Aug 10
2016

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child (Spoiler Free) – Rave and Rant!

Harry-Potter-and-the-Cursed-ChildHarry Potter and The Cursed Child – the most awaited book play script of the year, is storming the book world (2 million copies sold in the first 2days) and is making fans around the world giddy with excitement to be finally reading a new Harry Potter book.

Needless to say, I was no exception. Which is why, before I started reading this book, I tried to keep my expectations on a realistic level (tried is the operative word here), especially considering J.K.Rowling hadn’t written this one.

Though I must say, that I was also a little nervous, because this series was magical perfection in my eyes, and I couldn’t imagine how this play script could top that. In fact, without Rowling, I was sure of this being a step down; which is probably why, I am not as disappointed with it as many of the others are.

What is Harry Potter and The Cursed Child all about?

It’s marketed as the 8th Harry Potter book, and that, I must say, is only partly accurate. Or at-least it depends on one’s perception.

It’s very much a continuation of the original story. In fact, it starts right where the epilogue ends – with Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermoine dropping off their kids at Platform 9 and 3/4. So, in that sense, yes, it’s the 8th story.

But there is also a disconnect, which makes it unfair to call this the 8th of the Harry Potter series. It doesn’t have the multi-faceted narrative, the strong characterization; and while it puts a grin on your face, it’s incapable of evoking the depth of feeling the earlier books were able to arouse with ease.

Of-course most of this is because it’s a play-script. And not a book. Which is why, I am not taking any points off for this.

I am only mentioning this, in the hopes that people keep this in mind, as they start reading the book. Because I have read too many negative reviews of this book, on the grounds that it is a play script. I mean, it’s written right on the cover. What part of that was not clear?

Yes, I wished for this to be a book. And I wished that it would have been written by Rowling. But it’s a play script, and I am not going to judge a thing adversely because it was something that it expressly claimed to be.

Of-course, being a play script doesn’t excuse every thing (and I will get to those things later in the post).

What did I love about it?

You mean outside of the fact that this a Harry Potter story, right? And the fact that it features some of my most beloved characters in literature? Okay, then I will tell you what else I loved.

  • I loved getting  to know what my favorite trio was doing with their lives.
  • It was also a very nostalgic experience to see the old crew again (though I really missed some of them – Sirius being one of many) in a beloved world, which was oh so familiar.
  • And contrary to popular opinion, I even enjoyed the plot. Yes, there were a few plot holes (very few, most of them were just limitations of the format), and some very annoying plot devices, but overall – I liked the concept.

What did I not like?

Okay, with a heavy heart..

I did not think that I was ever going to say this about a Harry Potter book, but there were inconsistencies in characterization. I was just not able to understand why some people behaved the way they did. And no, it’s not, in this case, the fault of the format.

According to me, it was just convenient for them to use some plot hooks, and move the story along. Which was very disappointing, because such lazy story-telling, is not what I associate with Harry Potter.

And while we are on the topic of laziness, there is something else. Though I am not sure if this is laziness to research, or just the British self-important arrogance, that made them name an Indian character in the book – PANJU!

What kind of name is that? A 60 second Google search would have revealed that Panju is not a boy’s name. If it is the name of anything or anyone at all, that is.

I am not even sure how they landed up on that name. Like really! Who names anyone Panju? Oh wait, I know — the presumptuous Britishers, who are so full of themselves, that they couldn’t care less about how they represent people of color!

Sorry, not sorry, but I am not going to have that. In the original series, I had overlooked Parvati and Padma Patil’s horrifying Yule Ball costumes, because it was Hermoine’s swan moment…yada yada yada. But I am drawing the line at Panju!

Rating: 4 stars

It hurts my heart, to give a book that has Harry Potter written on the cover, any less than a glorious 5 star rating, but 4 stars is all I am giving this.

Half a star taken away for lazy story-telling and resorting to convenient plot hooks; and half a star taken away for PANJU – whatever that is. Because I am not going to allow anyone (not even Rowling and company) to think that representation of people of color is basically a joke. We are in 2016. And it’s high time people with the kind of reach and impact that they enjoy, decide to act/write responsibly.

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child (Amazon)

Have you guys read Harry Potter and The Cursed Child? How did you folks find it? Did you find it to be a perfect continuation to the iconic series, or felt that the magical series should have stopped at the books?

I personally kind of liked the fact that there was a continuation. Yes, I would have very much liked this to be a book (or even better – a trilogy) by Rowling, but even so, this was decent treat for Potterheads. Minus Panju, of-course. That I hated.

As always, I eagerly await to hear your thoughts. Do share!

-Shantala

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Comments

  1. I rest my case. We’ve already discussed this to the death. It is not a Rowling book and will never be a Rowling script either. But it may find takers on the large screen
    Sid recently posted…Subbu’s SacrificeMy Profile

  2. Guess this is what happens when someone else takes over, and compromises, the essence of one’s work. Don’t know how comfortable I’ll be reading this book in the format it’s written in. And laziness, well… maybe it wasn’t laziness but the inability to match the remark-ability of Joanne Rowling.

    Nice review Shantala.

  3. Lata Sunil says:

    I will watch the movie 🙂 and skip the book. Thank you for the review.

  4. I just have to one thing.
    .
    .
    .
    High time I pick up a Harry Potter book 😉
    Parul Thakur recently posted…What if you were a leaf..My Profile

  5. I am not too happy that a Harry Potter book/play whatever did not come out of Rowling. Hence I will not pick up this book. I am not a big fan of other people continuing a well-known series.
    Rachna recently posted…My Cherished Charm #CherishedBlogfestMy Profile

  6. Wonderful review Shanaya!!

  7. will read the book. How can I not? But will notch down my expectations. Sigh!
    Beat About the Book recently posted…A Broken Man – A ReviewMy Profile

  8. I am still reading this one… the first few chapters were just too fast paced… but then I have to remember that it is a screenplay and not a novel. I am now reading the interesting part of the storyline… and quite hooked to it.
    I too went WTH at Panju… it took me a minute to realize it’s a person’s name. This book is more like a fan fiction than a proper Rowling HP book.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…Effects of Yoga on Body and MindMy Profile

  9. Oh, I loooove that there is a continuation too! Havent read it, but for sure will! Awesome review Shanaya – you said the most vital and important without giving it away:-) Thanks honey:-)
    Eli recently posted…LifeMy Profile

  10. Wasn’t excited about this and didn’t get the book. Now I feel like I didn’t miss much 🙂
    Damyanti recently posted…What are you #reading ? #FridayReadsMy Profile

  11. It is so difficult to keep up to the expectations once the standard is already set high. But all said and done Harry Potter will always win hearts.

  12. Just finished reading it. And I agree with all that you said, since it is a script it hasn’t got the thrill of a novel. But it was a treat nevertheless to revisit the potterworld. I greatly wished Sirius was somewhere in the book, it was a disappointment but. And Panju is unforgivable too. All in all, like it was said in the comments…it’s a simple entertaining read like a fan fiction. Nothing more. I couldn’t have expected anything better than the seven books since they were already perfect.
    Dashy recently posted…A letter to Pak from HindustanMy Profile

  13. Hey Shanaya,

    FIrst of all can I please express some envy on your name – it has so much Flourish in it – beyond exotic for me.( I swear I will not turn into a stalker of any kinds- I just believe in unicorns and fairy dust)

    I so totally and absolutely agree with your view point on thi sbook/script – its been marketed EXTREMELY well which is at the backbone of the discontentment that most fans went through. We all piddled in our panties and lost the plot at the announcement, thereby losing perspective.
    It reads as a script and makes for some powerful play prompts – would be an excellent play to watch for sure and Ihope I live to see that day.
    Yes the old gang was back – loved it though Ginny was very weak in the entire narrative and somewhat misplace- you know what I mean.
    Panju – definitely marks off for that ( Whats wrong with them)
    And whats with the bromance overture between Octovio and Albus? Then the fascination for Rose?? So cliched….
    It was just a little too much as a plot for me to get my head around it – needed more fleshing out and plumping of characters and situations.
    Hope we do get another book from Rowling on this – she is a true rockstar when it comes to writing on Potter.
    cheers
    SHALINI BAISIWALA recently posted…How Wonderful!My Profile

    • Oh yes, I felt that too – the bro-mance seemed like a tease, to attract a particular segment of the audience, and then they went the safe, cliched route. Not that I had a preference for one over the other, but it just wasn’t done well.

      And yes, I so hope that Rowling had written this one; she truly is the queen of the Potter-verse.
      Shanaya Tales recently posted…August Wrap Up (Books and Movies)My Profile

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