The Magic is Lost: The Cursed Child Review
From the first moment I heard that there was going to be a new book in the series, I was excited. I didn’t really care about the fact that it was going to be in a new format, or that it would not completely focus on Harry himself. As a devoted fan of the series, however, I must say that while this new addition to my collection of books was wonderfully written and had all the magic of JK Rowling’s work, it lacked something. The story brought back so many memories of reading the original books, but in some ways failed to capture the sense of exhilaration and wonder that I still feel when I read (for probably the twentieth time) for example, the Prisoner of Azkaban (possibly my favourite of the seven).
Surprisingly, it turns out that the medium of theater is a better fit for the material than film, because in a theater magic tricks really look, well, magical.Leslie Felperin
What I did enjoy was the way the Cursed Child did justice to the different elements of a play, the most unique of which was the truly spectacular four or five lined description of time turning (spoiler alert – two of them survived the destruction at the ministry) that was repeated several times throughout. It reminded me of all the reasons I had loved the series as a child, and why I still continue to do so. The stage cues, the voice whispering from behind the audience, the descriptions of flying objects over the heads of the crowd and various other tiny, well thought out details made me feel like I was actually viewing the performance, instead of just reading words off a page.
One thing I particularly did not like was how Harry Potter was portrayed in some parts of the book. It is hard for me to describe, but I felt like his ‘voice’ had somehow changed, and not for the better. Towards the end, although, it felt more natural and less like a character he was being forced into just to further the storyline. My main issue with the book was that it seemed like well executed fanfiction to me. While it is understandable that some things about the future of the original characters are to be expected, this book did not tell me anything new about the Harry Potter universe. A new story, a couple of new characters, and one not-so-shocking revelation about Voldemort; the only actually surprising twist was the Hogwarts Express trolley lady and her single scene, which was frankly a bit unnecessary.
Though the book was slightly underwhelming and frankly too short to be satisfying, I want to bring to attention that branching out from the usual novel format was a definite success. I think that the authors have done a fantastic job of bringing together the different components of a stage production, keeping in mind its restrictions and still doing justice to the original wizarding world. I also liked how the story brought in more emphasis on dialogue between the characters and focused on their relationships. While most Harry Potter fans will be a tad disappointed, I want to say that it is definitely worth reading even if it is just to get know Scorpius Malfoy who is unexpectedly wonderful, and to experience that warm fuzzy feeling of returning to a place that truly makes you happy, even if the colours have faded slightly!