When we last saw Harry Potter, it was supposedly nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry was now the father of three children, married to Ginny and working in the Ministry of Magic. If you read the series, you know this bit.
Ten years later, the hysteria surrounding Potter returned when it was announced that the script for a play featuring a few familiar characters was to be published.
I had really mixed feelings about this. The Harry Potter series was such a phenomenon, and through my own kids I’ve gone through the books and films again. Part of me felt I’d ended with this particular set of characters, and I was a little reluctant to return to something that felt so complete. Then there was the other part of me that was really excited to see just what was going to happen in this eighth instalment.
I’d resisted a lot of the pre-publicity so knew very little of the rumours around just what would be involved. The title made me immediately think that the focus on Harry’s son might mean he was ‘cursed’ in some way, but then I also wondered whether it might be a reference to the issues faced by the adult Harry. Tying myself in knots, I decided to stop second-guessing and wait and see.
Within hours of the text being released I was hearing comments about what was involved, and I was keenly conscious of the requests by publicists to preserve the magic and not spoil it for those who hadn’t yet read it/seen it. Once my eldest son had raced through it, I knew I’d better get cracking or I’d be suffering with cryptic allusions until I did!
Concerns about revisiting something that was already finished aside, I was also wondering how this would fare being a play-script as opposed to the more wordy narrative style favoured by J.K Rowling. I know she was involved in the process, but there’s something to be said for something that is meant to be performed being seen on the stage, not simply read. Having now finished this, I have to say that I actually enjoyed the story being presented in the play format because it meant a lot was left to my imagination and I could visualise the events for myself.
Highlights of this read: revisiting a lot of favourite characters; an interesting exploration of family dynamics; the magic and the world of Hogwarts; the relationship between Albus and Scorpius and seeing some familiar characters in a whole new light when we see them during the story.
Things I liked less: the implausibility of some of the events; the introduction of someone I wasn’t even remotely prepared for; Harry and his pig-headedness, and – just a little bit – the fact that it really does signal the end for Harry and his friends.