Posts Tagged ‘Harry Potter’

This month’s book club pick is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two by Jack Thorne. Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne.

Last month I was in Melbourne so I took the opportunity to see both Part One and Two at the Princess Theatre.

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I saw both parts on the same day. If you are planning to see both parts, and I can’t imagine why you would only see one, then for the experience I recommended seeing them on the same day. The alternative is to see it consecutively across two nights.

The only other time I have seen both parts of a two part play on the same day was when I saw Angels in America – Part One: Millennium Approaches and Part Two: Perestroika, which was also an amazing experience.

So if you are up for a five-hour theatre experience, go for it. The matinee was at 2pm and the evening performance at 7.30pm. Part One is approximately 2 hours, 40 minutes (including a 20 minute interval) and Part Two is approximately 2 hours, 35 minutes (including a 20 minute interval).

I started my morning at The Store of Requirement (6 Smith St, Collingwood), which is a store selling Harry Potter merchandise. It is a 15 minute to 20 minute walk from the Princess Theatre. Click here to read by post on The Store of Requirement.

I picked up my tickets before lunch and browsed the small shop in Princess Theatre selling Cursed Child merchandise. I’m glad I did this then considering how busy it was at showtime.

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Fridge magnets

The Princess Theatre is an amazing venue for live theatre. The theatre first opened in 1854 as the Astley’s Amphitheatre. It was renovated and renamed the Princess Theatre and Opera House. It was rebuilt in 1886 as the theatre it is today.

I have been here twice before for Matilda the Musical (2016) and The King and I (2014).

The Princess Theatre received a much needed $6.5 million renovation prior to the Cursed Child moving in. The theatre’s last major renovation was in 1989.

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Matilda the Musical at Princess Theatre (2016)

When the audience left the theatre they handed out #KeepTheSecrets badges. I will keep this review spoiler free.

The play’s cast is made up predominately of Australian and New Zealand actors. Majority of the cast do a solid job. William McKenna was my favourite as Scorpius Malfoy with his awkward, goofy, nervous charm.

The production uses many traditional elements of theatre staging, such as wires, trapdoors, and quick costume changes to bring the magic alive.

Personally I don’t think the plot was worth two full-length plays and would have liked a tighter singular standalone play. Despite this the two plays are full of nostalgia for Potterheads and is a fun theatrical experience.

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The Store of Requirement has Australia’s largest range of officially licensed Harry Potter merchandise.

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The Store of Requirement opened in Stamford, Queensland on Harry Potter’s birthday July 31st in 2017. A year later they opened the Melbourne store in the inner-city suburb of Collingwood.

Collingwood is one of the oldest suburbs in Melbourne and is approximately 3 kilometres north-east of the CBD.

Expect the store to be busy with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child currently playing at the Princess Theatre.

There are Hogwarts acceptance envelopes lining the floor as you enter the store. The ground floor of this old heritage building is home to an array of merchandise from the Harry Potter book and film series and the Fantastic Beasts series.

Upstairs they serve a selection of Harry Potter inspired cupcakes and their Butterscotch Brew (served hot or cold, with or without cream). The Butterscotch Brew is brewed locally at Craft & Co. up the road.

The Store of Requirement is at 6 Smith Street, Collingwood (next to the McDonalds on the corner of Smith Street and Victoria Parade).

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Mandrake cupcake and Butterscotch Brew

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Book Club Pick: August 2019

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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

Publisher Description:

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.

Review:

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.

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Check out my other Harry Potter related posts:

FILM REVIEW: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Experiencing the world of Harry Potter

BOOK vs. FILM: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

FILM REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – illustrated edition

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)

 

Links:

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Global Website

 

Source: I borrowed this book from my public library.

As it is a long pubic holiday weekend I thought that I would take the opportunity to review a few film adaptations of past book club picks.

First up is J.K. Rowling‘s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2001), which was my book club pick for November 2016.

I first saw Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them while on holiday in Kolkata, India. An interesting viewing experience. The film was in English with English subtitles and there was an intermission where staff brought around food that had been preordered.

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Rowling wrote the book Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them, along with Quidditch Through the Ages, as a supplement to the Harry Potter series. Profits from both books benefited the charity Comic Relief.

The book was designed to be a reproduction of the textbook written by magizoologist Newt Scamander owned Harry Potter, and first mentioned in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

The film written by J.K. Rowling, and released in 2016, features Eddie Redmayne as Newt Scamander, who in 1926 arrives in New York City from England en route to Arizona with a suitcase full of magical creatures.

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Newt (Eddie Redmayne)

Within hours of arriving Newt accidentally switches suitcases with Jacob Kowalsi (Dan Fogler), a No-Maj (the American term for a Muggle). Inevitably several of the magical creatures escape and begin to cause havoc on New York City.

Stuart Craig, production designer on all eight Harry Potter films, creates a dark and gothic 1920s Manhattan. The set design is one of my favourite elements in the film.

Newt also attracts the attention of Porpentina ‘Tina’ Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), a disgraced demoted Auror for the Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA), who sees him as a threat to magical society.

We are also introduced to Tina’s sister and roommate Queenie (Alison Sudol), who is a Legilimens, which is a magical person with the ability to read feelings and memories from another person’s mind.

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Newt (Eddie Redmayne) and Jacob (Dan Fogler)

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Tina (Katherine Waterston) and Newt (Eddie Redmayne)

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Queenie (Alison Sudol)

While Newt is searching for his magical creatures the wizards of MACUSA have their owns concerns about the infamous dark wizard, Grindelwald – one of the most dangerous dark wizards of all time, second only to Voldermort.

Director of Magical Security Percival Graves (Colin Farrell) accuses Newt of conspiring with Grindelwald.

There is also the threat of exposure from Mary Lou Barebone (Samantha Morton), who believes there are witches and wizards in New York City. Graves is working in secret with Mary Lou’s eldest abused adoptive son Credence (Ezra Miller) to find an Obscurus, a parasite that develops inside children if they suppress their magical abilities.

The real stars of the film are the magical creatures. I can’t decide if my favourite is the mischievous Niffler, or the tree-stem sized lock-picking Bowtruckle named Pickett.

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Mary Lou (Samantha Morton) and Credence (Ezra Miller)

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Credence (Ezra Miller) and Graves (Colin Farrell)

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Niffler

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Pickett

The film is directed by David Yates, who directed the final four films in the Harry Potter series. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them also stars Johnny Depp, Carmen Ejogo, Ron Pearlman, and John Voight.

A sequel Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald was released in November 2018. Another three films are expected in the Fantastic Beasts series with the third film scheduled for release in November 2020.

 

It is definitely on my bucket list to do the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Universal Studios Orlando, Universal Studios Japan, Universal Studios Hollywood). I have been to Universal Studios Hollywood twice, when I last visited in May 2015 construction was underway – sadly I missed out by a year as it opened officially in April 2016.

I have over the years experienced the world of Harry Potter film in smaller ways.

Last year I saw Dumbledore’s Will from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Draco Malfoy’s paper crane and one of Harry’s Hogwarts acceptance letters at Trekcetera Museum, a small film and television museum in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada.

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In 2015 I did the a studio tour at Warner Bros. in Los Angeles. Not to be confused with the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London. On a side note, this is one of the best studio tours in Hollywood. Highly recommend it.

There was a small museum as part of the tour that has costumes and props from Warner Bros. television shows and films. When I visited the focus was on the Batman franchise but there were some cool props and costumes from the Harry Potter series. My favourite a petrified Hermione Granger from Harry Potter and Chamber of Secrets.

This has since been updated to be The Wizarding World: Harry Potter & Fantastic Beasts Exhibit. Another reason to go back.

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The biggest exhibition of Harry Potter I saw was back in 2012 at the traveling exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition, which first debuted in Chicago in 2009 arrived in Sydney in 23 shipping crates. The exhibition had hundreds of props and costumes covering over 1400 square metres of museum space. The exhibition included props like Harry’s glasses and his Nimbus 2000 broomstick, the golden snitch, Marauder’s Map, and Hermione’s Time Turner. The exhibition is currently in Milan, Italy until September 9th.

Book vs. Film

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A film adaptation can never be exactly the same. Often for timing and pacing reasons not everything can be included – it can be disappointing for book fans to learn that a favourite moment or character has been cut.

That being said I feel that the film is a reasonably faithful adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Below are some differences between the book and the film. This is by no means comprehensive.

Mr. Dursley’s very weird day

The first chapter of the novel is from the viewpoint of Vernon and Petunia Dursley, before their infant nephew Harry turns up on their doorstep. The film skips this and begins with Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Hagrid delivering baby Harry to the Dursley’s.

‘Young Sirius Black’

In the novel Hagrid tells Dumbledore the he borrowed the motorcycle from ‘young Sirius Black. Good foreshadowing on Rowling’s part for when Sirius appears later in the series. This line is omitted from the film.

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Baby Harry

Mrs. Figg

The book also mentions Mrs. Figg who looks after Harry occasionally. This character has importance later in the series. She is also not mentioned on the film.

Harry’s blue eyes

In the book Harry has green eyes in the film he has blue eyes. The film did attempt to have Daniel Radcliffe wear coloured contacts but he was unable to because they irritated his eyes.

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Harry has blue eyes in the film

Dudley and Petunia have dark hair

In the novel Mrs. Dursley is described as ‘thin and blonde’ in the film actress Fiona Shaw has very dark hair. Dudley is also described as being blonde in the book. He also has darker hair like his mother in the film.

Boa constrictor to Burmese python

In the film Harry talks to a Burmese python at the zoo in the novel it is Boa Constrictor. Also in the novel Dudley’s best friend Piers Polkiss accompanies the Dursleys and Harry to the zoo. The Piers character is not included in the film.

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The Burmese python

Harry and Draco’s first meeting

In the novel Harry and Draco first meet in Madam Malkin’s robes shop. They meet again on the Hogwarts Express. In the film Draco and Harry meet at Hogwarts before entering the Grand Hall for the Sorting Hat Ceremony.

Hagrid takes Harry to Kings Cross Station

In the book the Dursleys drop Harry off at Kings Cross Station to catch the Hogwarts Express. In the film Hagrid takes Harry.

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London to Hogwarts

Sorting Hat and School Song

In the novel the Sorting Hat sings a song. This and the school song are both cut from the film.

The Mirror of Erised

In the book Harry sees his entire extended family standing behind him when he looks at the Mirror of Erised. In the film only his parents are standing behind him.

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Mirror of Erised

Detention in the Forbidden Forest

In the novel Harry and Hermione are given a detention after being caught by Filch after hours. Draco and Neville receive a detention from Proessor McGonagall when she catches them in the corridor. In the film Harry, Hermione and Ron receive a detention after Draco tells McGongall that he saw them in Hagrid’s hut after hours. Malfoy also receives a detention because he too was out of bed after hours.

Norbert and Charlie Weasley

In the novel Charlie Weasley and his friends take Norbert to Romania. In the film it is briefly mentioned that Norbert was taken away by Dumbledore.

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Norbert, a Norwegian Ridgeback Dragon

Hufflepuff-Gryffindor Quidditch Match

The Hufflepuff-Gryffindor match that Snape referees is not included in the film. This means the part where Ron and Neville get into a fight with Draco, Crabbe and Goyle at the game is not in the film.

Professor Binns

Professor Binns is the History of Magic professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In the novel we learn that he died in his sleep in the staffroom and he has continued to teach as a ghost. This character was not included in the film.

Peeves

Another ghost not in the film is the troublesome mischievous Peeves. The late comedian and actor Rik Mayal was cast as Peeves but his scenes were cut from the film.

 

I would be interested of any other differences between the book and film that you may have noticed.

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This month’s book club pick is J.K. Rowling‘s 1997 novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. In 2001 a film adaptation written by Steve Kloves (The Fabulous Baker Boys) and directed by Chris Columbus (Home Alone, Home Alone 2: Lost in New YorkMrs. Doubtfire) was released.

The Philosopher’s Stone, which was the highest grossing film of 2001, kicked off a franchise of eight films (book seven Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was split into two parts) across 10 years.

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Harry (Daniel Radcliffe)

The film opens with Albus Dumbledore (Richard Harris), Minerva McGonagall (Maggie Smith), and Rubeus Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) delivering orphan infant Harry Potter to his mother’s sister’s family home.

On his eleventh birthday Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) learns that his Uncle Vernon (Richard Griffiths) and Aunt Petunia (Fiona Shaw) have been hiding the truth about his past. He is of wizard heritage. His parents, who were wizards, did not die in a car crash like he was told but were killed by an evil and powerful wizard, Lord Voldemort.

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Harry (Daniel Radcliffe)

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The Dursleys: Dudley (Harry Melling), Vernon (Richard Griffiths), Petunia (Fiona Shaw)

Harry survived Voldemort’s murderous attack and was left with a lightening bolt shaped scar on his forehead. Following the attack Voldemort’s powers were weakened and he went into hiding making Harry, ‘the boy who lived’, a celebrity in the wizarding world.

The film follows Harry’s journey as a first-year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. At Hogwarts he meets and forms a friendship with fellow first years Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson).

The adventure slash mystery plot is based around a mysterious object that is being hidden on the third floor at Hogwarts that students’ are forbidden from entering. Harry believes that someone is trying to steal this object and it involves Lord Voldemort. So with the help of Ron and Hermione, Harry sets out the solve the mystery of the philosopher’s stone.

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Hermione (Emma Watson), Neville (Matthew Lewis), Ron (Rupert Grint), Harry (Daniel Radcliffe)

An array of experienced British actors fill the adult roles including John Cleese (Nearly Headless Nick), Robbie Coltrane (Rubeus Hagrid), Warwick Davis (Professor Flitwick), Richard Griffiths (Vernon Dursley), Richard Harris (Albus Dumbledore), Ian Hart (Professor Quirrell), John Hurt (Mr. Ollivander), Alan Rickman (Severus Snape), Fiona Shaw (Petunia Dursley), Maggie Smith (Minerva Dursley), Julie Walters (Molly Weasley), and Zoë Wanamaker (Madam Hooch).

They help guide the lesser experienced child actors through this film. There are some good performances particularly from Coltrane, Rickman and Smith.

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Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane)

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Snape (Alan Rickman)

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McGonagall (Maggie Smith)

Stuart Craig’s production design is amazing, particularly the scenes set at Hogwarts. He has really captured the magic of Rowling’s wizarding world.

The film comes in at over two and a half hours and is a reasonably faithful adaptation of the book with a few minor tweaks for pace.