter collection. It seems fair now that he works in Diagon Alley; he’s earned them.
My reaction to the script book release was mild excitement. I tend to only buy books on sale or books I love enough to add to my collection, and since I was pretty sure I wouldn’t love Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I didn’t want to buy it. I knew Cullen (my brother) would be buying a copy and counted on borrowing it.
Last Friday my mom finally passed it on after finishing it herself. I’ve already returned the book as we are lending it to my aunt, so I will not be doing a full book/script review. I did, however, want to blog about my experience with the script book.
The reactions to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child have been mixed, but many have found the script book to be less than desired. I, on the other hand, had a positive experience and truly enjoyed the read. Although I’m not generally a fan of reading scripts, the familiar world and characters drew me in almost immediately. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a quick read – I finished it the same night I started, staying up until 2 AM because I couldn’t put it down.
I loved the alternate futures that were presented as a result of the time travel. I loved re-engaging with familiar characters and getting acquainted with new ones. And I love Severus Snape! The sacrifices that various characters made, to the point of even dying for their cause, were touching and reminiscent of the efforts made by Dumbledore’s Army, the Hogwarts students and their various allies during the Battle of Hogwarts. Reading this script was a nostalgic experience for me, as Harry Potter has been a part of my life since the second grade. Reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was like catching up with old friends for coffee after years of being apart.
Although Harry himself was not a particularly lovable character in this story, I don’t see this as an issue. Harry, though a wizard, is also human and giving him such a flaw helps to remind the reader of that fact. I think that this could easily have been a purposeful move by J.K. Rowling (or Jack Thorne or John Tiffany, co-authors of the script). Harry has been increasingly idolized for over a decade now, both in the wizarding world created by Rowling and in real life. Perhaps portraying Harry as a less than perfect father is an attempt to paint him as a more realistic character. Personally I liked this conception of Harry as a parent. I didn’t read him as being a bad father but instead as a father struggling to connect with his son. If you want to get psychological with it, Harry never had a father growing up nor a steady father figure. The fact that he has connection issues with one of his sons is perhaps not the most surprising. (Some argue that Dumbledore is Harry’s father figure. Think about how many times Dumbledore almost got Harry killed. Umm, no thanks.) I also think that Harry’s lackluster parenting skills help him serve as a foil to Albus Severus and highlight the gray area to be found within the good/bad dichotomy.
That is not to say that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is flawless. In my opinion, several characters were underdeveloped and others were hardly even present at all. For example James Potter, the eldest of Harry’s children, is rarely seen after the opening scenes in which the families enter Platform 9 3/4. Clearly some thoughts and plot points weren’t thoroughly fleshed out but I feel that this is at least in part due to the fact that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a script book rather than a novel.
I am glad that I was able to borrow my brother’s copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Although my expectations were low I was pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoyed reading the script, and I would advise any Harry Potter fan to give it a read.
If you’ve read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I would love to know what you think. Did you like it? If you hated it, why? Was there a plot point you couldn’t get past or character you despised? Further, has anyone been lucky enough to see a performance of the play? Please feel free to share your thoughts or ideas in the comments or to reach out to me via the Contact page.
Erynn Loves Books