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Sunday, 6 November 2016

Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had an interesting discussion recently about what is more crucial to a text: characters or setting. as in the case of this reviewer of Doctor Strange, they believe it to be a series full of links to the occult. I personally however found the last book of the series to be full of themes that pointed to Christ (as seen in my review here of The Deathly Hallows) and have reached the decision that Christians should embrace, rather than purely reject, pop culture movements that do touch on such themes.

This all leads us regardless to a cauldron of social-expectations: those who hyped up this book, believing it would be another fantastic novel; those who downplayed the book because "Harry Potter is not that good"; those who avoided the book like the plague for its "dangerous material" or because they did not care; and those like myself who recognised that this was the script for a stageplay. As someone accustomed to reading plays (it is common practice in English education to need to read plays) I was ready for this and therefore enjoyed the book. However, it appears the reaction was not the same for many other readers.

The criticism of the play, therefore can read as very immature or uneducated on some accounts. However, should we simply ignore criticisms if the audience who bought a book on a particular premise feel betrayed by the contents of a novel? On one hand, if the reader fails to make themselves aware of the true nature of the book they have no one to blame save themselves. On the other, it is clear that the very existence of a script such as this is the product of rampant consumerism.

Yet despite the commercial reasoning which pushed this script into bound and printed form, the play itself provides an intriguing story. Some critics have complained that the characters of Harry Potter, Ron and Hermione feel different in this novel - that they are not the same characters. At moments I felt that this was certainly true. However, I also felt that given that Harry was a very passive character to begin with, that it was true to his character to become the father-figure that this play presents him as.

I will say little more, if you are contemplating reading this play it is likely that you are a fan of the series or simply want to see what the fuss is about. I will state that I enjoyed the overall story, although seeing a familiar set of characters shown in a play was oddly different. It is not a work for everyone (unless you share my fondness for reading play scripts), but it does possess a poetry which, at times, out performs the wonders of the original times. Yet this in and of itself is a short-lasting magic.

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