Books Reviews

Loving the new Harry Potter play – from East to West, from Pakistan to the U.S.

A bookstore in Marietta, Georgia promotes the new Harry Potter play. (Madeleine Deisen/YJI)
Note: Contains no major plot spoilers
ATLANTA, Georgia, U.S.A. and LAHORE, Pakistan – Since the release of the last Harry Potter book, avid fans have been yearning for more about the magical world and its characters, who feel more real than fictional to many Potterheads.
And since author J.K. Rowling announced the release of the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – the latest addition to the Harry Potter series – that desire only grew.
On July 31st, Harry Potter’s and Rowling’s birthdays, Cursed Child was finally released, to the delight of the Muggle world.
At the midnight book release at Barnes and Noble store in Atlanta, Georgia, Harry Potter fans of all ages united to receive their copies as soon as possible.
In Pakistan, the new release spurred long lines and even themed cupcakes for the excited crowds.
Even though the play is an extension of the Harry Potter books, readers expecting a similar style of writing will be disappointed.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a play, not a book. As such, the rich, descriptive narrative of the original series isn’t part of the story.
One of the best parts of the play is the friendship between Albus, Harry’s son, and Scorpius, Draco’s son.
Their unlikely friendship starts on their first day at Hogwarts on the Hogwarts Express. After the train arrives at Hogwarts, they both are sorted into Slytherin House. We fast forward through their first three years, and most of the play takes place during their fourth year at the magical school.
Throughout the play, the two boys are tirelessly dedicated to each other, especially because they both face bullies while at Hogwarts. It is difficult for Albus to find friends because he is sorted into Slytherin House, and since he is Harry Potter’s son, this creates even more gossip about him.
Albus grows to feel miserable at Hogwarts, in contrast the happiness Harry found there, which puts a strain on their relationship, because neither of them can understand the other’s opinion about the wizarding school.
Scorpius also faces bullies at Hogwarts because there are terrible rumors that he is Voldemort’s son. However, the two boys find solace from their unhappiness in their friendship. They are honest, but caring. They overcome the greatest of obstacles to their friendship and to the wizarding world.
Even though they are certainly flawed and nearly destroy Harry’s legacy, they realize, fix, and learn from their mistakes, and come out of it closer friends and better people.
It was interesting to see familiar characters in a new, fuller light. After watching Harry, Hermoine, Ron, Ginny and Draco grow up together as children into teenagers and then adults, we see them balancing their jobs with their family relationships.
Harry is no longer an almost-flawless hero. He struggles and often fails to be a good father to Albus, which is heartbreaking to read, but also adds to the humanity of the play.
There is also a glimpse of Draco’s gentler side in his love for his son. The friendship of Harry’s and Draco’s sons even united the two former rivals for the safety of their children.
The characters are not always black and white; there are conflicts between right and wrong inside each of them, and the right intentions often led to decidedly wrong consequences.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child may disappoint some fans because of the differences from the original series, the play format, and the changes in beloved characters. Still, it was a treat to return to the magical world of Harry Potter and be immersed in its stories once again, and Rowling’s latest certainly left her fans wanting even more.
Madeleine Deisen and Arooj Khalid are Reporters for Youth Journalism International.
Covering Harry Potter since our first report in April, 2000.
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