This post will be an attempt to review J.K. Rowling’s latest published work and first play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (2016). I say that it will be an attempt because 1) people can be passionate about anything related to Harry Potter and 2) I understand those people because I myself am a HUGE fan of Harry Potter, who alone represents my whole childhood.
I don’t want to say anything bad about the story of Harry Potter, so I am relieved to claim that I loved The Cursed Child. The story was firstly immensely interesting: as I opened the book for the first time, I had no idea what to expect. The biggest question I had concerned the way that Rowling would manage to make the Potter story feel new again, and in my mind, which I guess can lack imagination sometimes, there was no way that The Cursed Child could surprise its readers. Well, I was incredibly wrong to think that. The story has its fair share of twists and turns – we learned something new about Voldemort, Bellatrix Lestrange, Draco Malefoy and even Harry Potter. Or, rather, the book extended our knowledge of Potter’s character and deepened it.
We all read the Potter books and, while we did catch a glimpse of his imperfections, Harry was always portrayed as a very good kid who, unfortunately, had been rendered famous by You-Know-Who. In the play, though, we can really see that he’s far from being a perfect man. We as readers see him acting selfish and busy, having trouble with Draco Malefoy and, of course, not always being the best of dads to his son Albus. I found this aspect of the story refreshing, which is really extraordinary – normally, I don’t find the act of opening the reader’s eyes to a beloved main character’s big flaws in a follow-up book to be a success. For example, in the sequel of To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman, I didn’t think that Atticus’s newfound flaws were a good idea, and that was probably because the whole premise of TKAM was set on the fact that Atticus, ahead of his time, had a vision and a good heart that he wanted to follow. Anyways. The Potter books’ premise did not rely entirely on Harry Potter’s good heart and good ways, and that is probably why his new, more honest look worked.
The only negative thing I’ll say about the play is that I sometimes questioned the credibility of certain aspects of it, like the way its characters acted or even the events themselves. It’s minor, I know, and also, I imagine it would be really hard to make numerous events unfold while following the structure of a play.
The ending was also satisfying. No crazy, cliff-hanger stuff. Normally I like those types of endings, but not for Harry Potter. I really, really wanted to be able to hang on to the mental image I have of my dear Harry Potter forever, and I am happy to say that this play allowed me to do so.