Anyone who has read J. K. Rowling’s seven-volume Harry Potter series knows that the author is no novice when it comes to creating coming of age stories that allows readers to fall into a world of enchantment and learn the importance of love, loyalty, and friendship. The brilliant author has created an empire for herself, and her fan base is massive. People of all ages have followed the story of The Boy That Lived and witnessed with him grow from a mistreated child under a staircase into a reluctant hero, finally coming into his own as a courageous man who has saved the magical world of witchcraft and wizardry on more than a couple of occasions.
Rowling has, once again, outdone herself. Her newest masterpiece, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, is a play set 19 years after we left Harry and his young son, Albus Severus, on Platform 9 ¾. Act I, Scene I is that exact scene, exciting readers over the fact that we are able to pick up precisely where we left off at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Our legendary hero, now middle aged, has settled into a life working at the Ministry of Magic. Readers (and patrons who are lucky enough to see the play in London) are able to become familiar with the next generation of Hogwarts’ students while also getting reacquainted with some favorite characters from the original seven books. Going back to revisit great moments in the series while hurling toward the conclusion is the perfect way to wrap up this voyage that we’ve all taken together.
Sceptics have worried about The Cursed Child, partly because Rowling collaborated with playwright, Jack Thorne, and director, John Tiffany. Rest assured, fellow Potterheads, the dialogue and flow of this book is everything that you expect from Rowling. Because it is a play, it does lack some of her imaginative touches, but those who have been with the characters from their first day at King’s Cross Station can easily follow along without the aid of Rowling’s descriptions. She did such an amazing job in each of her previous books that we are able to conjure up images of Hogwarts, Hogsmeade, and Godric’s Hollow on our own now, which is a testament to Rowling’s attention to detail and ability to draw a picture with her words.
Cynics have also worried that reading this story in play form will take away from the Harry Potter experience and transport us back to 9th grade English when we had to suffer through Hamlet. True lovers of the series will dive right into this book and devour it the same way that they tore through all of the previous seven stories. Reading this play is much like running into an old friend. There are some changes, but you are so excited to catch up and see what they’ve been up to that you overlook the differences and just enjoy spending time with someone you love. You allow yourself to get carried away with the excitement of it all, and those minor deviations no longer seem important or even noticeable. Once readers fall down the rabbit hole that is the world of Harry Potter, they will no longer realize that they are simply reading dialogue on a page. The story washes over them as they teleport to the world that we all know and love.
Rowling has been pleading with the public for well over a month, asking people keep the secrets of the cursed child and not to ruin this final part of the story for those who have not read the book or seen the play. At this point, the internet is crawling with spoilers. Every major news outlet has released a review, spilling details along the way, and there are some people who act as if they’ve drank some of Professor Snapes’ Veritaserum (truth serum) and they can’t keep the secrets contained. This muggle is going to respect the #keepthesecrets movement. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the absolute last leg of this adventure, and every fan deserves to savor the moment. It is truly an end of an era.
This play is a must read for all Potterheads. It is a bittersweet walk down memory lane and a wonderful way to wrap up what has been an epic journey. While I will not divulge any secrets that are hidden between the book covers, I will offer you a word of advice. Take your time reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Value it. Don’t rush through it, even though you and I both know that you are dying to see what happens. Once you read that last word, it’s over, so appreciate this gift that has been given to you by J. K. Rowling. Grab a mug of your favorite drink (a little butter beer, perhaps), cozy up in your favorite reading nook, and take a leisurely stroll through the Great Hall with all of the characters that you have allowed into your heart. Enjoy the last bit of time that you have with them. The next time you read the book, you will greet them as old friends, but enjoy the time that you have been given to meet and get to know these new characters and learn about the older ones.