This is my response to those who bashed the book to no end. First of all, this is a continuum so don’t expect the unexpected. This book is neither a full fledged reinvention nor a hasty offcut, it is also neither enslaved by the past nor entirely free of it. This is a screenplay of what it means to live under the shadow of a protagonist with a heroic tale and a screenplay is not a novel so stop criticizing it as one. Also, story played on stage is the real deal.
Though the plot holes are very visible and spread throughout the story. The thrill of the plot died with the 8th book. Admittedly, it was strange to read this supposedly 8th story in Harry Potter’s world in play format but the truth is, it was extremely easy to imagine everything play out like in a movie, so it all felt alive to me. You feel it’s not Rowling’s writing and that’s disappointing. However, this play has a quick and interesting plot in which Ron’s character almost nullified, Harry is no longer innocent or pure and the focus is on Harry’s son and not him or his friends, something which we are used to in the previous 8 books of Harry potter saga.
The Cursed Child being a play, especially one so difficult to see in the flesh. Rowling has always been deft and funny at dialogue. The exchanges between Albus and Harry are convincingly tense, and reminded me how good she is at drawing angry teenagers. Harry sanctimoniously seems to think his own hardships were more valid than Albus’ because Harry didn’t have a dad, and Albus does.The character of a troubled child of a father with a troubled past is very realistically sketched and that’s what I think is the true mastery of this screenplay. Another thing which was exceptionally described in this book was Harry’s character. His traumatic childhood comes to play full circle in his adult life, we see Harry afflicted with pangs of the past which interfere with his daily professional and domestic life and acutely affects his parenting skills. “All is well” the last line of the 8th book paves way to reality of Harry’s chaotic world in this screenplay, fears of a past which he can never escape. Albus has a dad in name only. Harry rarely shows any attempt at actual parenting, i.e. helping to make his son into the young man Albus wants to be.
Where the script is almost inevitably less satisfying is in earning the emotions it claims to evoke. Despite their best efforts, Rowling-Thorne’s stage directions are functional things, describing atmosphere rather than creating it. “There’s a silence. A perfect, profound silence. One that sits low, twists a bit and has damage within it.” This twisting may well happen in performance, but doesn’t shout from the page. The melancholy joy of seeing Harry commune with Dumbledore is not matched by the direction:
“A pause. The two men are overcome with emotion.”
Having said that, the climactic ending which reverses to Harry’s beginnings is deeply affecting and must be quite something on stage.
The possible rise of voldemort was for me, a major plot hole. It seemed a little immature and childish to stir up the old plot in a new story but then again it’s a screenplay and the dramatized on-stage version of this plot would have lit the stage up!
Also, this book is JK Rowling’s world, she created this story and it’s up to her to continue it with books/movies of this universe or not. So stop buffing up saying “this book was a nice gift but she needs to stop now” who are you to say this? This her choice! And I for one wouldn’t mind for more of this world.
This isn’t a book you have to read but, if you’re a diehard Harry Potter fan, I am going to look at you quite incredulously if you decide not to. I’m sadly not going to be able to tell you that you’re making the right choice, because this is so, so charming and fun, but I can understand people wanting to have their own vision of the Harry Potter cast as adults and their children.