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20 September 2017
A sign for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is displayed at the Palace Theater. Photo by Counse, copyright Flickr

The Saga Continues Nineteen Years Later: The Cursed Child

Written by guest writer Marissa McCollum

After many years of adoration from millions of devoted fans, the Harry Potter universe welcomed its newest story. J.K. Rowling’s script-style continuation, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, is thrilling and new, and it pays perfect homage to the classic series that so many love.

The book picks up a generation after the famed face-off between Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort. The fan-favorite characters have children that go to Hogwarts where they get into the same trouble that readers have come to expect from Potter and pals. As Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy grow and learn within the magical walls of the school, they make new friends and deal with their respective reputations and legacies. Soon enough, they find themselves involved with magical mayhem, especially with time travel, which is something readers were interested in when it played a role in the plot of the third novel in the series, Prisoner of Azkaban. As the boys create paradoxes and meddle with the laws of magic, they learn more about the old conflicts of Harry Potter with Voldemort and the age-old battle between good and evil. They also discover the most important things in life: legacy, loyalty, and love.

J.K. Rowling’s new story and new format has the perfect balance of new material and beloved constants. As I began to read, I doubted that the format of a play could do the story justice. After all, a story is partly defined by its use of language, and working only with dialogue couldn’t possibly provide enough insight and description for such a detailed and emotional plot, or so I thought. I was wholly shocked by the imaginative ways of portraying the feelings of the characters, which I think is something that books can do better than movies. The stage directions take on a new meaning and don’t  just describe the events and mannerisms of the characters; they also cut into the core of motivation. As a whole, the theatrical style greatly benefits the new direction of the story and tells the tale in a way that no one else could tell it in.

However, the book wasn’t all roses and rainbows. Certain aspects of the new story seemed out of place or surreal. The imagined futures of some beloved characters seemed forced, awkward or, worse, predictable. Seeing Ginny work for The Daily Prophet and Hermione as the Minister of Magic is one thing, but with Ron as the new manager of Weasley Wizard Wheezes, bad fan-formed ideas and cliches are bound to resurface. Some of the relationships explored in Cursed Child were also uncomfortable; Albus and Scorpius’ friendship had some strained and uneasy moments. Despite this, many of the characters that weren’t previously developed had their time to shine. Albus Potter steps out of his dad’s larger-than-life shadow, and Scorpius Malfoy provides some much needed revelation into a darker life on the other side of the curtain as his reputation hounds him throughout the book. Even Amos Diggory is acknowledged in new ways after his abrupt departure in book four.

As a whole, JK Rowling’s inventive style, magical language, and dynamic characters are definitely maintained in this newest addition to the successful series. Any fan of Harry Potter must read this exciting new installment.

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