Harry 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!
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