Potter more: Harry’s story continues with next generation
In 2007, J.K. Rowling said Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was the last book of the Harry Potter series. Fans all over the world expected the end, but none were ready when it came.
In 2013, rumors swirled of a new story involving the most acclaimed wizard in literary history. During a three-year period, Rowling organized a creative team and developed not only a new Harry Potter story, but also a play. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child hit bookshelves the same day the play premiered on London’s West End: July 31, 2016.
As an avid reader of all things Potter, the day the new book came out I was reading it with my wand and Slytherin scarf. It was refreshing to read a play instead of a novel. Rowling’s words cast a spell, as always, this time with the help of playwright Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany.
The story begins with the last scene of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, 19 years after the Battle of Hogwarts. (For those of you who haven’t read the book yet, I promise no major spoilers will be revealed in this review). With the first words of the play, we find ourselves back at King’s Cross’ platform 9 ¾, walking through the smoke from the Hogwarts Express and listening to the rushed steps of young wizards and witches going back to school.
The Potters’ youngest son, Albus, is starting his first year at Hogwarts, and, just like his father, he boards the train and befriends with an outsider. This time, however, that outsider doesn’t have a friendly family and red hair, instead he’s the son of Draco Malfoy, sporting platinum blond locks and sadness on his face.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child feels like déjà vu of Harry’s life in Hogwarts, with Albus taking on his father’s role. It is not surprising, though, as Rowling has made this her magic formula to craft the stories of the wizarding world.
As much as I loved reading a brand new adventure with Harry’s name in the title, I would say most younger fans would have rather read a novel than a screenplay.
The Cursed Child parallels Albus’ story with his father’s. The play brings to the audience the same sense of excitement and familiarity that Rowling’s previous novels did—taking us back to the place where the magic first happened.
Thorne does a splendid job carefully transforming Rowling’s imaginative power for the stage, while Tiffany’s direction made the play an acclaimed work that will, undoubtedly, reach further than London’s West End, to Broadway and the rest of the world.