First Lines: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

After seven books and eight movies, for me, the Harry Potter saga was over and done with. The additional books — Quidditch through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Tales of Beedle the Bard — aren’t essential in the grand scheme of things, and all those little updates J.K. Rowling released on Pottermore? I’d rather she didn’t. I don’t know what she’s trying to do with those after-the-fact updates, but it feels completely off to me. I mean, if Dumbledore being gay was such a big deal, why wasn’t that explicitly mentioned in the books?

Just leave it alone already.

Which brings us to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a new play by Jack Thorne based on an new original story by Rowling, Thorne and John Tiffany. The script used during the rehearsals of the play has been published as a “Special Rehearsal Edition”.

Going in, I was under the impression that the play would mostly be about Harry’s son going to Hogwarts, and having to deal with having a famous father. What I got was Harry, Ron and Hermione saving the day after Harry Jr. and Draco Jr. get their hands on a timeturner and use it to Make Things Right. And, of course, there are BIG FEELS and all ends well.

What I would have loved, was the story of young Albus Potter, of how he deals with his famous father’s legacy hanging over his head, and of his friendship with Scorpius Malfoy. That his father drops him off at the train, and that that would be the last we see of Old Harry, until he picks him up at the station when the play is done. But it was not to be. Of course not. You cannot call a thing Harry Potter and the Adjective of Something or Other and not stick Harry Potter in it. The fans would riot, even though it probably would have been better. But what do I know?

So, basically, the parts about young Potter and young Malfoy bromancing it up (get a room already!) were pretty good, the parts with the old gang less so (as they seemed out of character most of the time), and timeturners as a plot device still suck. Perhaps they will have fixed some issues in rehearsals, but we’ll have to wait until 2017, when the “Definitive Collectors Edition” of the script will be published, to find out.

All in all, to me Harry Potter and the Cursed Child felt like a mere aside in the Harry Potter cycle when I’m feeling generous, and like a money grab in the Harry Potter franchise when I’m not.

On a final note: now, if done right, I could totally get behind the upcoming five-part Harry Potter-prequel Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie-franchise, as it (supposedly) expands the Harry Potter-universe, while leaving The Boy Who Lived the hell alone. As Rowling has said that this is it for Harry, I’m feeling hopeful. The trailer looks mighty nice.

Book read
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Special Rehearsal Edition). Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. A new Play by Jack Thorne.
First line
A busy and crowded station. Full of people trying to go somewhere. Amongst the hustle and bustle, two large cages rattle on top of two laden trolleys. They’re being pushed by two boys, JAMES POTTER and ALBUS POTTER, their mother, GINNY, follows after. A thirty-seven-year-old man, HARRY, has his daughter, LILY, on his shoulders.

ALBUS: Dad. He keeps saying it.