Thursday, August 11, 2016
Spoiler-Free! Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
Release Date: July 31, 2016
Publisher: Little Brown UK
They tell me that my memory will never be the same, that I'll start forgetting things. At first just a little, and then a lot. So I'm writing to remember.
Sammie was always a girl with a plan: graduate at the top of her class and get out of her small town as soon as humanly possible. Nothing will stand in her way--not even a rare genetic disorder the doctors say will slowly start to steal her memories and then her health. What she needs is a new plan.
So the Memory Book is born: Sammie's notes to her future self, a document of moments great and small. It's where she'll record every perfect detail of her first date with longtime crush, Stuart--a brilliant young writer who is home for the summer. And where she'll admit how much she's missed her childhood best friend, Cooper, and even take some of the blame for the fight that ended their friendship.
Through a mix of heartfelt journal entries, mementos, and guest posts from friends and family, readers will fall in love with Sammie, a brave and remarkable girl who learns to live and love life fully, even though it's not the life she planned. (courtesy of Goodreads)
I came into this new play with really low expectations. Amazingly, I kept myself spoiler free apart from a few small things. But I did know that there were a few plot elements that some people really disliked. So I was very nervous that this would be a disaster. To my surprise and joy, I loved it!
A lot of people have complained that this feels like fanfiction - that it incorporates several concepts that have been super popular in HP fanfiction over the years. Lucky for me, my interests in HP fanfiction are very limited (mainly Marauders and nothing that deviates from Canon), so all those elements were new to me.
Another complaint I've heard - if not outright, than implied - is that the play has a lot of darkness. That's ideal for me. The more I've read the Harry Potter series - it's the darkness, the character flaws, and the complexities that draws me in. This is a play kids will enjoy, but I loved more as an adult.
There were a few times that I cringed at the acts of Albus and Scorpius. They did some really stupid things, even though their intent was good. I cringed in the same way that I did in Chamber of Secrets when Harry and Ron flew the car to school. But largely they were delightful characters. Scorpius in particular. Albus is kind of a typical broody teenagers - both similar and different to Harry in Order of the Phoenix. He has a lot to live up to because of Harry and he feels like he falls continuously short. Meanwhile, Scorpius has grown up a very sheltered and much loved child. Until he came to Hogwarts, he mainly lived through books, from what I gathered. This has made him a nerdy, goofy, sweet kid. In many ways, he is the star of the show and is a reluctant leaders of their quest, even though Albus is the one who started it.
A lot of people hated how Harry was portrayed as a father. The play shows him as a flawed figure. At one point he says something to Albus that you can't believe a person who grew up longing for parents would say. But I actually loved this. I loved that Harry did not grow up into a perfect person or a perfect father. He'd always been impulsive and had a temper; it makes sense that he'd blurt something out that he didn't mean, even if it sounds horrific. I think the play captured what Harry would be like as an adult. A fundamentally good person who is still haunted by his past as well as saddled with the same characters flaws he had as a child.
Ron, Hermione, and Ginny were all fine. Basically what I expected them to be. I also enjoyed seeing more of Draco. He has the arrogance of his parents, but you can tell he is driven by familial love, in the same way as his mother. Plus, I enjoyed all the "cameos" of much loved characters - even if they were basically fan service.
As for Delphi - the main new character - I really enjoyed her. She had a fascinating depth that came out throughout the play. At first, she reminded me of Tonks, but she soon came into her own. I won't say anything beyond that.
If I'd written this play, would I have made all the same choices? No (I would have focused on the Marauders anyway). But I don't dislike the choices the playwrights made. This was a fun play and also pulled on the heartstrings in the way Harry Potter always does.
I wish I could get to see it in London. I'll actually be there in October, but the tickets on the second market are way too expensive. :-(