Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany

  Yes, it's time for this review.
  If you have not read the much anticipated Harry Potter and the Cursed Child yet and are interested to hear my viewpoint before you go into it, have no fear, because my reviews are spoiler-free.
  It's 1997. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone has just been released. An author, rejected by so many publishers, has no idea what lies in store for her and her story. A boy, with a lightning bolt-shaped scar, has just been born by paper and ink, and his world is about to change forever.
  It's 2007. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has just come out at midnight, and I am an out-of-breath eager (almost) twelve year-old, with a fresh, new hardcover in my hands.
  The Battle at Hogwarts had not happened. No one had yet perished at the hands of the Dark Lord (besides those who died in previous books). I had no idea that all would be well. All I knew was that this was the last book, and I had it in my hands. The final chapter of Harry's story. The book that completed the series, and the book that would tell all.
  I, like many others, thought that it was over.
  Fast-forward to 2011, I am an emotional fifteen year-old, who is wearing entirely too much makeup in hopes that my crush would finally ask me out. I am sitting in a dark theater, surrounded by fans both young and old, head to toe in Wizarding garb. Robes, scarves, glasses (taped in the middle), and lightning scars galore, I am in my element.
  This was the end. The last time I would hear Hedwig's Theme playing as the Warner Brothers sign edged closer and closer to the camera (which I later found out was in fact replaced by Lily's Theme, much to my surprise and tearful delight). This was the last time I would see a Harry Potter movie for the FIRST time. This was the end.
  I, like many others, thought that it was over.
  It is now 2016, and I am twenty-one. I am sitting on the stage in the children's section of Barnes and Noble, making wands with hundreds of children and adults (five or so at a time). Once again, robes, lightning scars, and wizard hats galore, and I am overly thrilled to be surrounded by my people.
  But this time, I'm noticing something that wasn't there five years ago. Babies, toddlers, and young children, children who weren't even alive when book seven came out, are possibly more excited than me. They're waving wands, casting spells, dueling, and answering trivia that even gave me a pause.
  The Harry Potter Generation has grown up, and has raised a new generation of nerds.
  I am standing in line for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and I am flanked by a woman in her mid-twenties, and two very young children who beg to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando every year for summer vacation.
  I am hit with nostalgia. Like a blast of cold wind in mid-February, my breath is taken away, and it hits me how many lives depend on the Wizarding World to turn on the light when the world seems the most dark.
  Nine years after book seven, five years after movie eight, and nineteen years later for Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco, and Ginny, we have our story.

  There is a common misconception that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is book eight (which is basically the fault of whoever decided to call it the eighth book as a tagline). Yes, it is the eighth story (nineteen years later), but no. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is not the eighth book.
  A Harry Potter book is written by J.K. Rowling, the Queen herself. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a script from the play currently in London, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which was written by two playwrights, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany.
  ANY reader who goes into this book expecting it to be like its seven predecessors will be severely disappointed. This is not the eighth book, it is a script, from a play, based off of J.K. Rowling's nineteen years later.
  In addition to that note, the book is laid out like a play. There are characters entering and exiting stage right and left, and it leaves a lot to the imagination because, as you may have guessed, THIS IS A PLAY. Not a book that gives you a clear visual of what's going on in the author's mind, it is a script, from a play, which is acted out on stage. I say there is a lot left to the imagination because John Tiffany and Jack Thorne have given us a visual as to what's happening, but we, as eager readers, have to resort to this Shakespearean form of technology called "using our imaginations" to grasp an idea of how the story is played (literally) out.
  What bugs me the most about the "Cursed Child" hype is that everyone is disappointed. This isn't what they thought/wanted/expected/yearned for for nine years. I say that we can't be picky with what J.K. Rowling herself releases to us, because when book seven came out, she said she was done. Done, done. And now we have Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Ilvermorny, new books, new movies, new Pottermore stories-
  (Takes a moment to take a sip of coffee and calm down.)
  I understand that many fans were disappointed with the eighth story. I don't relate, but I hear their outcries. I don't agree, but I listen.
  For an eighth "book" based off a play in London (that everyone was complaining they couldn't afford to see, and yet they're complaining about having the script now), written by two playwrights who are not J.K. Rowling, based off of J.K. Rowling's beloved characters, and continuing a story so dear to my heart, my life would be incomplete without it, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was everything I wanted and more.
  Completely, honestly, totally, swear to the book Gods, J.K. Rowling, and all that is holy, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was what I needed in my life.
  It adds such a new depth to the story, I literally cannot think back to it without crying. (More than I did before.) I cannot read Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban without crying. I cannot watch Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire without thinking "what could have been" and, yes, crying. I cannot think about that night at Godric's Hollow without wanting to find Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, grabbing them by their dress robes (everyone dresses like wizards in my mind) and sobbing, "WHY?"
  This eighth story sinks into your heart like the giant squid sinking into the Black Lake.
  There is one aspect of the book that throws me off, as it has with many others. (Again, no spoilers.) When I first finished the book, it unsettled me, because it gave me the gut-wrenching feeling of thinking perhaps this book would end up being a desperately-awaited disappointment. But after time, and the more I let the story settle in my brain, the more I realized that this is the Wizarding World. Not everything in the original seven books made sense when I first read them. Heck, I was a child. Of course they didn't make sense with the first read-through!
  That's why, after I finish rereading the first seven books for my third annual reread, I will reread Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and I will sob like Moaning Myrtle.
  So yes, this book can come off as being disappointing to some. For me personally, I feel sorry for those who didn't take out of it what I took out of it. I am sorry that it wasn't what many fans were expecting, and they went into it with preconceived notions.
  For me, a fan of Harry Potter, the Wizarding World, and J.K. Rowling ever since my mom first read them to me when I was five (after she picked up book one at a Scholastic book fair), I am in love with the eighth story.
  If you haven't read the book yet, please keep my warnings above in mind as your start it. Please don't go into it prepared to read it like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Please enjoy it for what it is, and for what the Queen has bestowed upon her loyal servants- er, fans.
  If you have, and you didn't like it, I am sorry. Please consider rereading it after some time, and see if you can come to terms with Jo, John, and Jack's story for Harry as an adult. As someone who accepted it right off the bat, I promise it isn't that bad. After some time to digest Harry and Albus Severus' fate, it's quite a satisfying beginning to the next (hopefully) more peaceful generation at Hogwarts.
  If you have, and you loved it, I only have one thing to say to you; For Voldemort and Valor.

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