There are few things that go together as well as a rainy day, a good book and a steaming cup of tea. It becomes even better though, when it’s a book that you have been waiting for nearly a decade!
For this instalment of Tea & Book Shelf, we’re reviewing the eagerly anticipated Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and yes, we promise, no spoilers! So brew a cup of your favourite tea – we’re having Mahadeobari Imperial Black, and let’s begin!
To start with, it must be pointed that this is not a ‘book’ in the actual sense of the word. Initially staged as a play in London, the book is the script version of the same and is based on a story by JK Rowling, however the play was written by Jack Thorne, in collaboration with director John Tiffany and of course, JK Rowling. Set 19 years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the play revolves around a middle aged version of Harry, Ron, Hermione and their children, who are about to go off to Hogwarts themselves.
The play was an instant hit and while the book was met with excitement, unfortunately, it doesn’t quite live up to that. A lot of that depends on what you were hoping for in this book. The epilogue of book seven paired off all the main characters, and if you are looking for an extension on that front, then perhaps you might be satisfied with this book. We were hoping Rowling would expand on the stunning world she created, and introduce us to new characters and developments, all of it in her trademark witty style, and on that front, the book doesn’t do much justice.
We are introduced to Albus, Rose and Scorpius – the children of Harry and Ginny, Ron and Hermione, and Draco respectively and it is only Scorpius who manages to create a lasting impression. His character is complex and well-drawn out and interestingly, shows us a new shade of Draco Malfoy. This cannot be said be of the other two, who seem to be tired remixes of their parents. A few other characters are also introduced, none of which are well developed. With its plot twists, and jumps between timelines, it became imperative that the characters were well defined; after all it isn’t easy to understand someone’s motivations when they are a complete unknown. Another jarring detail is how some of the main, original characters such as Neville Longbottom make only perfunctory guest appearances!
The plot itself is riddled with holes! It’s a little hard to elaborate on this without giving the book away but frankly, for anyone who has read the books, things like Voldemort’s lineage or worse, Ron’s demotion to basic comic-relief, just seem too far-fetched.
At this point though, it is crucial to mention the Harry Potter-Albus Dumbledore face off, which was out favourite part! It was refreshing that Cursed Child openly talks about how manipulative and uneven Harry and Dumbledore’s relationship was – something that the books hinted to, but never really confronted. Cursed Child lays Harry’s pain bare, because of what Dumbledore did, without tarnishing the very real love and affection Harry and Dumbledore had for each other. It’s a delicate balance that Cursed child achieves and is easily one of the high points in the book.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is flawed and there’s no denying that. However, it opens Rowling’s wonderful wizarding world again for us and shows us that the story isn’t over. While the book could have taken far more interesting creative choices, and ideally been written only by Rowling, what we’re excited about are the possibilities. Cursed Child, despite its lukewarm reaction has proved that muggle world is still eager to learn about the wizarding world! Till then, we’ll just sip on some tea.
Author: Medha Kulkarni
Medha Kulkarni is a writer and illustrator based out of Germany. You can see more of her work here.