Saturday 10 September 2016

Book Review: Harry Potter & The Cursed Child; J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne & John Tiffany.

I've been waiting a pretty long time to get to see this play, and I made a mistake in buying this book before I got to because it stared at me tauntingly from the shelf the entire time. Now that I have both seen and read it though, it's time to address the bout of mixed reviews that surround it. Also, this book is going to be an entry for the Monthly Motif challenge!

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: Hardcover

TITLE: Harry Potter & The Cursed Child
AUTHOR: J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne & John Tiffany
SERIES: Harry Potter (#8)
PUBLISHER: Arthur A. Levine Books
PAGES: 327
GENRE: Fantasy, Play, Young Adult

RATING: 3.5/5 Stars

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

What I Liked:
  • I really liked the character development. I know that a few people have had a hard time watching the characters they know and love change, but for me it was refreshing and honest. Of course they've changed! They aren't children anymore! Harry went through a lot of trauma so I can completely understand why he grew up the way he was: awkward and unable to bond emotionally with a son who has a big legacy to fill. He himself didn't have much in the way of Father figures after all! Hermione has become a bit of a workaholic, as you can imagine, while Ron has settled down nicely into being a good Dad and running Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes. Even Malfoy received a bit of a makeover, and I really liked the attention they gave to his story.
  • The new characters were also really well crafted. Especially Scorpius Malfoy, who is every bit as loveable on stage as he is on the page. I love his quirky, geeky desperation to prove himself and he was without a doubt my favourite character of the entire thing. Rose-Granger Weasley might have disappointed some people by being so bigoted, but I think she acts exactly how I imagine an eleven year old to act who has grown up on tales of her heroic parents and the 'evil' Malfoys. Albus was a little harder to love, but he was complicated and I loved that about him above all else. Delphi too, and the revelations about her past were pretty shocking.
  • The story-line, the world-building, when it comes to my own experiences of seeing it on stage, fall under the same category. They really did a fantastic job of taking every single one of those stage directions and making it happen (or even improving upon it and making it more magical). Speaking of the magic, that was easily the best part of the entire show and I'm grateful for that. I was so scared that they wouldn't be able to do a lot of it properly, but of course I underestimated the behind the scenes creativity and it really gave the whole thing an extra lift that those just reading from the script probably wouldn't have got.
What I Disliked:
  • Sadly, despite loving this creation, there are a few plot holes that forced me to lower it's rating. Firstly this was always going to be a problem with a plot that almost solely relies on the presence of time-turners, but there were one or two aspects to the story that didn't quite add up for me. Delphi's heritage for example, and the time that it is supposed to have taken place. It makes no sense and I can totally, for that reason alone, see why people are labelling this play as 'fan-fiction' because it sounds like the kind of road a fan could take the story. Secondly, the rumours surrounding Scorpius Malfoy literally come from nowhere so I don't fully understand that. Also, the Cedric Diggory thing was just stretching it a little too far for me. Sorry.
Overall Conclusion:
All in all, I adored this play, especially the watching it part, but I can see why people have problems with it. In order to fully appreciate it, you definitely have to go and see it or at least be able to get your head around script formatting so that you can fully envisage the potential it has when being performed. While I have experienced both, others will have done neither of them, making their job significantly harder and that is why it's received so many bad reviews. All I can say is that the magic is excellent, the characters real and fresh, and the world-building as fun as I remember the original stories. It's just a shame that plot-wise, despite all the amazing twists and turns, the gaping holes just don't cut it for some people and it does have a real 'fan-fiction' aura about it.

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