Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two

Harry Potter

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two – J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne
Published by Hachette New Zealand

The much-anticipated special rehearsal edition of the script book has finally arrived, with fans flocking to bookstores across the world to be among the first to read it. The eighth story in the Harry Potter series, set nineteen years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage.

Having finished the book whilst lying in the sun one day last week, here are my thoughts:

  • this edition is the script used by cast and crew during rehearsals for the stage show. As such, it provides an entirely different reading experience to the previous seven Harry Potter books. It’s a decent-sized book, but the format means it takes no time to read. The style of writing is quite different, and plays are always difficult to read as books (remember all those years of trying to read the plays of Shakespeare in English classes??) BUT – if you imagine how it would look on the stage…it would be brilliant.
  • the play is written by Thorne, and is based on a story written by Rowling, Tiffany and Thorne; when you have the author of the original series combining with two newbies, you have to expect that it is going to be different in a lot of ways.
  • our favourite young heroes are now grown-ups with families of their own, thus they are less exciting, less excitable, less endearing and less out-of-the-ordinary. The two main youngsters, Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy, are much more adventurous and fearless that their parents, but they are certainly not in the same league as young Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny and Draco.
  • the wonderful magical aspects were still there, which was great, and I loved that Moaning Myrtle featured.
  • adult Harry is a bit of a knob. He reminds me of a petulant four-year-old; he’s lost that adorable spark and faithfulness that made young HP a crowd favourite. He says some mean things to his son, and my feelings towards him were lukewarm for the remainder of the book.
  • at the end of The Deathly Hallows, good triumphed over evil, Voldemort was vanquished and all was right with the world (apart from the obvious tragic losses)…the story had an ending; Harry had won. Fans were gutted, but everything finally came together and made sense. I’m not really sure what the publication of this new installment actually achieves in terms of those original books, because it doesn’t really add or change anything; it almost feels like a reality TV show, “Harry Potter: Where Are They Now?”
  • [SPOILER ALERT] the play introduces the child of Bellatrix Lestrange and Voldemort, supposedly born before the Battle of Hogwarts. I struggled with this concept, but I do remember how much love Bellatrix had for the Dark Lord…so I decided to do some investigating, and came across this interesting piece that made me more open to the idea. Still…I found it weird.

I enjoyed Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but I didn’t love it the way I loved its seven predecessors. Read it, but be prepared for it to be very different to the HP books you know.

Thank you to Hachette New Zealand for this review copy.

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Boys at Play

My boys are both blessed with vivid imaginations, and love nothing better than a bit of role play. Sometimes this involves their Lego or Duplo creations; at other times, the cushions off the couches. They play so nicely together (most of the time), and it warms my heart to hear them make believe so beautifully (most of the time).

I love that they are both so free with it…..yet I struggle with the type of games they play.

Everything is about fighting, guns, baddies, guns, jail, guns, shooting things……guns, did I mention guns???

I know that this is normal play for boys (and some girls), and I know that I should be relieved they are playing together and developing good imaginative skills, but I often find myself pleading, “Can you please stop pretending that’s a gun? Can you please play a gentler game? Why do you always have to shoot things???”

Boys at PlayI guess I just wish that their games weren’t always so loud, so violent (in subject, not physically – they are actually very considerate of each other), in such contrast to their gentle, sweet natures. They are loving and kind, compassionate and cuddly boys, yet you wouldn’t know it, watching and listening to them.

Maybe it’s a fundamental difference in wiring between girls and boys, because Tall isn’t bothered by it at all, and is happy to play along, while I’m cringing in the other room.

Mothers Day 2015Oh, I’ve tried to join in, I’ve tried to laugh at being put in jail (my cushions are always, always on the floor), I’ve tried to be a good bad guy….but I really wish that sometimes, just sometimes, they would be firefighters extinguishing a house, or spacemen blasting off into the universe, or chefs cooking up a storm at the play kitchen.

But then that would be my imaginary play, not theirs, so maybe I just need to suck it up and hope that this is a passing phase…or accept that this is the way life with boys will be.

Hold me.