books

"I read the new Harry Potter book and instantly regretted it."

WARNING: THERE ARE SPOILERS FOR HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD IN THIS STORY. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

The Harry Potter series and tears are synonymous for me.

I cried when Sirius died. I sobbed when Fred was killed. But when Dumbledore died in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince? Crying is an understatement – I howled and ugly-cried until my face was swollen and the pages smudged and tear-stained.

Yes, I get a little too attached to book characters.

I was ready to repeat this with Harry Potter and the Cursed Childthe final ‘installment’ of the series released yesterday. After securing myself a copy, I shut myself in my room, curled up on my bed and started to read, exactly as I had done just over nine years ago with the final book and all the books before it.

I really wish I hadn’t.

A few hours later (this one’s nowhere near the ready-made doorstop size as its predecessors) I closed the book.

I hadn’t cried once.

The pages were pristine. There was a faint smile or internal ‘ha!’ in a few places but despite the usual events of death, admirable displays of friendship and good triumphing over evil, my eyes were dry. NOTHING. (And this coming from someone who tears up in adverts.)

Expectation versus reality. Image: Supplied

Written by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne and overseen by JK Rowling, Cursed Child is the script of the play of the same name currently showing in London.

Picking up 19 years later, where the epilogue in the Deathly Hallows left off, Harry, Ron and Hermione are all parents of next-generation Hogwarts students.

The play centres on Harry and Ginny's middle son, Albus,  and his friendship with Scorpius Malfoy - yes, Malfoy - after they both get sorted into Slytherin (I know!). We see Albus struggle to live up to the reputation of his wizarding legend father, and Harry in return struggle to have a relationship with a son who is so unlike him.

It's got all the characters we know and love, plus their children we've long imagined. Harry, Ron and Hermione are grown up, a little tired and flawed - just like we are. But that's where the similarity to the other seven books really ends. (Post continues after gallery.)

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It feels more like fan fiction; Albus and Scorpio use a time turner to go back and try and save Cedric Diggory only to completely change the course of history multiple times including one where Harry Potter is killed by Voldemort, and one where Ron marries Padma Patil not Hermione (the horror!).

There's a few twists and it all ends happily ever after, but it lacks the heart and depth I was expecting.

Technically it ticks all the boxes that nostalgic fans will want - nods to infamous quotes, the return of Snape,a loved up Hermione and Ron and Dumbledore - but it doesn't quite deliver. I finished it and felt confused and disappointed rather than entranced. If anything, it threatened to break the spell of Harry Potter that had endured "after all this time."

Had Rowling written the storyline as a proper novel, it would have been amazing. If you're lucky enough to see the play performed, I bet it's amazing. But after all the hype, to consume it in the current form it's available to us outside of London? It's lukewarm.

via GIPHY

It was like reading the plot outline of a film in Wikipedia rather than watching it on a screen. You've gotten rid of your FOMO, but it's not exactly satisfying. I was heartbroken - but more for me than any of the characters this time.

So when I heard JK Rowling announce at the play's London premiere that with this, Harry Potter was officially over, instead of bawling as I once would, I was grateful.

We need to leave him alone.

Part of the magic of Harry Potter is our memories of the first time we discovered it. As a children's series, it was pretty close to perfect. It was warm, heartbreaking, witty, thought-provoking, humorous and hear-breaking again, beloved by all ages. It inspired a love of reading in millions of us.

A younger, Harry Potter-obsessed me in my Gryffindor robes. Image: Supplied

Rowling created an incredible world, of which there really is endless material. But just because we can, doesn't mean we should.

I know a play script was never going to live up to the original books or an excellent performance, and I get given it will be years before the play comes our way, they wanted some way for us to be a part of the next chapter.

But it's a chapter that I think could have been best left out.

Image: Supplied

What did you think of the book?

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