It’s been less than a week since diehard fans flocked to the midnight release of the newest installment in Harry Potter’s life story, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. This time, JK Rowling is taking her loyal fans to the theater by developing a play for London’s West End which follows the series’ beloved characters nineteen years after the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final book in the series.
Fans of the series should, therefore, brace themselves for a different kind of Potter tale. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child reads as the rehearsal version of the script for the play. Rather than getting fulsome descriptions of scenes, the focus is on the plot and dialogue with some brief descriptions of the characters and setting when we first come across them. This has caused many fans to be critical of the dialogue given that it is the main method for us to get to know the new and familiar characters that this world features.
The play itself made headlines when pictures of the cast were released earlier this year. The play has also started its run, but tickets are sold out until May of 2017. It also features a score composed by Grammy Award Winning British Musician Imogen Heap.
Before I go any further, I’ll just warn you that there are spoilers ahead. In the play’s script, fans can expect to see some familiar faces, the trio (Harry, Ron and Hermione) are all back as well as Ginny, Draco, and Neville. We also hear from some other characters, such as Professor McGonagall, Dumbledore (in portrait form), and Cedric Diggory’s father Amos Diggory, which is where the plot thickens. In this post-Voldemort world, Harry’s biggest challenge is to connect with his youngest son, Albus (named for the school’s old headmaster). Harry’s legacy follows his son around like a black cloud and when Albus is sorted into the notorious Slytherin house, the riff between them deepens as Albus makes friends with Scorpius Malfoy, son of Draco. Rumors swirl that Scorpius was born of Voldemort’s bloodline and so Harry begins to see his son’s new friend as a bad influence, causing them to fight and for Albus to defy his father’s wishes and attempt to rewrite history to correct his father’s mistakes. Albus and Scorpius use a bewitched time turner to go back to the Triwizard Tournament featured in the fourth book in the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and attempt to save Cedric Diggory, with catastrophic results. The boys quickly learn that rewriting history has its price and that they aren’t the only one with a vested interest in changing how things turned out.
I won’t spoil how it all unfolds, but I will say that the use of time travel gave Rowling the chance to bring back some of the series most beloved characters while staying true to the original series. It also allowed her to create rich alternative universes where one decision could have led to things turning out very differently for some of her most beloved characters.
JK Rowling has said that this book signals the last saga in Harry Potter’s adventures, but many fans doubt that she’ll be able to stay away and speculate that she may even continue the story through the next generation of Potter characters that were developed in this book which would allow her to stay true to her promise. It is hard to imagine Rowling being able to stay away from the rich world she created with so many fans wanting more and over 2 million copies being sold worldwide in the first 48 hours of its release. Tickets for the play are also sold out until May of 2017, so for those fans dying to see the script come to life, they better start booking now.
Overall, I enjoyed another taste of Harry Potter and would definitely jump at seeing the play, given the chance, but I found the Harry Potter books to be the preferred medium for getting lost in the Wizarding World because of the rich detail Rowling always gave us. If you’ve read the script, let me know what you think in the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts!