Thursday, August 18, 2016

“Sometimes Costs Are Made To Be Borne.”

Hi folks, as promised a lovely rambling about a book I got to finished on my vacation.  Let's start hard and heavy with the newest installment in the Harry Potter world...Harry Potter and the Cursed Child story by J.K. Rowling script by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne.  I picked this book up as soon as it came out, so excited to get back into my beloved wizarding world that I couldn't wait until I left and promptly curled up and read the whole book in one sitting!  How did I feel about this latest entry...first, as always SPOILERS AHEAD!
First of all the book is written in play/script form so it is right of the bat a bit different from the novel style soooo...yeah. Also if you have not read the books this will make absolutely no sense whatsoever so I'm gonna assume you have read them or watched the movies.  Our story starts off years after the last book left off.  Harry Potter is now grown and he and his wife Ginny are at platform 9 3/4 to drop of their son's James and Albus for their train trip to Hogwarts.  Albus is concerned that he may be put into Slytherin and Harry tries to put his mind at ease.  Once on the train Albus makes fast friends with Scorpius the only son of Draco Malfoy and his late and beloved wife.  Albus is sorted into Slytherin, but he does not mind as it means being in the same house as his best friend Scorpius.  Albus who has a rocky relationship with his father, who is still known as the Boy Who Lived witnesses an elderly Amos Diggroy try and convince Harry to use a Time Turner to go back in time and save his son Cedric from being killed.  Harry who is the head of Magical Law Enforcement informs Amos that all the Time Turners were destroyed back during the battle at the Ministry of Magic.  Amos does not believe him and rails at what he considers the pointless death of his son.  Albus feels like he understands Amos's point of view, that his father does not listen and act to other people when they come to him.  Amos's niece and caretaker Delphi gets together with Albus to try and convince him to find a Time Turner.  Albus enlists the aid of Scorpius and the trio decide to use their patchwork Time Turner to keep Cedric from dying.  The first attempt is at the first task in the Tri-Wizard tournament.  They keep him from getting his wand, 'causing him to lose the first task.  Meanwhile back in the present, the boys parents start to look for the boys.  Harry talks to the painting of Dumbldore in his office and comes to the conclusion that he needs to seperate Albus from Scorpius.  The boys return to the present and realize that their meddling had some unintended consequences and still did not result in saving Cedric.  Harry's decision to separate Albus from Scorpius pretty much ends their father son relationship and Delphi convinces the two boys to reconcile and try to save Cedric again.  They go back and this time humiliate Cedric to keep him from winning the second task.  When the Time Turner sends them back to the new present Scorpius realizes that Albus is nowhere to be found.  In fact the whole world has changed for the worse.  Voldemort now rules with a person called the Augury as his second in command.  Harry Potter has died because a humiliated Cedric turned to the dark side and killed Neville at the battle of Hogwarts, keeping Nagini alive.  Scorpius finds Snape (yay Snape!) and convinces him of who he is.  Snape takes him to this version of Hermione and Ron who help him go back in time once more.  Scorpius pretty much stops all the changes from ever happening.  Through out all of this we watch Hermione, Ron, Harry, Ginny and Draco all work through their various issues.  Harry especially has to come to terms with everything that happened in his childhood and how it now affects his relationships with his own kids, especially Albus.  Delphi comes to hear Albus and Scorpius tell her about the changes that happened every time they tried to save Cedric and how it was impossible.  Delphi seems oddly interested in the future in which Voldemort and the Augury rule together.  The boys then glimpse a tattoo on Delphi's back of an Augury, a type of wizard bird that tells of tragedy.  Turns out that Delphi claims to be the child of Voldemort and Bellatrix and has been using the boys to try and find a future that she can be with her father.  She forces the boys to use the Time Turner to go back to the day that Voldemort killed Harry's parents.  Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Draco use a hint that Albus left for them to find where and when the boys are.  They go and find the boys.  They figure out that Delphi is going to keep Voldemort from trying to kill Harry, therefore not being cursed and retaining his strength.  They trick Delphi into a trap and they all return to a restored present.  Delphi is taken to Azkahban and life returns to somewhat normal.  Albus and Harry talk and start the path to repairing their relationship.  Albus and Scorpius remain friends and life gets better.
World Building - The book/script is set in the very well established world of J.K. Rowlings Harry Potter and since she wrote the original story the world is still there and still intact.  The fact that the story makes extensive use of the Time Turner and most of the action takes place in Hogwarts and other familiar settings gives a sense of going back.  The world building in this particular story probably works best for people who have read the previous books as it depends on this fore knowledge to help build the world.  It is the same magical, complicated and complete world that J.K. Rowling worked so hard to build for us.

Story - The story was pretty cool.  I loved that idea of exploring the future of a boy who had done so much in his childhood/young adulthood and now has to cope with being a fairly mundane adult.  The story of his son integrated very well as a brand new story that was still in the same vein as the previous ones.   I felt the story got a bit bogged down in with the multiple Time Turner trips, Harry's story, Albus and Scorpius's story, Delphi's story and everything else shoved into a short space and wanted it to be a bit more streamlined, but the over all idea was pretty good.

Characters - This story had a weird mix of familiar characters in a new place in their lives and all new characters.  I think I liked the new characters better then the older ones.  I loved Albus and Scorpius and their awesome friendship.  I liked how they were different from any of the previous characters in the older books and had their own identities.  For the most part I liked how the adult Harry was developed with his anxiety over his children, his coming to terms with his childhood, how different his life must be now.  I was a bit disappointed in Ron and Hermione.  Hermione came across as an exasperated, harried overly busy person and Ron was relegated to a goofy background character who was completely diminished from the brave and loyal every man I remember from the books, so that was a bit sad.  Overall I preferred the new characters to the old in this story.

Editing - Since this was a theatre script it read very different from the original novels and that has to be kept in mind when talking about the flow of this story.  It is broken up a lot more then in a regular book making the story a bit hard to follow on occasion as it has to skip around to get all the characters to the places they need to be.  That being said, as mentioned in the story section I felt that there was too many stories that were trying to be told in the same space which made feel a bit frenetic and bogged down all at the same time.  There is also very little immediate background given, with the authors assuming that the audience/reader has prior knowledge of the other books.

Fatherhood - I found the most prominent theme in this story was the relationship between father and child.  Mothers played a role, but it was the fathers that really took center stage in this book.  I liked how all the different varieties of relationship were explored.  The main one of course being Harry and Albus and the difficulty they had in understanding each other.  Harry still struggling to justify his own life had no idea how to deal with a son who was both very different and eerily similar to himself.  Draco and Scorpius had one of the sweetest relationships, especially considering the dominating relationship that Draco had with his father, the love and affection he (eventually) show's his beloved son is even more poignant.  Even with Delphi, I got the feeling that her actions were not done to bring about a dark world, but to try and have some sort of relationship with her own father in any way possible.

Time Turners - As much as I felt that the Time Turner bit was used a bit to heavily, I did like that it showed just how well Ms. Rowling knows her own world.  I thought that it was awesome to see that a world was so complete that the author could change one seemingly small aspect of it and then be able to follow the change through so thoroughly.  When time travel is used as device it can become confusing and a bit deus ex machina, but the subtle simple changes leading to logical and yet far reaching implications was pretty masterful and I very much appreciate the thought that went into it.

Return to Childhood - For many of us who read the Harry Potter as it came out, waiting in line for the newest installment then ignoring any and all responsibilities to finish each book before the inevitable spoilers came out, this book was throw back to that insane feeling of awesome.  Reading the book as an adult, seeing the characters we grew up with as adults, reading adventures of their kids to our kids and nephews kind of brings home the full circle of how beloved this series is.  It is a weird mix of nostalgia, anticipation and melancholy, a realization that everybody, even the Boy Who Lived has to grow up and be some sort of adult.  I'm not really sure how to describe the feeling, but I know it is shared by my fellow "adult" Harry Potter fans.

Overall Impression - I am very very very glad to have read this book, I loved that it was in a completely different format, and I am now dying to see it performed.  It was a lot of fun to go back to a beloved world, it's been a blast discussing it with my fellow HP fans.  The book is not a home run, but it is a solid and acceptable entry into the Harry Potter Universe.  I give it a 7 out of 10 love potions and recommend it to anybody who loved the HP series and can't wait to read the next installment.  Happy Reading Everybody!


  1. I think the play will be great,did not like the script format.loved the story conept!

  2. I think the play will be great,did not like the script format.loved the story conept!