Harry Potter Book #8…Um, no

 

I refused to let myself rush through this book or reviewing it. Also, I tried to keep myself away from big spoilers to try to keep my mind focused in the present. I need to warn you that there will be a lot of spoilers in this review. Now here are my thoughts…

I don’t agree with everyone who has tried reading and rating J.K. Rowling’s latest published work as a book.

As a story, regardless of its format, I would give “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” a 9!

I’m very fortunate that my first thought when I start reading a book is that I need to read out loud. I don’t know when I started to read books out loud, but it has given me a new appreciation of the art of crafting a novel.

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” only makes sense to me when I read it out loud, because that’s how it is meant to be enjoyed. If you didn’t enjoy it the first time you read it, try reading it again in a quiet place where you can give voice to the characters. 

Also, I didn’t start reading “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” because I wanted an eight Harry Potter book, and I’m so glad that it isn’t. The 7th Harry Potter book marked the end of an era. No matter what else J.K. Rowling might add to the Wizarding World (and I hope she does keep returning to it), that story line is done. Finished. Complete.

You will not be able to appreciate this latest installment in J.K. Rowling’s world if you look to it as a new ending to Harry Potter’s story. This is not Harry’s story. It is Albus’ and Scorpius’. Yes, Harry’s struggles as a parent are featured, but he’s not the same character that you remember.

Putting that all aside, I found myself drawn into this new story. I would say that the one thing I would have changed is the absence of certain beloved characters. I would really have liked to see more of the Weasleys, especially Molly and George, or at least know where they are now. I felt the absence of Teddy Lupin very prominently. You know who I also missed terribly, but who I’ve heard no one include in this list: Hagrid!

*Deep breaths*

However, I wasn’t upset that Albus and Scorpius stole most of the spotlight. I think their story was worth telling.

**********WARNING: Spoilers from this point on!!!**********

As a lifelong Harry Potter lover, here is the summary I would give to other fans:

Almost two decades after Harry defeats Voldemort, he is struggling with a new problem: how to be a good father. His second son, Albus, is having a hard time shouldering the celebrityhood that being Harry Potter’s son gives him, especially since he doesn’t see anything special in himself. However, he finds companionship in the most unlikely of places when he meets Scorpius, the son of Draco Malfoy.

Being Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy’s sons gives Albus and Scorpius a different perspective on their father’s accomplishments. Both young Slytherins just want a chance to be appreciated for who they are. When Albus gets the chance to try to right a wrong that he blames on his father – the death of Cedric Diggory – he takes it. Along with best friend, he travels back in time to make his own mistakes and a name for himself.

********************

The love I felt when I saw grownup Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Ginny stand together was real, and nothing can ever replace that image in my heart. However, I was surprised by the equally strong feeling of love that I felt when I saw a Potter and a Malfoy stand together. I never thought I would see that day. They’re friendship is marvelous.

I love the spin that J.K. Rowling and the other script writers put on the Wizarding World that I thought I knew too well. I really want to know what idea they started with. Was it the image of Albus standing next to his dad or a young Malfoy redeeming the family name, or was it perhaps Cedric Diggory alive or a future ruled by Voldemort. Which idea sparked everything and what was the one idea that never changed. I know from experience that initial ideas change as the story continues, but there is usually one scene that everything revolves around.

I think the answer might shock us all.

The scene transitions were a little hard to follow, even reading out loud, but I didn’t need them to sense the story coming to a climax. When the trio ended up in Godric’s Hollow…*chills*. I just can’t talk about that night. I was right there with Harry. I couldn’t believe that we all had to relieve that.

And the ending was perfect. No, everything wasn’t fine right away…but a promise of “better” was left hanging in the air.

I’d also like to take the time to applaud J.K. Rowling’s character development once again. I didn’t feel any surprise when I met the older Harry Potter and his friends, but what I did see was better than I could have imagined: Hermione using her knowledge for good; Ron is still a loyal goofball and he puts his wife and family about everything else; Harry isn’t a perfect father, or Auror, but he is never willing to give up; Ginny hasn’t lost any of her fire and keeps her family in check; Malfoy has continued to have a hard life but he does everything he can to protect his son and put his past behind him; McGonagall has kept her promise to protect the children at Hogwarts, even against their own parents; AND Dumbledore is still trying to help advise Harry.

The young protégés in this story were even more well developed. They each deserve to be seen in their own light, however, I couldn’t help but pick up on the similarities that they shared with the group as a whole.

Scorpius is a talented nerd (no offense, power to the nerds) like Hermione but he shares characteristics with Ron, namely the fact that he’s a klutz and naturally cautious.

Rose is redoubtably her mother’s girl, but her quidditch prowess does suggest some other personality influences. As hard as it is, I would also like to point out that her self-righteous, prideful behavior in the beginning resembles a young Draco.

Delphi is charming and deceptive like her father…I guess I don’t really see much else there. 

What can I say about Albus? I would venture to say that he’s more like his father than even his own parents can admit. He has a tendency for getting himself and others into trouble, but he also goes to extreme lengths to protect others. Yes, he might have taken the fate of the entire world on his own shoulders, but he shouldered them well. Ginny’s fire and determination also reside within him. Yep 🙂 . Albus is the perfect combination of Harry and Ginny! You might not see it at first, but believe me, you’ll get there.

********************

Most shocking reveal: The trolley witch…I mean, honestly, what in the world were they thinking?! I’m not going to ruin this scene if you haven’t read “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” Just be prepared to learn the truth about the sweet, old, jolly trolly witch.

One scene I could do with: I think that I wouldn’t mind too much if Dumbledore (in painting form) hadn’t have made an appearance. For some reason, I really didn’t enjoy the scenes where Dumbledore and Harry talk, but I might feel differently if I could see that meltdown scene in person.

Favorite new character: It’s a tough choice, but I have to go with Scorpius. He’s so smart, and yet invisible. Everyone at least knew Hermione was the one to beat. I don’t think people even know how talented Scorpius is. That, coupled with his klutzy attempts to talk to Rose and his unfaltering loyalty to his best friend have endeared me to him.

What I missed the most: Still Hagrid! How, seriously how, could JK. Rowling have let us return to Hogwarts and not have let us see meet an older Hagrid. Am I the only one who can picture Albus and Scorpius drinking tea around Hagrid’s kitchen table? I know that he wasn’t entirely forgotten, but flashbacks just aren’t the same thing.

********************

So, as a whole, I loved “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” I think it’s a combination of J.K. Rowling’s imaginations, the visions of her collaborators, and the hope/love of Rowling’s steadfast fan base. This glimpse into the Wizarding World after Voldemort is defeated, as well as the new perspective into the events in the original Harry Potter series and Harry’s childhood. There’s no doubt that, as a lot of people have said, this story is something different entirely. It’s a play, which means that it’s built on character interaction and dialogue rather than the superior foreshadowing, plot development, world building, etc. that J.K. Rowling built up over her seven book series.

And yet I’m okay with that. It’s not the eight book in the series! It’s a play set nineteen years in the future. Of course it doesn’t read just like the books. As I said at the beginning, I realized that a long time ago. I don’t care. It’s still good!

My heart still resides with the Wizarding World of my own childhood, but Albus, Scorpius, and even Rose have weaseled their way in, too. Now we’re all one big happy family 🙂 .

I just hope there’s room for a certain Newt as well!

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