Sunday, July 31, 2016

Suicide Reviews: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Spoiler Free!)

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter, #8) 

Date Published: July 31, 2016
Published By: Arthur A. Levine Books
Number of Pages: 327
Rating: 5/5

I'll admit - I was skeptical. When it was first announced that the eighth Harry Potter story was going to be a play, I definitely had some strong reservations. Why do a play? I wondered. Why not just write it as a novel so that every Potter fan can enjoy it? 

After reading the script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, my expectations were completely blown out of the water. I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. I was so pleased to see my beloved Wizarding World again and see my favorite Golden Trio all grown up. The story definitely has that special Harry Potter feeling - lots of action and drama mixed in with humor, a great sense of character, magic and mystery, whimsy and wonder. It does justice to the epic seven-book series that came before it.

After reading the script, I am dying to see the play. As I was reading, I tried to imagine in my head what certain moments would look like on stage. There are so many fantastical scenes in Cursed Child that I'm willing to bet it takes an extraordinary amount of stagecraft to pull off. I'm sure it's quite the spectacle. 

And herein lies the problem with the script - it is a story that is meant to be seen on stage to get the full experience of it. You know how you never quite grasp the full meaning of a Shakespeare play until you see it live (or at least on film?) The same principle applies here - I will not be able to experience the true magic of Cursed Child until I see it on stage. I understand why J.K. Rowling chose to write the eighth story as a play as opposed to a novel - I'm not sure the story would work as a traditional book. But I was left feeling slightly unfulfilled after I finished reading it - a problem I don't experience with the seven books. 

I'm not going to post any spoilers but I will say that my absolute favorite part was towards the end of Act Three, Scene Nine - people who have read the script already will probably know what I'm talking about, especially if you know who my favorite character is. I'm sure if I was to see this particular moment on stage, I'd be reduced to tears.

A Brief Note on Canon:

Some people say that the creators get to decide what is canon and what isn't. J.K. Rowling herself calls the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play part of the official Harry Potter canon. For me, canon is a personal thing. Some might disagree with me, but I decide for myself what I consider to be part of the HP canon. I consider Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to be part of the official Harry Potter canon?

Well....yes and no.

To me the epitome of Harry Potter canon is, and always will be, the seven book series. They encompass a complete story, from beginning to end, and it does not need adding on to. It is the official canon from which all others are derived. There's a distinction between Harry Potter book canon and Harry Potter movie canon. And now I would say that there is Harry Potter play canon. I consider Cursed Child to be a part of the overall HP universe but separate from book canon. A nice bonus story, but not part of the official storyline that's set down in the books. 

But this is just my own opinion, which you may completely disagree with. And that's great! I think people should make up their own minds about what they consider to be part of the canon and that it shouldn't be this thing that's dictated to us. (I'm sure Star Wars fans can relate.)

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