Friday, 5 August 2016

Book Review - Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

I have no idea how am going to talk about this. And oh, I SO want to talk about this! But am going to keep this as spoiler-free as I can and write a spoiler-

This is the rehearsal script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which is playing in Palace Theatre till December 2017. The show had previews the past few weeks and, last Saturday, the show had it's world premiere. Because it's in London and fans all over the world are desperate to see it (and are/were upset that it isn't a book/movie/touring world wide), publishers have published the rehearsal script the Sunday just gone. The official script (which the actors are acting to now) will be published later this year...

Starting within the 19 years later epilogue, Harry Potter is now a father of three, married to Ginny and is about to put this youngest son, Albus Severus onto the Hogwarts Express for his first year.

While Harry struggles with being an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic and a past that refuses to stay in the past, Albus struggles with the pressures that his name and his family legacy, a legacy he never wanted. Soon, things are said that can't be unsaid and the past and present come crashing together...

The darkness is rising... and it's coming from unexpected places...

OK, am going to say this right now. I am going to see Cursed Child up the West End at the end of September so, of course am going to blog about it then as well. So, this is me reviewing (if you want to call this post a review) the script.

As a Harry Potter fan, this fills me with happiness. And it was enjoyable and fun. It was Harry Potter goodness. If you don't look too hard at the plot... Ok, stay with me. Am getting to why I said that in a tick.

For the good half of Part One, I was filled with joy that I was returning to this world. And I feel most Harry Potter fans will feel the same. We have a new HP story, you guys. And it was fun. It was fast, fun, enjoyable. It was fun. And I can see this working as a play. It feels right to see this as a play and I can't wait to see how this works on stage with all the effects.

However, there is problems. As I was reading this script, I couldn't help be think "This feels a bit fan fiction". That's not a bad thing. There are wonderful fan fictions out there and great fanfic writers out there. But this didn't feel like a Harry Potter story, written by JK Rowling. Even though the cover says "Based on an original new story by JK Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne" (and Jack Thorne wrote the script), this felt off. It didn't feel right within the series. This felt separate and, at times, a little money-grabbing. One plot device that was used in the play has been used in different stories in different genres and, at times, it felt like "Rinse, wash, repeat".

But this isn't my main problem. I got on board with the above plot device because it intrigued me how it would work in this world. What bothered me was how there was so many problems and loopholes and it wasn't fully explained. How did A happen so quickly? Why did B happen? And when - WHEN FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS MUGGLE - did C happen?! Things happened and they weren't explain. I get with a play like this, you have to move the story at a pace, but explanations were either explained very thinly or not explained at all.

I sense a reread might be in order before I see the play.

I believe with this that if you can see Cursed Child, you really should. This story is built for the stage.  And if this was ever turned into an actual novel, this would work brilliantly as there will be time to explain things and go into more details. But the script... hmm... am very on the fence. Am viewing it as a standalone, maybe a companion story set in the Harry Potter world...

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