on July 31, 2016
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.
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.
**This Post Contains Some Cursed Child Spoilers**
When the script book of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was released I saw a few negative reactions. I’ve watched numerous reviews on YouTube where the presenter was not fond of it and I’ve read blog posts along similar lines.
I, on the other hand, loved this story. I’ve been lucky enough to see it on stage as well which ramps up the awesomeness even more.
I love seeing Harry, Ron, and Hermione grown up and facing new problems. More than that, though, I enjoyed the themes of family relationships, he fallout of the ‘chosen one’ storyline, time travel, and the way the Hogwarts House stereotypes were tested.
In this story the focus is on Albus, Harry Potter’s son. He has to deal with the burden of being the child of a celebrity and being marked as ‘different’ for being placed in Slytherin versus Gryffindor (where most of his family are). This is one of the consequences of Harry’s ‘chosen one’ status from the Harry Potter series. His whole family effectively carry the burden of his past whether they want to or not. This causes people to make assumptions about his children and if they don’t match those assumptions, like Albus, they receive negative attention.
On the other side of Albus’ story we have Harry who is evidently struggling with fatherhood as someone who hasn’t had a dedicated father figure to model himself on. He grew up feeling like an isolated member of the Dursley household for years. As an adult he is faced with the challenge of being a big figure in the family he has made for himself with little guidance or knowledge of how to do so.
I like that this story had a focus on two Slytherin students to evidence that there is much more to this House than the dark stereotypes. Scorpius, Draco’s son, is the best ambassador for this Slytherin rebrand. He’s super clever, sweet and loyal. I also liked how Draco is depicted in this story and that him and his father-son relationship is placed on the same page as Harry’s. This offers an interesting comparison as both Scorpius and Albus have been judged based on their family in different ways.
Another thing I enjoyed about this story is how it reflects on the casualties of the chosen one’s journey. People like Cedric Diggory die in the wake of Harry’s journey through the Harry Potter books. These are innocent people who have their chance to have their own story stripped from them because they are secondary to the ‘main character’. On top of that these innocents leave behind families and friends who are touched deeply by the tragedy.
What responsibility does the ‘chosen one’ have to these casualties of their story? It’s an interesting question and I enjoy how it’s explored in Cursed Child. Cursed Child shows us that Harry’s story, and that of the wizarding world at large, doesn’t just end with a neat bow on top at the end of Deathly Hallows. Cursed Child deepens my concept of Harry’s world and brings it back to life in a thought provoking and narratively conscious way.
Time travel is a favourite plot device of mine. Cursed Child uses time travel to excellent effect to play with alternate realities and explore the different routes Harry’s story could have taken. It also gives characters like Harry and Ginny a chance to confront the traumas of the past as adults. It’s the perfect setup for character development whilst also giving a fresh new look at scenes Harry Potter fans are already familiar with.
I will probably talk about Cursed Child and it”s themes again in a future post but for now I think I’ve sufficiently explained why I enjoy it.
Have you read Cursed Child or watched it on stage? What’s your opinion on it?