Books: HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD PARTS ONE AND TWO

911Xmhn9+rL#1 USA Today bestseller, 8/4/16-present

I have a whole pretentious theory about how the Harry Potter series represents the values of political and economic elitism but I don’t think it really relates to this particular book that much so I won’t bother going into it here.

Marxist readings aside, I enjoyed all the original books but never got into them obsessively (I still haven’t seen all the movies), and I probably wouldn’t have bothered to check out Cursed Child if I weren’t obligated to for this blog. So it’s very much to this book/play’s credit that it made me kind of want to go back and re-read its predecessors, because it reminded me of how much fun they were. I don’t know how much of the story here was drawn from J. K. Rowling’s “original new story” and how much was invented by director John Tiffany and playwright Jack Thorne, but the text does a very good job of capturing the books’ absorbing plotting and endearing sense of humor, even if it’s all expressed through dialogue and stage directions rather than prose.

Children’s stories sometimes have an annoying tendency to slip into sympathizing with the adults’ point of view, focusing their arcs on the grown-ups’ attempts to get through to their foolhardy kids rather than on the kids’ own internal struggles. I think A Goofy Movie made this mistake? There must be better examples but you know what I mean. Cursed Child could’ve easily fallen into this trap, as it picks up from the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows with all of the original protagonists sending their own children off to Hogwarts, but it does a good job of establishing and fleshing out a new set of youngsters (mainly Albus Potter, Harry’s son, and Scorpius Malfoy, son of Harry’s old rival Draco) while still making time for Harry, Hermione, Ron, etc.

Even though this is a stage play it’s got shit tons of magic. People transmogrify, cast spells, fly, etc. I don’t know how the hell this could all be pulled off live but the reviews I’ve seen of the production seem to indicate that it all works. Cool!

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this book review, as I imagine that Harry will be holding down the #1 spot for a while to come.

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