Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Play Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne (NO SPOILERS!)

Release date: July 31st, 2016
Publisher: Little Brown UK
Pages: 330
Purchase links: Amazon - Amazon UK - Amazon CA - B&N - Book Depository - IndieBound - iTunes - Google Books - Adlibris

Description (from Goodreads):

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Don't worry, there will be no spoilers here!

If you have read somewhere that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child reads like a piece of fanfiction, you have read right, because it very much reminded me of something I would expect to find from a fanfiction archive. It is based on a story by J.K. Rowling, but it does not read like a J.K. Rowling novel. Characters old and new are present and some elements of J.K.'s stories can be identified, but at the end of the day, the end result is something that has to be credited to Jack Thorne, not Rowling. 

For nostalgia reasons alone I was desperate to read this. I know seeing the play won't probably be a realistic option for me for a few years, so I was happy that I got a chance to somehow live the story through. Since it is a play, it is obvious that only reading it does not introduce you to all of the magical aspects the stage play most likely has. But at least you know what the play is about and don't have to rely on secondhand accounts and rumors.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child focuses mainly on Harry, now working for the Ministry of Magic, and his youngest son Albus. The play jumps in time quite a bit, so we get to see Albus in Hogwarts for a number of years. Both Harry and Albus are haunted by events from Harry's past, and it seems to Albus that he will never live up to some of the expectations his father has for him. Albus navigates his life at Hogwarts with an unexpected friend and runs into something that has a potential to turn his life, as well as the lives of those around him, very dangerous.

While I loved reading more about the characters I had already fallen in love with (Harry, Ron, Hermione and others) as well as new characters like Albus, I couldn't help feeling like something was missing. Maybe it is that distinctive voice and style of Rowling that is not as present in this as in the original novels or the fact that at the end of the day, this story is supposed to be experienced as a performance. Some of the characters felt very underdeveloped on the page, and there were a few relationships that I wish could have gone into a different direction. But at the end of the day, I am happy for the chance I got to spend a few hours back in the magical world of witches, wizards and Hogwarts and I really hope that one day I have the chance to experience this as a performance. 



  1. I agree, it is meant to be seen is play format but reading the script is the closest a lot of us will get. The characters were lacking, they didn't feel like the characters I'd grown to love but I imagine it would be a lot better in play format. Awesome review!

  2. I got my Harry Potter and the Cursed Child book today.
    I ordered it from Amazon and they delivered it in just 2 days!
    Amazon link:
    Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

  3. Great review! I agree it did feel a bit fanfiction-like. I loved this books mostly because of nostalgia reasons (and Scorpius, I must admit) but it did feel like something was missing and some characters felt off. That said, I'm still happy we got this and I really hope to be able to see the play sometime!


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