On the 31st of July, the universally acclaimed author J.K Rowling, whose birthday coincidentally falls on the same date, released the much anticipated 8th volume of the Harry Potter series.
The difference is that the new story, the first since 2007, isn’t a novel. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the script for the stage play, written by the playwright Jack Thorne, based on a story devised in collaboration with JK Rowling and director John Tiffany. The West End show, split into two parts, officially opened on Saturday to rave reviews, with The Telegraph’s Dominic Cavendish calling it “a triumph”. The book itself was published at midnight on Sunday (The Telegraph, 2016).
Harry Potter and The Cursed Child focuses on the life of Harry post Voldemort and how he attempts to deal with a life so moulded by his past. Whilst Harry struggles with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the burden of a family legacy he never wanted.
Reviews of the book range from it being an “amazing piece of literature” to it being a “vast difference in comparison to the latter novels”. A general consensus seems to be the latter, that it falls away from the traditional style of the other seven books, primarily because it’s more a collaboration of the three writers, Rowling playing somewhat less of a role. Reviewers also found it missing the elements that gave the play such accolade. Parts of the book would be better off should there be components from the play incorporated, adding that its feels “incomplete” as an experience.
An aspect of the book well enjoyed by readers was the opening dialogue; an evoking reading experience, nostalgic and captivating at the same time. The relationships between Albus and other characters, namely Draco Malfoys’ son, are a truly fascinating read. The child dialogue, a specialty of Rowling, truly comes into its own during the book.
All in all, the book is a must read, even if it’s purely for the nostalgic element. The themes explored expand the world of Hogwarts and Wizardry and bring it to a new point in the world of Harry Potter. Would this book be better as an opening for a new series exploring the next generation of Potters and co? Maybe, but Rowling, Thorne and Tiffany do a great job in capturing the play into a novel.