Scripts can be tricky and the new play – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – offered some challenges in the reading. The only modern script I remember liking is Lily Tomlin’s The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe – still among my favorites on my bookshelf.
I’ve always been a fan of J.K. Rowling’s creation of the boy wizard series, buying first editions as soon as published, but I’ve never liked the movies. Despite the talented actors who grew up with the stories, something about seeing Harry amid all the magical effects on screen did not seem as exciting as reading about him and imagining the possibilities. In this case, I suspected the reverse – reading the script may not be as satisfying as seeing the play.
Rowling and her fellow writers, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, deliver a clever addition to the Harry Potter saga, with Harry a faltering forty year old, married to Ginny, with a son named after two memorable characters from the series, Albus Severus. The disconnect between father and son fuels the plot, and other progeny join the adventure as Harry once again battles the villain Voldemort, but the trick this time is time travel.
Trying to change the past has its consequences, as readers appreciate from so much fiction warning us of its terrors – notably the classic Ray Bradbury story imagining a careless time traveler who changes the present by stepping on a butterfly in the past; nevertheless, Rowling manufactures a new twist on trying to improve the past – with dire results. The action is fast, despite three trips back to Harry’s childhood, and fans of Harry Potter will enjoy the references to the books series.
The ending is not predictable, offering a moral lesson. All ends well, with everything and everyone back in place, and good conquering evil, possibly preempting a sequel – or not. Young Albus seems destined to reinvent the adventures of his father – the book has the subtitle of “Parts One and Two.”
Related Review: The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe