Bring out the Butterbeer and brush up on your spells because “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is now available to Potterheads worldwide as a rehearsal script. Originally, it was a West End stage production written by Jack Thorne and based on a new story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Thorne.
However, for those who don’t live in the UK and don’t have enough money to fly overseas to watch the play, the rehearsal script was published by Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic on July 31, the birthday of both Harry and Rowling. The story picks up right where we left off, 19 years after Harry defeated Voldemort.
If you are not familiar with any of the “Harry Potter” books and movies, here’s a quick synopsis. “Harry Potter” was originally a series of books written by J.K. Rowling about a young orphaned wizard, Harry Potter, who goes to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. There, he and his new friends struggle against Lord Voldemort, whose plots for power and immortality threaten all of Britain.
After much anticipation, we finally learn which Hogwarts house Harry’s son, Albus, was put in. Unfortunately, Albus struggles under the weight of his father’s legacy, which creates problems between the two. Not to spoil anything, but living up to the greatness of the Harry Potter, who vanquished the Dark Lord at only 17 years of age, puts a lot of pressure on Albus at only 11 years old.
Time passes quickly in this new installment. It begins with Albus’s first year, but the action really starts in the sixth scene when Albus is about to enter his fourth year. Throughout the book, both father and son try to right some wrongs, but end up making a mess instead.
Reading a script can be confusing, since it’s meant to be performed. You have to pay special attention to the stage directions and you have to stay on top of who’s talking and in what context. Still, for Potterheads who have no way of watching the actual play, we’ll have to make due with our own imaginations and careful reading of the script.
Thankfully, this script was incredibly well-written, even with some inconsistencies concerning the previous books. The obliviousness we all saw in Harry is passed down to his son and you might be frustrated with the characters at times and want to yell at them. However, Albus was still a likeable character and I was always right there, cheering him on.
While Albus is a nice addition, my new favorite character is Scorpius Malfoy, the son of Harry’s old school rival, Draco. Nothing at all like the bully Draco used to be, from the moment we meet young Scorpius I want to shield him away from all of the wrong in the world. As the story progresses and he reaches fourth year, my love for him grows. His intelligence, wit and overall niceness baffles me. The evolution of Draco is also enjoyable, since we are now given a glimpse into who Draco truly is, without his father looming behind him.
Sadly, even with great new characters and developments of the old, this play left out many original characters we all know and love. Sure, some are mentioned in passing, but most are forgotten. Of these, one of the most surprising is Teddy Lupin, whose parents died in the final book. Since Harry knows what it’s like to be an orphan, I thought Harry would want to act as Teddy’s father figure that he wished for growing up, as the end of the seventh book suggested. Regardless, the play doesn’t give Teddy any attention and I’m left wanting more information about many other characters.
Even so, the emotion needed to convey the overall message can only come from observing a live show, so it makes sense why it’s a play. Many people are able to relate to Albus and his message, especially younger siblings or others living underneath somebody else’s shadow. This story shows how, even though the world might try to judge you based on the people you’re related to, you are still your own person and you can be whoever you want to be.