Harry Potter, the boy who was our gateway to the magical world of Hogwarts, the boy who lived, has come to serve another term, and I don’t have a good feeling about this one. I never had, just for the record. To be absolutely clear, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a play written by Jack Thorne and not J.K Rowling. The idea of the plot came from J.K Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany.
So, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child provides us an insight to the magical world of Harry Potter, 19 years post the Battle of Hogwarts. Necessarily, not an insight we couldn’t think of, however, any insight into this magical world is always welcome with an open heart, an intense wave of nostalgia and nothing short of gratification. Gratification for further fueling our imagination, and for giving us information about the characters we have learned to adore and look up to.
The play starts where we left off, at the King’s Cross Station. The book traces the tumultuous relationship between Harry Potter and his son, Albus Severus, who is struggling to keep up with the image of his father as well as the names he’s bestowed, or more probably burdened with.
While almost all the major characters from the series return in some form or another, they’re less compelling than the two young heroes of the play, Albus Severus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy, the sons of Harry and his former rival Draco Malfoy. As Albus and Scorpius struggle with living under the shadows cast by their fathers, Cursed Child too seems to wrestle with its legacy, borrowing heavily from older stories, and garnering mixed emotions in return.
Hogwarts does exactly the opposite to Albus that it did to Harry. Albus is struggling keeping up with father’s heroic image, while Scorpious has to deal with the tinted reputation of his own father and a rumor. Both of them are outcasts and are bonded my loneliness and for sharing the burden of disappointment, squatting heavily on their shoulders.
The tussle between Harry and his son is depicted quite well in the play. As Harry continues to fail miserably as a parent, Albus responds to his father’s outburst by conspiring with a mysterious young woman, Delphini, to go back in time and save one soul lost along the path of his father’s story- Cedric Diggory.
And as his tweaks in the space-time continuum play out with Scorpious by his side, futures are similarly reshaped and lines are redrawn. Good characters go bad. Terrible characters reemerge. Worlds change. Our heroes die and reappear. Good triumphs evil, and evil triumphs good. They fickle with time, and thus, fickle with the mind of the reader, bursting the bubble we were all happily and with content immersed in.
I have always maintained that the more Ms. Rowling fills the gaps in the story, the less is left for the readers to imagine, thus, not giving us the free will when it comes to designing our own magical world.
She gave us a beautiful world, and she ended it magnificently. However, did we need this play? Can we just not let things be the way they are? In the bid for wanting more, did we just compromise with the originality and exclusivity Rowling promised and delivered?
Reading Cursed Child, for all its compelling twists and turns, at many points feels like reading well-crafted fan fiction.
It was a continuation we never needed. For the record, if few years down the line kids from next generation ask me about the end of Harry Potter, I would always say that it ends with – all was well. Because all was indeed well, till we were hit by the curse of continuation. In a bid to cater to the fans demanding new content from the wizarding world of Harry Potter, they came up with a fan-fiction that was legitimized by Ms. Rowling.
For me, it definitely undermines the saccharine perfection that was the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
All was well, and that’s how it should always end.