The moment I read that "Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much." I was hooked, I was a Potterhead and proud of it, thank you very much.
I stood in line for books, for midnight movies, I sequestered myself from my family for half a day so I could read "The Deathly Hallows" in one sitting, as soon as it was released so I wouldn't hear a whisper of a spoiler. I have a shelf of Harry Potter figures at work, and a boxed set of hard covers that are never to be touched (I still re-read my original soft covers but that boxed set is precious).
You would think then that I was over the moon excited at the release of "The Cursed Child" this summer, and you would be right and also wrong. This was after all a very big robe to fill. The broomstick needed to measure up.
First of all I should explain that this isn't a book; it's a screenplay. "The Cursed Child" is wowing on the stage in London, but for all of us Potterheads who cannot afford the trip and the tickets, J.K Rowling gifted us this script.
Overcoming the style then was a difficulty I will admit, reading a screenplay is vastly different than reading a novel; however that wasn't as difficult as I had imagined.
The difficulties came in other ways. Seeing the trio as fully formed adults was a challenge. I've read the first seven books so many times that Harry, Ron, and Hermione are as familiar to me as any real live people. Unlike real live people though, they are frozen in the way all our fictional friends freeze when we close the book and witnessing their adult flaws and missteps was not an easy transition.
I especially didn't enjoy the portrayal of Ron, our once loyal, brave Quidditch king and horcrux destroyer was painted as a joke, an ineffectual afterthought. While others have reported qualms with Harry's and Hermione's characters, this is my biggest character disappointment.
Missing as well was J.K Rowling's exquisite exposition. This to me was the worse thing about the whole experience. Throughout the Potter journey Rowling gives us some of the best exposition ever committed to paper, Dumbledore's musings in particular have been engraved upon our hearts and souls. This is a huge hole in "The Cursed Child", stage directions just do not pack the same punch.
The story though, the story was pure Rowling and I loved it. To see the world again was such a treat — so much has changed but so much has stayed the same. Hogwart's, the train, the lake, the ministry of magic (and Hermione we are so proud), it's all there.
That in and of itself would almost have been enough, but on top we get a spellbinding adventure with the sons of two enemies being the best of friends. An adventure that in true Potter style teaches love, acceptance, loyalty, and bravery. That leaves us on the edge of our seats turning pages as fast as our eyes will allow.
That is the magic of this world, it draws you in and refuses to let you go. Harry Potter is more than just a book series, it is a whole world that has captivated millions, so when we are disappointed in this new offering, it isn't that it isn't good, because it is, it's simply because it wasn't enough.
I closed the cover on "The Cursed Child" thinking I want more, I want more of Rowling's writing, of the trio, of the next generation, I want to see Hagrid and Neville and Luna. I want to immerse myself in this world again. That is the magic of Harry Potter. Come check it out at Lewisporte Public Library!
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