In the interest of full disclosure, this is not the column I had planned on writing.
Ten pages into reading “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” I had already mentally written a review: one that dubbed the story unnecessary, painful to read and reminiscent of sub par fan fiction.
I had been ready to criticize Rowling for not knowing when to quit. She had her books and her movies, but then came the Pottermore website and two amusement parks and now a play? She has to have enough money at this point.
But then something happened: Albus Severus Potter sat down in the Great Hall with the Sorting Hat atop his head, and I was transported to a place I hadn’t been to since I was 11 years old and experiencing the magic of the world of Harry Potter for the very first time.
Of course it’s tough to stack this one up against the previous seven, but the bottom line is that the world of Harry Potter was always bigger than the writing: it was about submersing the reader into a world of magic.
Critics such as The Washington Post‘s Alyssa Rosenberg, recently wrote about the disappointing lack of quality writing in “Cursed Child, and rightfully so. As a stand-alone piece of literature, this one doesn’t stand a chance against its precursors. Plot lines are more than questionable in some areas and it’s written in a simple, methodical script format, with no trace of the quintessentially eloquent prose by J.K. Rowling that fans know and love.
But to be fair, an eighth chapter written in the traditional “Potter” way still wouldn’t be the same. We as individual fans aren’t the same; the world isn’t the same. How could we expect Harry Potter to be?
I followed along as Albus and Scorpius got into a series of shenanigans as only the son of Harry Potter could, and I remembered why we all loved his world in the first place.
There’s a certain feeling you get from reading the “Potter” books for the first time, and then again from watching the movies for the first time; from getting sorted into a Hogwarts house for yourself online; from tasting your very own Butterbeer in a Diagon Alley-disguised Orlando (and now Hollywood). Getting to experience the magic for the first time again is a special gift, and it’s one that Potter fans have been granted yet again.
Haven’t we all hoped for our own Time-Turners so we could go back and read the series for the first time again?
We got another chance to read late into the night, past the bedtimes we don’t have anymore, to put everything else in our lives on hold because the world of Harry Potter deserves our undivided and unwavering attention.
If there’s one positive thing to come out of a new addition into the “Potter” universe, it’s that it lets the magic live on.
I’m a rising sophomore in college and far, far away from the elementary school kid I was when I started— and I was a latecomer to jump on the “Potter” bandwagon. The original fans-who were Harry’s age when the books first came out- are now parents who grew up to wear Gryffindor ties to their weddings, own dogs called Dobby and Fang and name their kids James and Lily. Harry Potter shaped their childhoods, and now it’s shaping their children’s too.
A little over five years ago, J.K. Rowling spoke in front of thousands of fans at the world premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two during what then seemed like the very final goodbye to the Potter universe.
“Whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home,” she said.
Now, of course, you can go back by page, screen, website, theme park or stage, but Rowling was right: whichever medium you choose, the magic of Harry Potter isn’t going anywhere.