Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2

by J. K. Rowling

Hardcover, 2016



Local notes

Fic Row

(Special Rehearsal Edition Script)





Arthur A. Levine Books (2016), Edition: Special Rehearsal ed., 327 pages. $29.99.


As an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and a father, Harry Potter struggles with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs while his youngest son, Albus, finds the weight of the family legacy difficult to bear.


Buckeye Children's & Teen Book Award (Nominee — Grades 3-5 — 2017)
Tony Award (Winner — 2018)
The British Book Industry Awards (Shortlist — Children's Book — 2017)
Kids' Book Choice Awards (Finalist — 2017)
Australian Book Industry Awards (Shortlist — 2017)
Waterstones Book of the Year (Shortlist — 2016)
Berkshire Book Award (Winner — 2017)


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

327 p.; 6.4 inches

Media reviews

Un constat s'impose : c'est forcément beaucoup moins riche que les romans - on s'ennuie de la plume de Rowling et des passages plus narratifs.
14 more
D'accord, rien de tout cela n'a l'impact d'un «vrai» Harry Potter. Mais il fait tellement bon se promener dans ce monde-là, soulever le rideau pour découvrir anecdotes et secrets bien gardés!
Frankfurter Rundschau
Christian Bos ahnt es schon, Harry Potter gibt es künftig nur noch als Spektakel. Wenn nun J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany und Jack Thorne den offiziellen achten Teil der Saga vorlegen, macht Bos erst einmal klar, dass es sich nicht um einen Roman, sondern um die Textfassung zu dem Stück handelt, das
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derzeit am Londoner Palace-Theatre läuft, und zwar auch nur um die Probenfassung, die Endfassung erscheint, gewinnträchtigerweise, dann demnächst. Zum Inhalt verrät Bos dies: Harry, 19 Jahre nach seinem Sieg über Voldemort, bringt seinen Sohn zum Zug ins Zauberinternat, der aber hat einen gewöhnungsbedürftigen neuen Freund: Scorpius Malfoy, einziger Sohn Dracos. Da muss sich Bos erst einmal kneifen. Der Rest der Story scheint ihm vor allem von Zeitreisen in die gute alte Zauberwelt zu leben. Das Original erreicht der Text nicht, meint Bos. Und wer liest schon gern Regieanweisungen?
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Le temps d’une lecture souvent avalée d’une traite, on assiste à des retrouvailles dans le ton et non dénuées d’émotion, à défaut de faire renaître tout à fait la même magie que celle déployée par Rowling par le passé.
It’s ambitious, studded with predictable and consequently satisfying twists that reach a critical mass in the finale. This feels very much like Rowling ... Even in the relatively fixed future where most of Cursed Child takes place, the characters are the right degree of surprising. Harry Potter
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himself has been so thoroughly, faithfully imagined since 1997 that it’s satisfying to see him as a crappy father and an awkward bureaucrat ... Without set decoration, it cleanly shows the moral imagination of the Harry Potter universe, in which goodness is circumstantial and endings are never guaranteed.
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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the bare-bones script of a play. And yet, it has the same addictive drive as Rowling’s novels ... Thorne has by some sort of alchemy written a book that I would previously have assumed only J.?K. Rowling could write. The humor is Rowling’s, as is the
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tightrope-with-an-umbrella execution of a formidably complicated plot and Rowling’s sturdy, pragmatic morality, where the high cost of doing the right thing is nevertheless worth paying.
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Thankfully, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has added a much-needed coda that reminds us of the original seven book-series’ complex folds and wrinkles. In short: this script’s existence makes the Harry Potter series better ... The action, which picks up where the epilogue leaves off, bears
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Rowling’s best storytelling hallmarks: breathless, well-choreographed adventure setpieces, along with chemistry between the original characters ... The script’s dialogue is fine, although it lacks Rowling’s particular talent for precise verbal humor.
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...once you begin reading, your imagination fills in the background, the stage set, and the characters' physical appearance and voices. Our imaginations may not be enough to evoke the dazzling special effects the stage version is being celebrated for, but fans will slide quite easily into this
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beloved and familiar world ... a most satisfying and well-done follow-up to Deathly Hallows. It's beautifully written and achieves Shakespearean levels of drama.
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As Albus and Scorpius struggle with living under the shadows cast by their fathers, Cursed Child too seems to wrestle with its legacy, borrowing heavily from older stories while simultaneously challenging the confines of their world ... what’s most remarkable about Thorne’s work is how smoothly
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it flows. At its best, it’s as gripping as many of Rowling’s books were ... Thorne’s Harry Potter, all grown up, features prominently in the play, and the tension between him and his son is one of the most frustrating plot points, born out of dramatic necessity and riddled with cliché and angsty platitudes ... Reading Cursed Child, for all its compelling twists and turns, at many points feels like reading well-crafted fan fiction—the names are the same, and the characters feel familiar, but it’s apparent that they’re imitations nonetheless.
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Thorne does an admirable job of crawling into the headspace of Rowling’s characters while giving their progeny their own bravado and humour. Where Rowling delighted readers with her deft descriptions, Thorne provides sparse stage directions. This convention, the most obvious change in the
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storytelling, doesn’t immediately reveal its effectiveness but as the story progresses its impact is impressive ... Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a shout out to aficionados that welcomes newcomers into its universe.
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[Cursed Child is] a compelling, stay-up-all-night read ... this play nimbly sustains itself simply by situating its canny story line in that world and remaining true to its characters and rules. As in the books, the suspense here is electric and nonstop, and it has been cleverly constructed around
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developments recalling events in the original Potter novels.
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Cursed Child is, in many ways, a direct response to criticism, taking readers back to the great moments of the series while also spinning the Potterverse forward. In critiquing and potentially changing Harry’s past, the play justifies its own portrayal of his future. And while reading the script
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is an incomplete experience -- noticeably lacking the richness that acting and staging would add to a realized production and the familiar Rowling prose a novel would have contained -- it may capture just enough of the old Potter magic to please even the most skeptical fans.
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As a reading experience, Cursed Child has much to recommend it. The characters are vividly drawn, and the plot is full of great twists yet consistent with the earlier stories ... Cursed Child might not be quite a magical as Rowling's novels, but it's enough to hold me until I find a spell for
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putting one of those [play] tickets into my hand.
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...the Cursed Child rehearsal script manages to throw a wild new wrench into the Potter series, unlocking a rarely tapped portal of the reader’s imagination in a way no Potter book has before ... Cursed Child teems with the clever, cerebral thrills we’ve come to demand in a Potter tale ... On a
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purely narrative level, this new story introduces captivating arcs and bold theories that immediately place this sequel squarely in Rowling’s world of simmering, slow-burn machinations.
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Ne boudons donc pas notre plaisir, car ce nouveau livre de la saga Potter est une vraie réussite pour tous.

User reviews

LibraryThing member dpappas
I tried going in to reading this with no expectations but quite frankly I knew I wasn't going to like this. I was all for keeping this series as it was and not adding any prequels, sequels, or spinoffs. The fact that this play isn't even written by J.K. Rowling but based on a story she wrote with a
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couple of people rubs me the wrong way as well.

Initially when I first started reading this I was horrified at how repulsive I found it to be. It did not have the same magic of the series (I do not consider this whatsoever to be the eighth part of the series) and I was just baffled at how the characters were acting. This felt like a Harry Potter fan fiction that was turned into a play.

I do admit the more that I read it the less horrified and disgusted I was. The story does get a little better but still does have its outlandish moments. I don't want to give any spoilers away for you brave souls who want to read this. Maybe if I hadn't have loved the series as much as I did I may have actually enjoyed this more. As you can see from my review all this managed to do was turn me into a raving lunatic.
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LibraryThing member sarahlh
I enjoyed the Albus/Scorpius bits but the rest of it was too daft for my tastes. The various plot twists were kind of mindless, and I couldn't recognize Harry's voice in most of it. Also, the staging seems like it would have served better as a film script than a stage play. But I guess it could
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have been worse?
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LibraryThing member LisaMaria_C
So much love! OK, first of all, it’s in script format. No doubt that disappointed some--it's not a new novel. But for me it was a plus. For one, none of the stylistic tics that have bugged me in Rowling were present: No jarring book-saids or adjective abuse. It’s not bloated in plot; there
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aren’t any plot holes that I can see. One of my friends said she did roll her eyes at one aspect, but even with her that was a minor complaint.

There's another way I find this a past due recognition. The way Gryffindor dominated the other books and all the Slytherins were depicted negatively really bugged me. One quarter of the kids are cool and another quarter evil little tyrants or their followers in the making? Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff still don't get their due but at least there are heroic Slytherins in this one and some Gryffindors who... well, let's say make some mistakes. There's one line of McGongall's I've been waiting for *someone* to say to Harry Potter for years: "The lesson even your father sometimes failed to heed is that bravery doesn’t forgive stupidity."

A lot of the lines are witty, out and out funny and/or wise. There are some old favorite characters that unexpectedly show up--a highlight of the book for me. And I love, love Scorpius beyond measure. In fact, in the immediate aftermath of reading this I'd name this my favorite Harry Potter story. No doubt partly because it's been a long time--I hadn't realized how much I'd missed them all.
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LibraryThing member Jonez

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child 4am review/rant:

This is a difficult review, and one I may end up thinking on and possibly editing in the future. I first have to say that I went into this with an open mind. This isn't an eighth novel penned by JK Rowling. It is a collaboration, it's is meant
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for the stage and it is more a love letter come to life for the potter universe and its fans. Now, I could say this is almost like a piece of fan-fiction, and with that mindset I could probably enjoy it a bit more. Accept...JK's hands and blessing were on this. THAT my friends is where the problems begin. Let's start with what I liked, because there was a lot that I liked. From this point on...here be spoilers.

What I am okay with:
A stage production isn't meant to have the same pace as a novel. It is meant to be theatrical in nature. It's meant to sweep back and forth between acts sharply with crescendos, dives and peaks. It's often meant to have a cast of characters that represent different aspects of the human condition, and often times this means creating over the top or cartoonish characters. A play is meant to give the feel of a lot happening in a small span of time, so I can forgive some of the cartoonish bastardizations of our loved characters, the pace and timing and the showy dialogue. I also appreciate the stage directions, which lay down the workings for a wonderful theatrical experience. As far as those bastardized characters go...

Ron was a bumbling fool (ugh. Okay, okay...ill let it go. It upsets me, but I'll let it go).
Draco is slightly redeemed.
Albus (Harry and Ginny's son) turns out to be the black sheep.
And the character Scorpius saves us all with how amazing he is.
Snape comes back. A universe with a Snape. Yes. All the feels.
I have heard some reviews where people are upset about how Harry is portrayed. Harry is a bit tough on his son and has problems showing his love for him in a more direct way. Considering Harry's past and as someone who is now 40, I can say with authority that as you get older, you will find even with the best intentions as a parent you will say the wrong sh*t and screw up in ways you promised yourself you wouldn't. This Harry is not one I find fault in.

Other elements I appreciated:
The magic in this play sounds like it would be amazing to see on stage, and I'm jealous that I can't. Also, the deep love and friendship between Albus and Scorpius. Loved!!! However, this "friendship" itself seemed safe. I'll get to that in a moment.

My biggest problem:
The premise. The entire plot. Yes. I had to say it. Rowling forgive me I had to. Time travel? Why? Time travel!?!

As we know from the cannon the entire stock of Time-Turners, located in the Time Room, in the Ministry of Magic were rendered useless during the Battle of the Department of Mysteries in 1996. For these aforementioned turners, the longest period that may be relived without the possibility of serious harm to the traveller or to time itself is supposed to be around five hours. But in this story a prototype is created that goes back even farther.

And a duplicate exists, one that belonged to Dracos father (mentioned and revealed conveniently towards the end of the play by Draco). You know...one that would probably have been useful back in the previous books at helping Voldemort beat Harry...one that could have aided the Malfoys...One that could have helped Draco...

In the play this prototype is used by Albus and best friend (shipped) Scorpius to go back a period of about 19 years to alter time. But don't worry...only for five minutes (except Dracos. The Malfoy's turner had no such restrictions. Ahhh the convenience of this showing up last minute). The prototype time turners are used four times in the space of days. Four. Times. It has serious consequences each time, but all are remedied by simply turning that clock back and going back to make quick little fixes...

Here lies my biggest peeve. They seriously alter time four times, opening several parallel universes in process, and somehow are unharmed and are completely aware of the first timeline and are shocked when entering the aftermath of each new timeline. They never change or alter with time. How?WTF? They do this over and over again. Playing hopscotch with realities and time lines. This throws away the basic rules laid out before in the previous cannon( and in pretty much all acceptable bookish theories of time travel) that use of a time turner can't seriously alter time lines. No doubt this makes good stage, but it still leaves a heck of a bad taste in my mouth.This is like trying to build a good story on the shakiest foundation humanely possible. Crap, not well thought out, not well presented, not well represented...time travel.

Not to mention the original turning of time is all to bring back Cedric Digory. A character who was always established as both kind and brave, but apparently would completely give up his base instincts and character if humiliated in the slightest, resulting in him turning into a death eater. One that will kill Neville Longbottom and therefore negate the death of the snake nagini, and make Voldemort victorious. Once again, all as a result of being embarrassed at a tournament. Death eater. Really?

Why? To issue in a prophecy that is apparently less stable then the actual time travel. One that has us now believing that Bellatrix somehow secretly gave birth to the Spawn of Voldemort.

I just. I can't. I'm having a hard time.

Also, Albus and Scorpious' relationship. What happened there? It seemed to be a build up to a beautiful relationship...and then it wasn't. Suddenly it went from there is no one I would want to spend my last moments with more than you to oh yeah, I'm completely heterosexual and just asked Rose to the dance. Suddenly the decision was made to play it safe? What was that? Now I'm wondering if JK will do what she is famous for and spin a homosexual relationship angle for these characters AFTER they are off the page (cough cough...Dumbledore).

Still, being in this world was still fun. I still loved the characters, I still enjoyed the read, even the cringe worthy plot device didn't completely kill the experience for me. Still, it was not a great experience.
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LibraryThing member nikkinmichaels
Halfway through, I thought I'd be giving this 2 stars — and if it weren't for the nostalgia factor finally overwhelming me, I would've. CURSED CHILD is lazily written, with on-the-nose dialogue and over-the-top characters pretty unlike the original novels, but in the end it's not, in fact, a
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novel. If you keep in mind throughout the reading experience that this is truly meant to be seen rather than read, you'll likely enjoy it more. But let's be honest: it was SO GOOD to be back in the Wizarding World again.
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LibraryThing member Sylvester_Olson
So there's this variety show on NPR called "A Prairie Home Companion." Terrific writing, great music, wonderful humor, and lots of inside jokes for my fellow Norveejun Looterans. I've listened to "Prairie Home" in the car (especially during long drives) for many years now, and am sad to hear that
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Garrison Keillor has retired.

About ten years ago, director Robert Altman adapted this show into a major motion picture. Most people seemed to enjoy it, and I believe that I ought to give the flick another viewing sometime. But in all honesty, the results of adapting a radio variety show into movie format was a bit odd for me. There was nothing that the movie really added to "Prairie Home." It didn't add to the continuing story of Guy Noir, Private Eye, or Dusty and Lefty the Cowboys, etc. All it did was showcase the program for another medium.

So what does this have to do with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?

Everything, in fact.

I think that most reviewers out there have it all wrong. This is not the eighth Harry Potter book, despite what the publishing marketers want you to believe. This is an adaptation, for the stage, of the "Harry Potter" series. Yes, the story continues beyond the pages of Book 7 and explains what happens after Albus Severus Potter leaves on the train to Hogwarts. But these subsequent events and scenarios serve more as a framing device with which the stage company can retell/reintroduce characters and situations from Books 1-7. The plot utilizes a "time-turner" (like the one in Book 3) to revisit specific scenes from the series, as well as beloved and/or infamous characters from the books. Snape shows up for a while. So do Dumbledore, Umbridge, Cedric Diggory, Hagrid, etc. Once again, we witness Harry's parents killed. We witness Harry being raised by his terrible Aunt Petunia. We witness Harry competing in the Triwizard Tournament from Book 4. I half expected Sirius Black's death scene to play out again.

In other words, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the script for a "Harry Potter" show. Emphasize the SHOW there. Each of the Books 1-7 are too bulky for theater. Even if each actually could be adapted we would be left with a monstrosity of stage time that would make Wagner's Ring Cycle look like a 30 second Geico ad. So what do J. K. Rowling and the stage production people do to get around this fact? They create a supposedly-all new story that dwells on nostalgia and past characters to reframe the intellectual property into something that celebrates what we already know about "Harry Potter" rather than taking the story into bold new territory. Much like "A Prairie Home Companion," it showcases the series into another medium.

At least, that's the feeling I was left with after reading it.

The true measure of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child should rest with the actual production itself. There are stage directions that seemed like enormously tall orders to me. From the little that I've read about the show going on in London right now, it's a feat to behold. But judging as a script, as a piece of literary art (and the marketers certainly want us to believe that this is Harry Potter, Book 8), then I'd argue that the writing falls well short of expectations. 2/5 stars.
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LibraryThing member ecataldi
Worth the wait, I loved every word in this book. I refuse to post any spoilers, just know that it takes place nineteen years after book seven and is in play format. It's a quick read and once you get going you forget you're reading a script. It's dark, beautiful, and it drops you right back off
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into the wizarding world. I laughed, I cried (a lot, but that's just me), I was enchanted. I cannot wait to see this acted out on stage. It's wonderful, JK Rowling never disappoints!
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LibraryThing member twhite13
Obvious villain, overly dramatic dialogue, some pacing issues. But I liked this book anyways. It was so much fun to hop back into Harry's world and immerse myself for a day. Without the nostalgia, it would probably only merit 3 stars.

This isn't the next Harry Potter book. This is very much an
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adult story, revolving a lot around Harry's parenting and the legacy of THE Harry Potter weighs on his son. And as much as these are always Harry's stories, I wish we spent more time on Malfoy and his relationship with Scorpius.

It was good, not great, and I'm glad to have just a little more time in the world of Hogwarts.

And I loved Scorpius. Albus is fine, but I really liked Scorpius.

(What the heck with the trolley witch? Just... no. That made no sense.)
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LibraryThing member lindamamak
Remembering that this is script of a play the story is consistent with a true story of the Harry Potter legend
LibraryThing member thebookmagpie
Harry Potter and the Curse of Being Literally The Worst Thing I've Ever Read
LibraryThing member sszkutak
This is a long one -- but it does NOT have plot spoilers. I do talk about locations and the characters a bit though, so tread lightly if you don't want any information before reading.

Ok, so all the feels with this one. I know that many readers had horrible reviews of this and I feel like some of it
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is that people don't like change and there was a lot of change with this book, I will go into that a little more later.

I actually enjoyed this book. It was a very nostalgic experience and I wanted to run out and get it and read it immediately and swoon over another Harry Potter adventure but once I had it in my hands all I wanted to do was cry - I was SO excited to have another jaunt in Harry Potter land but I was SO sad to also see it go once again. So I tried to read slowly, I was super good about not going on the internet and reading anything anyone had said about it and I read through it in about 2 weeks, although it would have been easier to binge it.

My overall thoughts on this one was that I am very happy with it, you get a glimpse into the world of adult characters, adult problems and now that I am an adult I found that refreshing that the characters are growing with me. You also get an adventure - what is HP with out one? right?! - but in this case you get it with the children of the older main characters. I think that the plot was very interesting, it kept me on my toes the whole time, I laughed, I was shocked, I cried... ok I cried a lot, but COME ON it is the last Harry Potter and there are so many emotional flash backs in this.

I, for one, also did not mind that it was a script, when I am reading I really enjoy a good lengthy dialogue and that is what this is, lots of talking with some stage notes throughout to set it up a little. I think that if you read the Harry Potter series you won't be missing anything with the lack of descriptions - when it says the 'Ministry of Magic' or the 'Forbbiden Forest' you form the same image in your head as you did when you were reading the originals... you already have that information so why reinvent the wheel so to speak.

So why only 4 stars and not a rave review? Well there were some things that I did not like about it. Firstly, it seemed a bit all over the place and that is purposeful but a pain- the plot is centered on a time turner, but even knowing that it was hard to keep up with some of the scenes, you really had to recall a lot from the series to form a whole picture. Secondly, as much as I liked seeing my favorite characters as adults, it seemed weird and off - Harry is a little too inconsiderate for my taste, Ron was not really there, and Hermione seemed distracted the whole time and they seemed disjointed until the very last few scenes. And lastly, I have read somewhere (after I was done reading) that this was actually fanfiction and Rowling didn't really write it, and while it is still a very enjoyable story that just kind of makes me a little sad (I am hoping this is not true, but the fact that this note exists somewhere is a downer)... but I will take it, since otherwise we wouldn't be seeing more Harry Potter.

So what did you think? Did you have a chance to read this yet? Where are you on the spectrum? - because there is a lot of emotion with this - did you love it? Hate it? Passionately abstain from the madness?
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LibraryThing member Lisa2013
4 ½ stars

I definitely recommend reading this knowing as little as possible, even though any “spoilers” did not have the potential to ruin the reading experience anywhere near as much as I’d imagined. I read it as soon as I could after its publication date, to read it sans spoilers, and
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it’s why I’ll post the bulk of my review in spoiler tags. I’m not saying anything about the plot or what happens to various characters, but just expressing my general feelings about the book, the story, and especially the characters, might give potential readers more information than they want to know prior to reading the play. I actually would have still enjoyed it if I’d learned too much prior to reading it, but it was more entertaining to go in knowing little.

I found this to be an incredibly quick read. I read Part 1, Acts 1 & 2 one day and Part 2, Acts 3 & 4 the next day. I’d love to see the play, particularly with the original London cast, but reading the play was fun too. I had seen some still photos of the West End production and some details about the sets and cast that I occasionally thought of as I was reading. I’ve always enjoyed reading plays though and don’t absolutely need to see them, though I also find delight in plays I’ve gotten to see as an audience member.

I’ve seen many 1 and 2 star ratings of this and I’ve read comments from those who despised it and have many complaints about it. In fact, until I was starting it, and I learned that some people I know did love it or at least really liked it, I was not feeling enthusiastic. I went in with low expectations, figuring I love the seven book series so much that nothing could ruin it for me, that if I hated this, I could just look at it as fan fiction and put it out of my mind. Well, I loved it, and I found it enjoyable from the start. I’ve gotten a couple comments from others who are shocked about that. And at this point I’m really surprised by how many are unhappy with it. Even if I’d heard nothing but good things about this play I’d have greatly enjoyed it. I’m eager to read reviews after I’ve posted this one in the usual three places. I look forward to politely and respectfully chatting with other readers who have similar or different opinions about this play, whether they loved it, liked it, found it mediocre or didn’t like it, or hated it.

However, even though I think it’s special in its own way, when I do rereads of the series I don’t know if I’ll feel compelled to reread this book. I do own the hardcover and paperback editions of the seven books, plus the British edition and the illustrated edition of the first book. For this book I read a borrowed library copy. If the play comes to my city I’ll try to see it.

I had a lot of fun reading it. I’m really happy that it was written and published.

There are no significant spoilers here, but with an abundance of caution the rest of what I say will be in spoiler tags:

As usual with Jo Rowling, as this play is based on a story written by her, a lot of wise and psychologically sophisticated things are said about relationships, people, life.

There are smart and heartfelt messages about all sorts of things, including being able to go only forward, about getting over trauma, about everyone needing to receive and give support from and to others, about parenting and trying to be a good parent, about truly seeing and accepting others for who they really are, and about friendship and loyalty, and about how even though parents and children have similarities family (and history) aren’t definite destiny, though I loved seeing the all too real similarities between members of different generations. It’s about growing up. It’s about not needing to be perfect, about the impossibility of perfection. I loved the mentions of the experience of being an orphan as they really resonated with me how they’re never over even when childhood is over.

I adored Scorpius and loved Albus, annoying teenager and all. I enjoyed getting reacquainted with characters I knew from the Harry Potter books and meeting the new characters, including members of the younger generation. It was lovely to see what happens to the original gang, in more than one scenario, and I felt that how everyone turned out made perfect sense.

In the series, the Time Turner was a favorite part for me, and I enjoyed it having a huge role in this story.

I appreciated all the humor, and there was a lot, especially because at times the story does get very dark. There was a lot of suspense throughout the story, and I did worry a fair amount about the fate of various characters and a couple in particular. It’s one reason I zoomed through the story. I was so eager to see what would happen and how it would end. I also made sure to savor what I read.

There were some good quotes, though I didn’t officially “like” any of them. At some point I might. Maybe soon!!!

A while back I read that J.K. Rowling said if viewers (and I assume readers) of the play don’t cry at the end they have hearts of stone. I didn’t cry but I was very touched.

I didn’t really look at the cover until after I’d read the 3rd of 4 acts. It’s intriguing.

The following are some details of contents and might be considered spoilers by many, much more than the contents of the above spoiler tag:

Scorpius seems to fit much better in Ravenclaw and maybe even Gryffindor and definitely not in Slytherin, and Albus also doesn’t seem to fit in Slytherin but in Gryffindor. I don’t think the reader is really told if Albus tried to sway the sorting hat about his assigned house.

I do like how this story sort of starts where the epilogue of book 7 leaves off. It’s obvious that the story is Rowling’s vision and that she must have approved everything in it. I will say that I don’t think the endings in this book and book 7 of the series are the strongest parts of the entire story. They’re a tad anticlimactic, but I’m okay with that. It’s the scope of the entire story that appeals to me.

Near the beginning I was so hoping that the whole montage of the sorting and the early Hogwarts years was a dream or a fear and not really real.

I was confused by a few things, including why the trolley witch refers to Sirius Black and his cronies Fred & George Weasley when they’re a generation apart. Other things I saw that bothered others didn’t bother me, such as polyjuice potion being readily available and ready to use. After all, a good two decades have passed and there are bound to be changes such as possibly the ability to keep it preserved for later use and compelling reasons to always have some on hand.

I was so worried as I read about the eventual fates of characters but I was never concerned that there wouldn’t be a meaningful resolution, and once I started reading I knew that I would be entertained.

The most common negative word I’ve seen to describe the play is mess. I disagree. I don’t have the patience to write a more perfect review so maybe this review is a bit of a mess but in my opinion the play is not. Not perfect but definitely good enough!

Jo Rowling has said this is the last Harry Potter story and I hope that she sticks to that. Even though I’m always curious to know more and more, I thought books 1-7 would be the final word and I was worried about even this story and play. I think it worked and I’m grateful for all the books, but they’re there to always dive back into and in my opinion we need no more. I feel this way even though from this book I took away some considerably worthwhile things to ponder and even though I had a blast reading it.

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LibraryThing member Kristymk18
Anything written about the Harry Potter world is bound to bring nostalgia. And Harry Potter and the Cursed Child certainly did. A lot of our favorite characters are back or make an appearance of some kind. It had the feel of a reunion episode you might watch of an old favorite TV show. Old jokes or
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lines reappear and you reminisce about old times, but some of the magic of the original is missing. Still, I enjoyed the story and loved revisiting this world.
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LibraryThing member BooksForTheLiving
I know people have had mixed feelings about this new Harry Potter story, but I really enjoyed it. Yes, at times it was a little fanfictionesque. However, I tried to read it as a separate story entirely from the original 7 books. I also tried not to compare the two. I think that helped me enjoy it
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LibraryThing member Daumari
It was ok.

I get the hype, that it's an 8th Harry Potter story, and I imagine this is different on stage, but I feel the same way about this as I do with Andrew Lloyd Weber's Love Never Dies...

...in that wow, this reads like mediocre fanfic, which is disappointing considering this comes
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(partially) from the author and is therefore canon... time travel to drastically change events from midseries that creates multiple timelines, a villain that's very much like a fan OC (original character), and death of a regular series favorite offscreen in at least one timeline.

Theater and novels are different mediums, but I also have difficulty imagining people sitting through 4 hours and/or two plays to see this. I'd feel very frustrated leaving Part One knowing I'd see Part Two the next day instead of immediately after, but that would be difficult for the actors and stage staff, I imagine... it might fix the pacing, though.
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LibraryThing member LunaraDawn
As at least one other has mentioned, this script reads very much like bad fanfiction, and I'm still scratching my head as to why J. K. Rowling let this get published. I still want to see the play - I have a feeling it will be much better - but this was just disappointing. Having a story about the
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children of Harry Potter and his friends is fine, but there's so much I wanted to know that this didn't cover. What happened to Teddy, how has George been doing, is Hagrid still close to Harry? Those were just off the top of my head, but really, there was so much more left out.

Sadly, I honestly quite disliked Albus Severus, which I hadn't anticipated. I thought he'd be my favorite character in the script, but I just found him annoying. I also didn't appreciate what was done to a certain Hufflepuff that I shan't name for fear of spoilers, just know I'm not too happy about it. I do adore Scorpius however, I think he's adorable and lovable. And I personally feel that Draco has more than redeemed himself, but I won't spoil my reasoning here.

Overall, the three stars I gave this script is mainly for the Malfoy's, although I suppose the time travel element was interesting enough. The best thing this script did was show that Slytherins (such as myself) can be good people, and that, at least, is something positive.

(I do apologize if anything in this review is incoherent - I'm typing on a tiny screen and it's hard to look it over and edit typos or add clarification at this time.)

P.S. I completely forgot, but I meant to mention that the train scene completely flabbergasted me, and really took me out of the story. If you read it, you'll know what I'm talking about. It was just really strange and quite unnecessary in my opinion.
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LibraryThing member armchairreader
(There are no plot spoilers in this review) Disappointing. The script is shallow, with very limited character development, pedestrian dialogue and a predictable, action-propelled plot that has no subtlety.
In performance I imagine it is much more satisfying-the script calls for some truly amazing
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staging and effects, which would make the performance entertaining for any audience member in the theatre.
The playwright, Jack Thorne, must be relying on the audience's prior knowledge of (and love for) these characters and of the existing backstory to make this play work, because his writing is pretty weak.If not for the J.K. Rowling brand, I imagine this play would struggle to please audiences.
The new generation of characters are just as barely-sketched and uninteresting, which is really too bad, since they should be the heart of the story. I had hopes they would be as compelling, funny, complicated and endearing (or terrifying) as Rowling's characters from the books. These are character sketches, not fully-fleshed people. It is entirely possible for a playwright to create living, breathing characters audiences can't take their eyes off of, and will think about for hours/days/weeks/years afterwards. (Hamlet, anyone?) These people on the page barely occupy their costumes. I hope the actors are bringing some life to them in performance!
The plot and character reveals (which come from Rowling, I assume) are interesting and do carry the saga on to the next generation, but it feels so thin- everything happens impossibly quickly, without time to build depth or richness. Scenes are very brief and go very predictably from plot discovery(!) to reaction(!) to another scene of discovery (!) a setback (!) and so on. It feels like it was written very quickly. Staging it must have been a challenge-scene changes must be pretty amazing since we are constantly shifting from place to place for short, declarative exposition-filled scenes.
Reading the play script feels like hopping across a deep river from boulder-top to boulder-top. fast, breathless, no time to stop and be in the moment or look around and let anything resonate.
I'm glad I bought the script, it is always a pleasure to visit the world of Harry Potter, but I hoped for so much more from this. A better playwright might have made this a script (and hopefully a fully staged play) to treasure and revisit often, the way I do the books.
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LibraryThing member Belles007
I loved being back in the wizarding world of Harry Potter. It lost one star for two reasons: first, I would rather have read a fleshed-out novel than than this stage play, which felt like a stripped-down version of a full story. The second reason I knocked a star off is that it seemed to be trying
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too hard to make this a grand epic adventure worthy of being a Harry Potter story; some of the story elements seemed too gimmicky. Still, overall an enjoyable read.
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LibraryThing member varwenea
J.K. Rowling stages a play in London, and we the muggles are given a peekaboo via a script.

Yes, this is a script. Not a play, not a novel, it’s a script. Unlike a play a, reading a script feels “naked” with minimal stage setting, focusing on the dialogue with locations provided. It also
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feels “explicit” to inform the actor their emotions. This is a busy script: 2 parts, 4 acts, and 75 scenes. It was dizzying how often scenes changed. If the reader does not have a working knowledge of HP, there is no way to follow this book/script/play.

The story itself is quite simple, which might be due to the play format. Continuing from the end of book 7 at Platform 9-3/4, we find our familiar friends, H&G, R&H, and Draco & Astoria, now with their children going to Hogwarts. The theme of friendship continues via Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy, a seemingly unlikely pairing. The adults are busy with their adult life and falls into the parental trap of not connecting with their children. Everyone gets a fair share of daddy issues; everyone needs that parental figure. Add in some time travel and the pot/plot is stirred multiple times, which was the “fun” part of the book. Enough said to avoid spoilers…

This is the “Special Rehearsal Edition Script”; are other versions pending? Perhaps she will write the full play or novelize this story. I’d be upset to buy this simple plot twice. Recommended only for those fans who must know everything about Harry Potter. The pace of the story didn’t pick up till later part of Act 2; after that, it was hard to put down.

Favorite Character: Scorpius Malfoy – the new Hermione bookworm with a level head and warm heart

A few quotes:

On truth (Harry recited this as what Dumbledore had told him):
“The truth is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.”

On being a parent:
“We cannot protect the young from harm. Pain must and will come… You’re supposed to teach him how to meet life.”

On being a human:
“… Be honest to those you love, show your pain. To suffer is as human as to breathe.”

And this marks my 200th review at LT. :)
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LibraryThing member amandabock
Always ask yourself: Is there more story to tell, or do you just want more? This is the definition of just wanting more.

There were some things I liked:
- Sympathetic Slytherins. I always felt that was a flaw in the earlier books. Surely not every single Slytherin is a jerk? Glad to see more nuance
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- A Potter/Malfoy friendship. I was disappointed that the animosity continued in the Epilogue and was passed down to the next generation.
- Father/Son issues are generally good for a story.
- Revisiting old favorite characters. (I'm not proud; sometimes I just want more.)
- Voldemort and Bellatrix had a daughter. That sh*t's awesome.

But there are a lot of issues, and it generally got worse as it went along.
- Oh my god, the premise. Voldemort's back, really? No. That story was already written. Write a new one.
- It is all tell, with no show. Even Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione start explaining their feelings and actions from the original books.
- While there were glimmers of the old characters here and there, mostly they felt flat and like caricatures of their former selves. Especially Ron, who is written more like lame-o movie-Ron than awesome book-Ron.
- While I like having sympathetic Slytherins, Scorpius and Albus don't actually display the qualities that would put them in that house- valuing connections and influence, having ambition. I'll give them resourcefulness and a certain disregard for the rules, but that's about it.
- Small things like time-turners acted very differently previously and there's no good explanation for it, and I doubt McGonagall lasted another 15 years, and the magic wasn't as coherent.
- Time travel is just inherently problematic.

Bah. I'm mostly mad I read it. It's all just lazy writing.
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LibraryThing member crtsjffrsn
The Boy Who Lived. The Chosen One. The One Who Defeated the Dark Lord. One might think that Harry Potter is fearless. He's up for any challenge. But no one told him that moving on, raising a family, and trying to have a normal life would be more challenging than anything he's faced before.

And one
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of the biggest challenges for Harry is his son. Albus Severus and his dad have never really clicked. The connection between them doesn't feel the same as the connection Harry has with James. And when Albus is sorted into Slytherin and becomes friends with none other than Scorpius Malfoy, the divide only grows wider. A divide further complicated by the rumors that Scorpius may not be Draco's son. A divide further complicated by Harry's scar acting up. And a divide further complicated by a centaur's vision of a darkness around Albus.

For Albus, living in his father's shadow is challenging. There are expectations. And it's always made very clear when he doesn't meet them. But there's got to be a way for him to do something to break beyond that, right? Something he can do that makes him stand out on his own? And with Scorpius at his side, he's sure he can accomplish anything.


I'll start by saying that if you're not a big reader of plays, this one might be a little challenging. They don't read like prose. They're not meant to. And you often have to fill in some of the action and internal monologues based on your own reading of the characters. That's just part of dramatic works as casual reading.

The story here is engaging. I enjoyed getting a glimpse back into the wizarding world. You'll find your old favorites and even some new characters that are a part of the next generation. And the flashbacks to Harry's childhood that were left out of the original novels were also very telling.

Is this another epic Harry Potter adventure? No. But I don't think it's meant to be. It's not a seven-novel saga with a major arc. It's a single story, focusing on the future of the wizarding world, and reminding us that the past can come back to haunt us in ways we never imagined. And those ways are exponentially more when magic is involved.

I've seen some comments online to the effect of "I've read better fanfiction." And while I don't want to get into a whole debate in this review, I don't see how that is necessarily a standard of what makes for a good story. For one, it diminishes fanfiction as something "less than" quality published work. And I've read many fanfics that were better than some published work. And secondly, what's the point of the comparison? Just because you've personally read something you think is "better" than something else, it doesn't--by default--make that something else bad. When I give a book a three or four star rating, I don't say "But I've read 15 five star books that were better so this is awful." Context is important, and I think it's something that we as readers and reviewers need to remember. /soapbox

If you're a fan of Harry Potter, pick this up. If nothing else, you'll get a few hours of entertainment and enlightenment out of it. And you'll get to go back to Hogwarts one last time...
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LibraryThing member courtneygiraldo
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child takes place 19 years after the infamous Battle of Hogwarts with a new generation of witches and wizards, focusing mainly Albus and Scorpius, the children of Harry/Ginny & Draco. I don't want to go into too much detail about the story line as I really don't want any
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spoilers but it's suffice to say that Albus gets himself into trouble, trouble that could have dramatic consequences not only for himself, but all of the wizarding world. I had such high hopes for this book, being the huge Harry Potter fan that I am, and I can only imagine the pressure Rowling, Tiffany and Thorne felt while writing it. The Harry Potter series has set the bar so high and to try and recapture the feelings the original evoked must have been a daunting task to say the least. I must say, J.K. Rowling delivered. I had my hesitations, and was worried that reading a play may not translate the right tone and mood for the story but I was so wrong. Perhaps because I am so well versed in the HP universe, or maybe reading plays isn't, in fact, as boring as I recall from highschool, but in any case, it was superb. All the "oldies" (Harry, Ron, Hermione, Professor McGonagall, Draco) were the same well loved characters I remembered, same quirks and vices, same loveability (and ability to get under your skin, *ahem* Draco). And the new characters, mainly Albus and Scorpius were so wonderfully written and with an amazingly constructed story line. To be transported back into one of my most favorite literary worlds to be with old friends, was in a word, magical. The book was everything I had hoped for and more. It made me laugh, made me cry, made me want to read it slowly so it would never end but was too exciting to put down so that it was finished in a few hours.
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LibraryThing member Sheila1957
Done in play form, it is a quick read but there is a lot that goes on during the read. I liked Albus and Scorpius. I also liked that they did not give into their families' pasts and continue the fighting between the Potters and Malfoys. I liked that the characters from the earlier books were
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brought into the story. I also liked the alternate stories. I would love to see it live
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LibraryThing member whitreidtan
Surely everyone who wants to has read this latest entry into the Harry Potter canon by now, right? I actually allowed the two of my children who were interested in it to read it before I did because I was a little ambivalent about the whole thing. With the releases of the last few books, I packed
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up my then young children and carted them to the midnight launches so they could experience the magic for themselves. But with this one, I didn't really care about the midnight launch, and not just because my children are now older and less awed by such things. I didn't know what to expect and felt as if I had been happy enough with where the Deathly Hallows left the characters and the world. I'll admit the format of the book gave me pause as well. I have never particularly enjoyed reading scripts, firmly believing that their nuances are only showcased in performance and not on the page. But when you are thousands of miles from anywhere the performance can be viewed, you make do. And so I read this. I don't regret it, and maybe there was no way around it, but I was left a little bit underwhelmed. It was fine. It was fine. But I've come to expect magical and this wasn't that.

When I say that this wasn't as magical, I'm not referring to actual magic being performed in the story but about the feeling it gave the reader. The originals were delightful and enchanting while this was a much darker, melancholy feeling read. There were some interesting parallels between young Albus Severus and young Harry in their desire to right wrongs, in their loyalty to a friend, and in their discomfort with unearned fame. These parallels do neatly tie this to the original series but not in the way of a normal sequel. The exploration of the parent child relationship between Harry and Albus was, at times, difficult to read as Harry clearly floundered with this sensitive child. But if Harry as father isn't all the reader could have hoped, the portrayals of the other adults in the novel are hard too. They are underdeveloped and oftentimes nothing but buffoons, still stuck in their own immature school personas.

But the biggest beef I had with the story revolves around two plot threads. First, I find it completely and totally unbelievably out of character to posit the idea that Voldemort would ever have been close enough, even just physically, to anyone to have sired a child. Although Bellatrix would have been the logical witch upon which to get his spawn, he didn't like or trust anyone enough to be that close to him when he would be vulnerable. His character just wasn't drawn that way. Secondly, I don't love alternate histories and so the idea of continually jumping back and forth in time was not all that appealing to me. And the final jump back to Godric's Hollow felt like just one more time for Harry to make things right, to honor sacrifice, and then to make his own for the good of the Wizarding World. But we already knew all this about Harry's character and this felt like a redux, like an unnecessary addition.

I didn't necessarily want more of Harry Potter but if we were going to go back to that world, and what a world it was, I would have liked the same magical, not melancholy, feel and a stronger connection to the ethos of the other books. Over all it was fine. It was adequate. But it didn't rise to the level of special I would have liked. If you haven't already, read it yourself and let me know what you think. And if you've been lucky enough to see it, let me know if the translation to the stage imbues it with some of what I think is missing on the page.
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LibraryThing member bragan
This is the complete published script of the two-part Harry Potter play that recently premiered in London. And... it's not bad. The story is a mixture of some fun plot elements, some implausible ridiculousness, and some character stuff that has its heart in the right place, but sometimes gets a
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little melodramatic or emotionally clunky. So, pretty much exactly like the original series, really. Most pleasingly, it turns out that Scorpius Malfoy is a really good, even downright endearing character, and hey, who've have figured that?

But I'm thinking there was no way this was ever going to fully live up to the legacy of the series, pop cultural juggernaut that it is, and I say that as someone who isn't even really a huge Harry Potter fan. My initial response, as I began reading, was, "This is okay, but, honestly, a story about the next generation, two decades later, just feels so tacked on and unnecessary, like an irrelevant coda to a story that was definitively finished." As the play went on and began to revisit a lot of elements from the original books, I found myself instead thinking, "But the next generation surely deserves to have their own story, rather than to be caught up in this sort of navel-gazing into things we've already seen." Basically, the poor play just couldn't win! Fortunately as I moved on into part 2, I found myself relaxing a bit and doing a better job of just enjoying the story for what it was, and I had a pleasant enough time. But coming into it with all that impossible-to-avoid baggage in my head probably meant I was never going to find it 100% satisfying. Even though that's totally unfair to the play, which is making no attempt to pretend it's Book Eight in the Harry Potter Saga (even if the publisher of the script certainly didn't go out of their way to keep people from thinking that). Basically, it's a decent piece of authorized fanfiction in play form, and there's nothing wrong with that. Or, at least, nothing that's not caused by my own irrational inability not to expect that a new, official Harry Potter story ought to be not just a new Harry Potter story, but some sort of overwhelming Pop Cultural Event.

And, of course, that difficulty in being entirely satisfied is exacerbated by the fact that this isn't even the medium the story is intended to be consumed in. I have little doubt that I'd have found it much more engaging on the stage. Not least because I found it impossible to even imagine what kind of visual techniques might have been used to pull off any of the magic described in the script, and I'm willing to bet it was fairly impressive to see.

All that having been said, though, I am glad I read it. It's a very fast, reasonably entertaining read that invites the reader to think a bit more about some of the characters and events of the Potterverse, even if -- as I'm sure will be the case for some fans -- it's only to disagree with what this story does with them. I'm also glad, by the way, that I managed to avoid spoilers for this before I read it, as there are at least a couple of plot elements that I'm sure I would have found much less fun if I'd known about them beforehand.
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(2728 ratings; 3.4)
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