To the average person, July 31 might just sound like a random day. For Harry Potter fans, this date is anything but random. July 31 is the birthday of author J.K. Rowling and her massively popular character Harry Potter. This year, July 31, was the release date of the first published continuation of the Harry Potter series in nine years.
Now “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is not a Harry Potter book in the same way as the others. It is a two-part stage play written by Jack Thorne, based on a story written by Rowling and John Tiffany. At first, reading “Cursed Child” is a little like awkwardly stumbling through “Romeo and Juliet” in ninth grade English, but after the first couple pages, the magic returns and you find yourself forgetting that it is a play at all.
At first, Harry’s latest tale does not appear to be about Harry at all, as it focuses mainly on his second son, Albus Severus. The book follows Albus’ time at Hogwarts, which is vastly different from his father’s. Albus struggles with his father’s fame and the shoes he feels a need to fill. As soon as young Albus boards the Hogwarts Express he makes friends with someone Harry might consider the “wrong sort.” Albus’ rebelliousness and unpredictable behavior eventually puts a strain on his relationship with Harry and all is not well for the Potters. On his journey to find his place in the wizarding world, Albus and his friends are lured into a dangerous adventure to rectify a tragedy from 20 years before because, well, that’s just what Potters do.
Although I did miss the chapter book style of the original Potter books, the characters Rowling created in 1997 are so good that the format in which they are presented does not diminish the experience. Getting the chance to hear what everyone’s favorite trio has been up to since the Battle of Hogwarts is all I’ve wanted since I read the epilogue of the seventh book years ago. Their world is still exciting, and the new generation is a wonderful addition to the cast of characters. I was so engrossed in “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” that I only stopped reading it when I physically could not keep my eyes open any longer.
As a lifelong Potterhead and self-proclaimed Harry Potter expert, I had fairly high expectations for the “Cursed Child.” I can honestly say that those expectations were met, and the book left me in the same position I was in when I finished the seventh book: starving for more and more Harry Potter.