Will the magic work this time?
Many speculations later, here it is, glowing in yellow and within our hearts — the special script edition of the eighth Harry Potter book. Readers have loved Harry Potter dearly while JK Rowling, for years, has been breaking every familiar nuance of her previous books to create new stories. Every insight into the Potter world of wizardry creates infinite joy. When a Harry Potter book is revealed, we tend to expect flawless magical details of flying owls, vivid descriptions of food and feasts, gifts from newly turned witches and wizards to one another, the many Christmases with Professor Quinn, and Mrs Weasley’s hand knitted oversized sweaters which take us to the world of magic and might. The question is, whether the eighth story offers any redemption. This play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, puts forward the intertwined lives of Harry, Ron and Hermione in the aftermath of the battle of Hogwarts, and ignites suspicions about the Dark Lord rising again and anticipates the presence of a prodigy of auguries. The first part is very gripping. It opens in the same, familiar tone present in the last seven books with a noteworthy mention of the platform 9 and three quarters similar to the time Harry left for his first journey to Hogwarts 39 years ago. The main characters are the children: Rose Granger Weasley, Albus, James and Lily Potter, and Scorpius Malfoy. Instead of providing long charted introductions to the lives of the leading characters, Rowling humbly introduces the story with an insight into the lives of Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy. Opposed to the prejudices one might have towards Scorpius Malfoy, he does not bear an allegiance to the dark Malfoy bloodline, surprising the readers by being nothing like his father Draco. While Scorpius comes across as being observant, meek, naive and dark humoured initially, he transforms into a kindred soul, brimming with strength and faith in the goodness of his mother. Albus Potter and Harry have in common some very intense fears and the memory of a past that Harry is too aware of even now. When 11 year old Albus sits nervously, wearing black robes, carrying a wand in his hand and asking the sorting hat not to sort him into Slytherin, takes the reader back to the beginning of the Potter saga. Harry and Albus have both had their share of struggles in the Wizarding Events of the 20th Century. Rose Granger Wesley and Albus Potter are cousins but their interaction is largely limited by Albus’s preconceptions about Harry’s childhood. Rose is decisive, wise and quick to act to her strength of speech. Her clarity of thought and wisdom of action resemble Hermione’s character in the first book where Rowling asks readers to acknowledge Hermione for her higher order thinking skills. Sadly for some, the friendship shared by Scorpius and Albus hasn’t been as promising as that of Harry, Ron and Hermione. Ron is at his best throughout and Hermione maintains her charismatic and wise demeanour, serving at the ministry of magic. Being the minister only adds to her long list of impending glories waiting to be showcased to the wizarding community. Unlike previously, the plot centres on the concept of time turning which involves going back to different time zones in the past to change the undesirable or create something worthy in the Potter world. The mention of Cedric was least expected but comes as a beautiful surprise and represents the idea of dual or even triple time frames amalgamating into one reality — that of the defeat of Voldemort. What would happen if Cedric Diggory did not die at the end of the Triwizard tournament? Beginning in a world where the Dark Lord never lost, where pure, dark and practical magic is contained in the minds of young wizards at Hogwarts, and where Harry Potter no longer lives; this is a time where the genetics of the battle of Hogwarts remain unchanged and Ron and Hermione cease to exist as a married couple preventing the birth of their daughter Rose. There is chaotic time turning to bring Cedric back for his beloved father Amos Diggory, and to prevent a tragic loss of life, Harry and Albus spin off on a mission that takes them to the past and future multiple times. The ease with which complex ideas are delivered into simple events and conversations by Rowling reconnects the readers to Harry Potter like it did at the beginning of the series. Similar but not the same, for a stronger and more qualitative brush through the book, however, might make the reader question if watching the play might be a better choice than reading the script. An exchange of dialogues in the book-script form has taken away from the charm of opening the latest Harry Potter book. The story has been conveyed eloquently. Most noteworthy is the effort evident in sanctifying the dialogue meant to be performed on stage, keeping up with the competitive standard set by Rowling. Jack Thorne demands that the book must be treated like a collection of dialogues with enhanced narration which comes from an underlying genesis in the original Harry Potter books. Although this takes away from the original idea, it initiates progress into a more solid storyline in the future preventing Harry Potter stories from being stereotyped or open ended. At its best, the book gives us an opportunity to relive innocent pleasures of reading about Harry and Hogwarts. Rowling has brought back to us the memories of our beloved Potter times. One should be prepared that this is not a sequel; for “brightness can be found even in the darkest of times, only if one remembers to turn the lights on”. The reviewer is a graduate in Economics Honours from the Delhi College Of Arts and CommerceSource