By now, everyone knows that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a play written by Jack Thorne, based on a new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Tiffany and Thorne. And, people are seeing it in London, the book has been out several weeks now, and no one can really be surprised. But, I'm not going to give anything away, if I can help it. I may not have grown up reading the Harry Potter books, but I loved Harry and the world Rowling created. I never wanted to know what happened until I had the chance to read the book.
Everyone knows Harry Potter survived the first seven books, or there wouldn't be an eighth story, nineteen years after the events in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Rowling has written that Harry married Ginny Weasley and had three children. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the story of the middle child, Albus. And, oh, he's a middle child, thinking his father doesn't love or understand him the way he loves and understands the oldest boy or the only girl. Before Albus even gets to Hogwarts, he's scared of the expectations that will come from being the son of Harry Potter, who is now the Head of Magical Law Enforcement. But, at Hogwarts, Harry was famous. And, as a middle child, Albus feels the weight of the expectations. Who will his friends be? What house will he be in? What will Harry's son become?
The latest Harry Potter is a story of fathers and sons, the past and the present, and how they influence each other. It's a play that collects the legendary stories of Harry Potter, and twists them around, showing them from another viewpoint. If the characters and world don't seem quite as developed as in Rowling's books, it's because it's a rehearsal script with brief descriptions to set the scene. And, as in any play, the actors who play those parts will bring the characters to life.
But, we all know Harry Potter, don't we? Or, do we? Let's see him through the eyes of a middle child, challenging his father, as young men do, challenging his father's legend. But, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is still a Harry Potter story. Those of us who remember the lessons of the books will remember lessons of love and friendship. Those qualities created the legend of Harry Potter. And, the legend lives.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne. Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic, Inc.), 2016. ISBN 9781338099133 (hardcover), 325p.
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