Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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.
Reviewed on 19th August 2016
Who would have thought there would be a sequel? Who would have thought it could be as exciting again? I was slightly dubious when I heard there would be a play, but my interest has been slowly piqued by the marketing department's drip feeding of information - but nothing could have prepared me for reading this, the rehearsal script for the play (the actual play may include tweaks to the text made during rehearsals and previews - but I haven't managed to see it yet).
Fortunately, I've read a number of scripts before (I own scripts from Star Trek and Doctor Who - and we were taught from scripts at school by the likes of Arthur Miller and William Shakespeare), so wasn't phased by the difference in format. In fact, I quite like the format of a script, as it gives the right amount of description to force my brain to put in some work in the imagination department, unlike in a novel where it thinks someone else has done the work and I don't need to visualise it. There were a few places where I found it awkward though, such as scene breaks that return to the same scene afterward (like a TV show ad break) or over use of one particular uncommon word in the stage directions.
I felt that the opening was fairly predictable, and was lulled into thinking it would continue that way, but then was hit by several things, before the plot twisted off in directions I never would have guessed. It addresses a number of elements from the books that hadn't even occurred to me as needing following up on, and certainly adds a great new dynamic particularly to the characters' relationships as we see them in new situations.
I was thoroughly satisfied with this book, despite it being fairly quick to read (I read the first half twice before allowing myself to progress, which not only dragged out the experience but helped me take it all in). I look forward to one day being able to see it performed on the stage.
Update 1st February 2020
Inspired by a friend going to see it on stage, I chose to read the script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child again.
As a reminder of the spectacle of the live performance, it does well - some of the scenes are certainly better seen than read, but the dialogue remains solid and the emotions of some of the relationships come through well.
The plot seemed less patchy than I'd remembered, although does still suffer from the one issue that many people have entirely rejected this story for.
I enjoyed reading it again, and am sure I will again in the future.