Book Club Pick: August 2019
Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two: The Official Playscript of the Original West End Production
Author: Play by Jack Thorne. Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
Series: Playscript – Harry Potter series
Country: Great Britain
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
First Published: 2016
Pages: 343 pages
The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later…
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.
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a new play by Jack Thorne. It is the eighth Harry Potter story and the first to be officially presented on stage. This Special Rehearsal Edition of the script brings the continued journey of Harry Potter and his friends and family to readers everywhere, immediately following the play’s world premiere in London’s West End on 30 July 2016.
Nineteen years have passed since the events of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione, Draco are now adults with children of their own.
In the first Act we learn that Harry is now the Head of Magical Law Enforcement and married to Ginny, who edits the sports pages for the The Daily Prophet. Hermione is Minister of Magic and married to Ron, who runs the joke shop, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.
The plays focuses on Harry Potter’s youngest son Albus Severus as he is about to attend Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Albus makes a friendship with Scorpius Malfoy, the son of Harry’s childhood school nemesis Draco. Albus breaks the Potter family tradition of being sorted into Gryffindor and is sorted into Slytherin alongside Scorpius.
Unlike Harry, Hogwarts is not a magical place for Albus. He is miserable there. Both Albus and Scorpius are bullied by their fellow students. Scorpius because of the rumours that he is the son of Lord Voldemort and Albus because of his family’s legacy that he cannot live up to.
The rift between Albus and Harry continues to grow as Albus struggles to grow up in the shadow of his father. This leads Albus to make many choices, which are the basis for the events that follow.
I do not think the story warrants a two-part play. It could have been condensed into a tighter standalone play.
There is nostalgia a plenty with many elements from the Harry Potter series peppered throughout including Marauder’s Map, Harry’s invisibility cloak, Polyjuice potion, time-turners, and many more.
The book is written in playscript format. I have read and studied playscripts in high school and at University level, so I had no problem adjusting to reading a playscript, but some for some readers this may make take some getting use to.
It is also important to realise that this script is written by Jack Thorne based on an idea by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne. Tiffany is the show’s director. I understand promoting and marketing it as the eighth story but I think of it similar to the Harry Potter film franchise. It has Rowling’s seal of approval and involvement but it as separate text.
Stay tuned for my experience of seeing the show live in Melbourne.
Check out my other Harry Potter related posts:
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (Book Club Pick July 2018)
Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling (Book Club Pick November 2016)
Source: I borrowed this book from my public library.