At the stroke of the midnight hour, the start of 31st of July, I stood in a parking lot waiting with hundreds of other people in a queue, in front of a brightly lit truck. The truck is called the Amazon Treasure Truck. And for this once, I can personally vouch for the treasure it carried within.
I got my copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
I have read all the books, of course. And watched all the movies. I have talked endless hours about the stories. I know all the dialogues by heart. I have spent hours on the internet trolling websites about the cast and making of the movies. I have stared at Tumblr and Pinterest with tears brimming, seeing people, whom I don’t know at all, grow up. To all these memories I ended up adding an extra special one. That jubilation of being part of something bigger. A generation that has loved and lived Harry Potter.
I read my first Harry Potter book after the first three were out. Then almost every year was a new treat. I was in school and as I grew, Harry, his friends and his enemies (and the length of the books) grew too. Harry, Ron and Hermione experienced loss, battled enemies, fell in love. They gave exams. They went to dances. They fought. Rebelled. Sacrificed. Had fun. And so did I. Each step of the way.
It was on the night before I was to start college. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince had just released. My mother was helping me pack. “You will be laughed at, if you take this kids book along with you,” she teased. I almost believed her.
The next day while standing in a queue to enter my hostel, I made my first friend. Another first-year girl who had The Half Blood Prince tucked under her arm. While Harry lost his mentor, guide and friend, I had found new friends. The hours we spent analysing each intricacy of the wonderful story laid out by J.K Rowling will never ever fade from my memory.
Even when all the books had been read and we were waiting for the last of the movies to release, I never strayed away from the appeal of Hogwarts. I read Fanfiction. My very first read was a multi chapter series on Lily and James falling in love. In some ways, it was the best thing I had ever read. Someone like me, a fan, a reader, had written it.
I secretly feel sorry for the children who can read all the 7 books at a stretch. I firmly believe, it was better when we waited one painful year after year for a new book to arrive. We learnt about life, at the same pace as Harry and his friends did. Now I am 28 years old. Married. Working. What did the non-muggle magical world have to offer me?
With bated breath and heady trepidation I ventured into this world again. Would it be as brilliant as before? Would it mean as much? After all these years, a play not a story book. What is the difference? On stage an African American female plays the character of Hermione. She is forever etched in my thoughts with the face and disarming charm of Emma Watson. So, why the drastic character change?
When Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman released, I read a few articles on it and decided never to read it even though Atticus Finch is my favourite father. Harper Lee probably never meant for readers to get a hold of that story. J.K. Rowling is gifting us this story.
So, I returned home with my book, curled into the quilt with my dog and read. As all the previous times I have read the Harry Potter books, the world ‘disapparated’ away. The story was no way the same, and yet the magic spell remained.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is meant for the stage. So, the entire book is in the form of dialogues and hardly any description. It is the script of the play and if you expected something else you are likely to be disappointed. The scenes don’t segue as they do in the books. Here, they are abrupt and disjointed. Jumping and forgetting. It has the feel of fanfiction. The connections were laid out too neatly. Theories were confirmed. Quite a bit of it was predictable.
The hero to a large extent is Harry’s son and not Harry himself, which should have been fine only it’s sort of not. Some characters are mere caricatures of their old self. Side characters don’t get a chance to develop. Characters that could have been major were conveniently forgotten and not referenced. The book is simple, but that is largely the appeal. And it is written jointly by J.K Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne. On a stage, it might look great, on the pages of a book, it doesn’t read as well.
I didn’t receive my Hogwarts letter when I was 11. Back then, I did not even know that Hermione and Ron existed. That you could be bossy and intelligent and still have the hero as a best friend. This was my letter. Good or not so good. I was back where I belong. Daring to live. Remembering there are things out there worth fighting for. One of them is unadulterated happiness. That corner of your heart that safely belongs only to you. And if you are extra lucky, like Harry and Albus, you find friends that share this happiness with you.
*Bellatrix and Voldemort had a baby girl who turned out a villain?!!!!
*Rose and Scorpious?!!! How cliche…
*Scorpious is officially the most adorable kid out there (in this timeline at least).
*Where are James Potter (jr.) and Lilly Potter (jr.) ? Aren’t they worried about their brother?
*They had to use polyjuice potion and bring in Moaning Myrtle.. aww or eww???
*What as all that about the trolley lady on the Hogwarts Express?!
*Why make Harry all this confused and angsty?
*Harry and Malfoy reach an understanding.. sniff…
*Ron and Hermione in any timeline still fell for each other.. sniff sniff sniff..
*Why did it have to end so soon?
Have you read this book? Were you lucky enough to be geographically strategically placed to watch the play? Should we pray for another book? Tell me..
Thank you Lazywiz for one of your best gifts ever.