31 July 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2 by JK Rowling, adapted by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

Summary from Goodreads:
The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

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.

My kingdom for enough money to fly to London and see this live.

OK, so everyone under the sun is going to have a review of HP8.  I'm going to throw out a few thoughts here and otherwise advise you to read it yourself if you want to have an opinion.  I'm going to try not to spoil the plot.

First, I did like this a lot.  I thought it was very intriguing and well-paced (Act II cliff-hanger, whaaaaaat) with a lot of good ideas.  Rowling plays with a lot of themes she couldn't in the original seven books.  What kind of a parent would Harry be and how would he deal with a child both so very different and so very much the same as himself?  How does being "the boy who lived" still weigh on Harry?  How does the legacy weigh on his children?  How do his adult relationships change?

Second, given that this is a play there is no narrator unlike the previous seven books.  All those books - with the exception of the first chapter/prologue of each - were narrated via Harry's limited, and often quite biased, perspective.  With a play, there is no filter.  Each character speaks directly to the reader/audience.  And I find that the most interesting aspect of Cursed Child.  How would the series have turned out if Rowling had used a different type of narrator or shifted the perspective between characters?  Very different, I think.

Third, the stagecraft required of this play is going to be of the mind-bogglingly difficult kind.  I would love to see that set design.  (And the stage directions are very amusing to read.)

Dear FTC: I bought my copy of this book - OF COURSE - after flying back from Atlanta in the morning and working a release party at the bookstore at night.

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