Nine years after the latest instalment in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has just had its embargo lifted and The Spinoff’s Madeleine Chapman has her hands on a copy. (Spoilers ████████████ aka redacted for readers’ safety).
I remember when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out. I was in year nine and it was the first book I ever bought on its release date and with my own money. I caught the bus into town and expected throngs of Potter fans to be crowding Courtenay Place Whitcoulls. Instead I walked into a near empty store, grabbed a copy from the giant display, and started reading it on the spot.
I got home an hour later and settled into bed at 1pm, I didn’t reemerge until it was finished and all my favourite characters were dead.
Now here I am, nine years later, about to read the extended epilogue that is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the script for the play currently showing in London and set, like the epilogue of Deathly Hallows, 19 years later.
In the nine years since Deathly Hallows, J.K Rowling has been adding to the Potter canon through her online interactive website Pottermore, something that I got really into for three days and then didn’t visit for years. It felt weird to read about these beloved characters on my laptop or phone, in weird website formatting. I wanted to read a book, with paper and ink and everything.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has all these things and I find myself more excited about reading a book (or stage play) than I have been in a long time. I’ve got a roaring fire(space heater) going, I’m sitting in a high-backed armchair (the wall behind my bed), and I’m ready to go.
Join me on my journey through the weird world of Harry Potter without Snape, Lupin, Tonks, Dobby, Fred… basically all the cool side characters. This might ruin my childhood a la the new Ghostbusters – but it also might just be a book (or stage play).
11:01 Embargo lifts and I’ve got a copy. It’s bigger than the original seven which means it won’t fit in on the bookshelf. Immediate red flag.
11:20 Oh my word my home is freezing. Maybe I should make an actual fire to set the reading mood.
11:39 Fire is roaring. I am the Lord of light. Or wizard of light, whatever.
11:45 This first chapter seems familiar. I grabbed my copy of Deathly Hallows and yes, it’s the epilogue rewritten with only the dialogue. Not sure if I like this whole stage play set up. It requires a lot more thinking and imagination on my part which I didn’t sign up for.
11:50 Scorpius Malfoy. What a name. But isn’t there a famous movie character called Scorpius? Anyway, he saying things like “father-son issues, I have them” which makes me wonder if he’s supposed to be 11 or 45.
12:22 Wait a minute, Scorpius is ████████████ ? Huge if true. They’re dropping bombs and I’m only 30 pages in.
12: 26 Poor Albus, forced to████████████████████████ even though his Dad is the Harry Potter.
12:27 Someone just said ‘thank Dumbledore’ as in ‘thank God’. Was Dumbledore actually God this whole time? That explains the whole triangle thing. Father, Son, Holy Spirit. The trinity. I THINK I JUST SOLVED HARRY POTTER.
12:30 Trinity…ooooh it’s Morpheus! That’s the famous character, not Scorpius. As you were.
12:35 Albus Potter and Rose Granger-Weasley (love the hyphenated name) are ████████████ and it’s making me want to cry. That also might be because I just dropped my digestive on the page and now there’s a chocolate smudge.
12:42 Is this how 13 year olds talk?
Apparently wizardry has moved on since we were kids.”
Harry Potter is now a baby boomer and is about to go to council to prevent young witches and wizards from owning their own castles.
And with that, Harry Potter became the most annoying person in the world.
1:07 Cedric Diggory’s dad just showed up. RIP Cedric. RIP my memory of everything about you besides the fact that you died.
1:16 Whoah Albus and Harry really ████████████. Wasn’t expecting that. Also wasn’t expecting to enjoy using the redacted squares so much.
1:23 Oh it’s a dream sequence. Oh it’s a flashback dream. Oh it’s going to be one of those flashbacks where you get a different angle to a famous scene. Can’t wait…nope, it’s just the famous scene verbatim.
1:26 Guess who’s back, back again. ████████’s back, tell a friend.
1:36 Scorpius Malfoy is the best character in this book, I can already tell and I’ve finally figured out why. Every other character (the new kids) are some sort of hybrid of Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny. So it feels like you’re reading about them but with different names. Scorpius is his own self and so far more interesting than the rest.
1:44 It’s been 19 years and yet the ministry is still exactly the same and able to be infiltrated in the exact same way. Progress in the wizarding world seems a bit slow. Just waiting for a variation of Tinder or Snapchat to make an appearance.
1:58 End of Act One. Biggest takeaways are: 1) the kids call each other ‘mate’ now. 2) Apparently Hermione isn’t as smart as we all thought – or Harry and Ron were just really dumb – because she gets outsmarted by some kids. It’s a constant cycle of kids being smarter than adults, even when the adults are the previously-smart kids. 3) I miss reading words that aren’t just dialogue. My imagination is so bad that all the action is currently taking place in an empty room in my head.
2:12 It took 104 pages for someone to say Harry’s favourite word, ‘expelliarmus!’. Is this even a Harry Potter book?
2:20 Albus now seems to think that expelliarmus is the only and/or greatest spell and should be used in every occasion. He truly is Harry’s son #nonewspells
2:30 Remember in the third book when Hermione had that time travel thing that she used to travel back in time and attend more classes? (lol) And it was so confusing so you just accepted it worked? Well time-travelling is back and ████████ and ████████ go back to the ████████████████ to prevent ████████ from ████████ and it’s all crazy.
2:39 Ugh Harry what are you doing. You can’t just tell Albus ████████████████.
2:41 Whaaaat Harry just put his █████ on Hermione’s ████████ and then █████ her!
2:56 Draco is speaking in long, eloquent sentences and I can’t stop imagining him spitting every word like in the movies. I assume he now speaks like Snape, though.
3:02 At this point in time, things are actually pretty good. And that’s because Professor McGonagall is showing up more. The more the merrier. Or should I say, the more the Minerva. Somebody save me.
3:11 Moaning Mytrle is here! Moaning Myrtle aka the friend from Bridget Jones’ Diary aka the only character I could convincingly play on stage. A lot of throwbacks happening in this book. Should’ve read it on a Thursday, amirite? I’m so far gone at this point.
3:23 So much happening. Such spoilers, many drama. What I can say is there is a Dolores Umbridge appearance (great) and she uses the term ‘head boy’ which seems out of place. Did they use to say ‘head boy’? I don’t think so.
3:23 I have to look up the definition of a word in a Harry Potter book. Don’t look at me.
I think I just played myself.
3:36 Ever wanted to bring back all the cool characters that you killed off earlier in the series? Well now you can, with a little thing called time travel. It’s like all your favourite fan fiction stories in one. That is both a compliment to the book and an insult.
3:51 We’re two thirds of the way through the book and are kind of back at the beginning. My fan fiction theory is becoming a little too real. And all the digestives are gone. This is a nightmare.
3:53 HOW OLD IS MINERVA? She must be 100 by now.
3:57 Harry and Albus are having a real Mufasa-Simba moment right now. All I can think is ‘you deliberately disobeyed me.’
4:00 No. What. Surely they didn’t just put that exact line in.
4:12 What the. Things are getting weird now. I like the new characters but the problem with making everyone kinda nice at the end of book 7 is that suddenly you need brand new villains in book 8. I hope to be proven wrong by the end of it but this is resembling House M.D season 8 #niche
4:30 Apologies to the four people reading for the delay. Lots has been happening, time is being travelled, Harry is being annoying, and McGonagall is being a badass. I’m starting to get into it despite the Lion King plagiarism.
4:49 Things are happening in Godric’s Hollow and all I know is anytime that place was mentioned in the series, I sort of stopped paying attention. Now I’m annoyed because I missed my movie and instead am reading about Godric’s Hollow again.
5:08 That’s it. I’m finished. And it was okay. Sort of a tv movie version of a real Harry Potter book. You know it’s not good for you but it’s still enjoyable with a digestive.