Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two (J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne)

Wow! Was 2016 a great year for J.K. Rowling or what? Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (based on a story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne but with the script written by Jack Thorne) was released as a play (directed by John Tiffany) and then the script was released for the whole world to enjoy! And not only that, but the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film came out in theatres and the screenplay, which was written by J.K. Rowling herself (her first screenplay!), was also published for the world to enjoy! So much Harry Potter-ness in one year! So much!

For me, this year got busy during the Summer and then got crazy during the Fall so I didn't get around to reading the newest Harry Potter story until the beginning of December. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was incredibly exciting for Harry Potter fans all over the world because it finally gave us a new Harry Potter story along with a glimpse into his life now... with a family consisting of a wife and three kids... plus a frustrating job... and the stresses of being an adult. But the focus of the story isn't on Harry! The story revolves around his youngest son, Albus Severus Potter, who is the middle child of Harry's three children.

Albus is an interesting character. You can't help but love him. He is different from his siblings as well as his dad. He feels like everyone is expecting him to live up to the Potter name and yet he knows that he never will in the way that people think since he knows that he is different. One of the first things that happens is that he becomes best friends with Draco Malfoy's son, Scorpius Malfoy, who is also different from his own father. Scorpius is intelligent, sweet, and dorky. He is also rumoured to actually be Voldemort's son, which makes him frowned upon by other people and so it doesn't look good when Albus becomes friends with him. But Albus doesn't care! Scorpius, like Albus, is an outsider. Both of them just don't fit in.

Things don't go so well for Albus at Hogwarts and he begins to hate it, unlike his father who loved it there. We find out later that Scorpius loves it at Hogwarts whereas his father didn't have such a great time there. Both kids are different from their fathers and different from each other at the same time. Their friendship is strong, though, and that is one of the main messages of the story. A strong friendship can be very important in life. I loved how this message was continued in this script from the main Harry Potter books!

Another great thing about this script is that there is time travel involved (bring on the time turner!). So, we get to see characters and events from the other Harry Potter books which is amazing! I love how this story basically gives us a chance to relive some of the other Harry Potter books again while also giving Albus a chance to see what his Dad lived through. I think it really strengthens their bond since they both struggle to get along with each other. It was also interesting to see that Harry doesn't get along with his son because we see a whole new side of him that way. We love Harry Potter but this story really makes us, as readers, take Albus' side in some situations. I actually didn't like Harry in a few moments because of the way that he was acting. It just wasn't like him to act in certain ways that he did but I guess that just shows us that we're all human and we all have certain times when we aren't very likeable. Also, the changes in Harry, Ron, and Hermione show that we all change as we grow up.

I also really enjoyed this story because of the fact that it is a script. Having taken a screenwriting course in university and learned the basics of screenwriting, I have developed a great appreciation for screenplays and scripts and can never watch a movie or play the same way again without thinking about everything that went into the writing to make it happen. Reading a script is very different from reading a novel. The scenes in a script can be very short and don't always have a whole lot of dialogue and yet they make the message of the scene very clear. In my screenwriting course, I learned that each scene should show the thesis of the story in some way. I think that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child did a very good job in this way. Whenever I read a scene, I could see the themes of the play. Friendship was seen everywhere as well as messages of doing what's right.

Overall, I loved Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, even though the script itself wasn't written by J.K. Rowling. Reading this story in script form was different but interesting and I was constantly picturing the events in my head, imagining how they might look and be acted out on stage in the actual play. Now if only I could go to London to see the real thing!


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