Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, by J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne

The eighth story. Nineteen years later.

It’s never easy being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and a father of three school-aged children.

While he grapples with his past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus struggles living in the shadow of his famous father. As both the past and present worlds collide, both father and son must learn the uncomfortable truth; somethings darkness comes from unexpected places.

Based on an original new story by JK Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child is a new play by Thorne. It is the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage and the book is a special rehearsal edition script. As such, it was a little difficult to read at first purely because scripts aren’t common reading fodder. However, it doesn’t take long to get into a rhythm.

There was a time when, on every release of a new Potter book, I would stay up all night reading. This release was no different. I powered through it and it was a magical little gift that felt like a reunion with old friends. All the familiar crew are present and accounted for and it was lovely to see how some favourite character’s lives have turned out. One glaring omission was Hagrid however. It seemed odd that the devoted groundskeeper wouldn’t be around to support and cherish Harry, Hermione and Ron’s children.

Yes, there are a lot of plot holes (don’t get me started on the ridiculousness of the time-turners!), but the magic and friendships of the original books are still there. Albus, and Draco Malfoy’s son, Scorpius are delightful. It was also fascinating as a fan of the original books to see Slytherin house painted in a positive light. It was a little odd though to see Albus struggling with the weight of the world without support. It seemed implausible that the Potters’ entire network would do nothing to protect him, given the history of the family.

The unbelievable parts combined with the fact it is a screenplay, rather than a novel, made it a little too much like fan-fiction to me. This edition will only be available for a short time. In early 2017 it will be replaced by the “Definitive Collector’s Edition’, which will include the perfected, definitive script with final stage directions and annotations. Knowing this does spoil the magic a little. It feels like the release of the script is a bit of a marketing ploy.

Regardless, I still felt a bit like a child on Christmas morning and the trip down memory lane was delightful. Go into this book with an open mind and let the magic sweep you up. I hope it introduces a whole new generation to the delight of the original books.

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Rebekah is an Otago-based mother of two young girls. The former journalist and primary school teacher has a soft spot for New Zealand authors and young adult fiction. Follow her on Twitter.

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