For my birthday, I was happy to receive J.K. Rowling’s new book, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. In the fan-world, I’m a little late to the game, receiving the book three weeks after its release. But I dove in straight away and enjoyed every minute, though it did go by quickly.
I loved the book 1) because I simply love fantasy fiction and 2) I have loved this series since I began reading it back in 2004 or 2005.
However, this eighth book comes to us in a different form – as a screenplay rather than simply as a narrative story. And this is what contributes to the only down point of the book: it goes by rapidly.
Literally, if one wanted to, they could sit down and knock out the book in one day. That’s how fast it reads. However, I spread it out over a week as other things called for my attention in the evenings (family, work, research, book editing).
In a sense, if Rowling had wanted to, she could have stretched this story out over another seven books. She could have followed the entire Hogwarts tenure of the children of the original, famed characters. I would have followed a longer book series. Millions upon millions would have done the same.
But I also commend her for not taking the same route that many other authors and screenwriters have taken in recent years – tugging on fans not for the sake of the storied art itself, but in order to pull at the wallet strings. I am beginning to lament authors and writers that drag out stories well beyond their desired lifespan. This seems to happen more on the screen (tv shows and films) than in book form. I’m glad Rowling did not put forth such an effort.
Still, with the new Harry Potter book, I would have probably enjoyed it a tad more in full narrative form over and above the screenplay. But I still loved it.
For me, the best scene (and I don’t believe this is gives any spoiler) was found in Act Four, Scene Four – the conversation that takes place between Harry and Dumbledore. It is a deep and honest conversation about Harry’s time as a student at Hogwarts. In particular, these words of Dumbledore come as wisdom to remember:
“Harry, there is never a perfect answer in this messy, emotional world. Perfection is beyond the reach of humankind, beyond the reach of magic. In every shining moment of happiness is that drop of poison: the knowledge that pain will come again. Be honest to those you love, show your pain. To suffer is as human as to breathe.”
I recommend the book to all Harry Potter and fantasy fiction fans. Of course, most all read it on August 1st.
I’m grateful for this enchanting series.