When a book is more than a book
To call myself a Harry Potter fan would be an understatement.
One of my best friends gave me a homemade Harry Potter Monopoly set for my birthday this year. She has a twin set herself, with different properties and Chance questions. The reason we’re friends in the first place is because of our mutual love of the boy wizard. (We’re the type of fans that immediately pick up the mistakes in the Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit game.)
Naturally, we watched all the films in the run-up to the launch of The Cursed Child, stood in the queue and had already started our second reading the day after getting it. It was an important moment. It was her first midnight launch. The fact that it was my third midnight queue in no way makes me the bigger fan. She had already theorised the big twist months before publication.
Needless to say my expectations for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child were sky high.
It didn’t disappoint.
I flew through the book (and for the duration of this review I’m going to call it a book and not a play. I hardly noticed the difference.)
The story is set nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry’s now father of two boys. James is very much following in his father’s footsteps and is already making a name for himself at Hogwarts. Albus is about to start his first year.
While James is charismatic and a quidditch ace, Albus is a shy, awkward child, who doesn’t like living in his father’s shadow. Two important things happen on his first day that sets him apart from his father. He befriends Scorpius Malfoy, the son of his father’s enemy, and he gets sorted into Slytherin House.
I fell in love with Albus and Scorpius immediately. The fact that they were both outcasts only made me like them more. Albus is less than enamoured with Hogwarts and his stubbornness to remain friends with Scorpius causes a huge rift with his father. Scorpius, on the other hand, is the subject of a vicious rumour that claims he is the Dark Lord’s son. The discovery of a time-turner in Deatheater clutches only fuels the speculation.
When Amos Diggory visits the Potter house to demand that Harry use the confiscated time-turner to go back in time to save his son Cedric’s life, Albus meets the quirky Delphi Diggory, and hatches a plan to fix his father’s mistakes.
Using Polyjuice Potion, Albus, Scorpius and Delphi steal the time-turner from the Ministry of Magic. What follows is a riotously funny and often heartbreaking adventure back in time during the events of the Triwizard Tournament. The best running gag in the book concerns the boys returning to the past at the exact moment Ludo Bagman incites the three schools to cheer. Anyone who watched Groundhog Day will get it.
Needless to say, Albus and Scorpius drastically affect past and future events, much like two teenage bulls in a china shop.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is hugely entertaining. The characters are just as memorable as the old-guard. In fact one new character in particular might just be the coolest thing to happen to the Potterverse. If you haven’t read the book, look away now.
I mean it. Spoilers are coming.
Last chance ….
Okay, so the Dark Lord did have a secret child, just not with Astoria Malfoy. And it wasn’t a boy either. Without giving away who she is, she has a tattoo of an augurey* on her back, and in one of the alternate futures caused by Albus and Scorpius’s meddling, she adopts the title of The Augurey for herself. She is one helluva force to be reckoned with.
The book sets her up as Albus and Scorpius’s nemesis and she is AWESOME.
JK has said Harry’s tale is over, but I can’t wait to see what’s in store next for the new generation.
5 MILLION POINTS TO SLYTHERIN!
* For anyone who hasn’t read Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, an augurey is a bird with greenish-black feathers that lives in teardrop-shaped bramble nests. It was believed the mournful cry of the augurey foretold death, but in reality it sings whenever it’s about to rain.