the good book corner

Manuscript help, book reviews and author interviews

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne (script), based on an original story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne; reviewed by Sapna Khajuria

Harry-Potter-and-the-Cursed-Child-artwork

First things first – remember the lyrical, evocative style of writing we all got used to after reading 7 Harry Potter books? Well, don’t look for that in this book. Before you let out a disappointed sigh – to be fair, this is a play and not a novel; so the lack of elaborate descriptions of scenes in a manner that you can almost see the Whomping Willow in front of you, are not to be expected.

Secondly, the writer is not J K Rowling – her idea was taken forward by Jack Thorne for creating this draft script and hence the style of writing is vastly different. More crisp, more rushed in many parts.

When a story has a hold of our collective hearts and minds, one is never ready to say a final goodbye. Harry Potter’s stories had a near universal appeal, age be damned – the young, the not so old and the old – were all hooked. Which is why we were left wondering what would happen to Harry, Hermione, Ron and their children after the events of the Deathly Hallows. Plenty of fan fiction can be found online, dedicated to musings on this topic and much of it doesn’t give a happy ending to the characters.

Cursed Child gets off to a middling start, but when you are about 125 pages in – bam! The pace changes, there’s a twist in the tale and you begin to feel like you are a part of this roller coaster ride across the realm of time.

Albus Severus Potter, Harry and Ginny’s second child, is going through plenty of angst before he goes to Hogwarts. He does not see the world the way his father does, and the burden of his name and the legacy of his father feels too heavy. The sorting hat puts him in Slytherin, his best friend is Draco Malfoy’s son Scorpius, and he just cannot communicate with his father without the two of them yelling at each other.

Without revealing the plotline, all I can say here is that Albus and Scorpius undertake a mission to use a (confiscated) time turner, travel back in time and prevent Cedric Diggory’s death. Needless to say, it’s a mission fraught with danger to begin with, but ends up resurrecting dark times and dark powers to an unimaginable extent. There are familiar settings, characters and props scattered through the book – Hogwarts, the Forbidden Forest, floo network, McGonagall and even those who didn’t survive in the Deathly Hallows. Since some acts of the play are set in incidents that took place in the preceding books, it makes sense to have read those.

Albus learns that he does not need to be exactly like his father in order to be a good or a brave wizard. Harry learns to let go of his prejudices and finds a way to reach out to his son. Hermione, no surprise, is the Minister of Magic. Suffice it to say that the key to the future lies in the past.

When reading the book, one cannot help but visualise the way the set of the play would be. It’s hardly a surprise that the play has taken Westend by storm and there are talks of taking it to Broadway soon.

Parts of the book almost feel like Rowling has left scope for a sequel. It’s a book you can read at one go, but not one that will feel like a logical continuation of the Harry Potter series. One almost wishes Rowling had left the story where it ended, and if at all, written a full novel. This book felt like a half hearted collection of “what if” plotlines that fan fiction would come up with.

IMG_20141003_141403 “I am a lawyer by training and a full on book lover from as far back as I can remember. I live in Gurgaon, India with my husband and twin boys. Every year, I resolve to finish reading the books I have before buying new ones, and every single year my resolution fails”….Sapna Khajuria

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