Saturday, 21 January 2017

Book #03

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling

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.

Any time JK releases a new novel, I'm all over it like a Dementor on an escaped Azkaban convict. This one, I refused to buy until I had been to the play. And it was painful, it was horrible, it was brain chaos, knowing I could learn the story if I wanted to, that I was shunning my wizarding world, that all my favourites were in there, waiting for me. But thank Dumbledore I did, because it was so incredibly worth it.

I'll try to keep the review focused around the plot of the play, but I do have to express my joy, disbelief, and utter wonder at the things that were happening in front of me in the theatre. As someone who goes often, and knows all the tricks, I can only explain some of these as pure magic. There's simply no other explanation.

Reading the script before seeing the play would have entirely ruined the whole thing for me, and I thank my past self for making this decision. A script of a play is unable to convey any sort of depth, realness, or indeed, magic. It's raw until the director and producer put their own build on it, and the actors work on transforming themselves into their characters. If you've read this, disliked it, and haven't seen the play, it's not JK's fault - it's your own.

The plot is gorgeous, bringing back our favourite and least favourite characters, and plunging them again into a crisis that can only involve Dark Magic. It'll be difficult for me to describe without giving anything away (a man gave me a keep the secrets badge, and I promised him I would), but it's an entirely different take on the wizarding world, on Hogwarts, and on Harry.

It's completely different to the series, and isn't a rehash of what we've already experienced. It's mature, and the difference is in the format - no lengthy, fascinating descriptions of the setting; no seeing into the characters' thoughts; everything had to be conveyed by dialogue, and that naturally had to change the tone of the story. I wonder if that's why many people were disappointed.

Throughout both the play and the script, I had some constructive thoughts on both. I initially thought it too clean the way our trio had made their way in life. But, why shouldn't they? I thought there was a lack of problem solving and clues that JK had expertly weaved into the novels. But, this thing lasted, in total, around five hours to watch - how could she possibly add anything into it without losing something important? I've talked myself out of every single remotely negative thought I had - and I could probably talk you out of yours.

Lastly, I'd love to round off by talking at length about my one of the characters, but I won't do this in the interests of keep the secrets. Let's just say I have a new favourite Slytherin.

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