If someone had told me this time last year that I would be reviewing a brand new Harry Potter book, you could have knocked me over with a feather. J. K. Rowling is my queen. This woman single-handedly turned me from a book hating preteen into a young woman who wanted nothing more than to read anything Harry Potter related, all day, every day. When a rumor of an “8th Harry Potter Book” was going around, I was skeptical. I didn’t particularly care, because I knew it wasn’t going to really be Harry Potter; just a fan written fiction story that J. K. Rowling had endorsed. Skeptical I may have been, but disappointed I was not. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was one of many very real endings that any Potterhead could have ever hoped for.
Nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry Potter is trying to live a normal life. He’s a hardworking ministry employee, a husband and a father of 3 school-age children. Let’s be honest though. Harry Potter has never been normal, nor will he ever be. This play goes on to prove it as Harry tries to establish a better relationship with his middle child, Albus Severus Potter, and keeps making mistakes. Albus is every bit of an emotional teenager as his father was at his age and just as much of a troublemaker, but whereas Harry was a troublemaker because he had to be, Albus is trying to make a name for himself. Albus doesn’t like being the son of famous Harry Potter. The play leads us through a number of plot twists, intrigue, time-traveling, and thought provoking action. Old enemies become new friends and vice versa.
What I loved most about this play was the emotional depth. The Potter family is a very real family. When J. K. Rowling finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, she left her readers with an open end, causing imaginations to soar and fanfiction writers to run amuck. The great thing about Cursed Child is how very sincere it is. The emotional depth of the original Harry Potter books was all very surface, which makes sense. The main characters were at a young age where a number of issues were seen as very black and white, and I, too, was at a young age, so I read it that way. Now that I’m older, I can appreciate the thoughts and feelings Harry is experiencing as an adult even more. The fact that this is a play and we can see that depth acted out is completely unfathomable for me. I bet it’s breathtaking.
There wasn’t much about Cursed Child that I didn’t like, but I did feel as though there were a number of things that didn’t quite make sense. I caught myself a fair few times asking “Huh? How is that possible when in the original books this happened to specifically stop this very thing from happening?” Some of it is explained away later in the book and others I preferred to just let go.
I honestly can’t recommend this book enough, especially to any Potterheads out there. It’s a perfect book for anyone who grew, not just grew UP, but grew with Harry Potter.
Emery Lai is a Library Assistant at Alamance County Public Libraries. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-229-3588.