It’s number 8 and we had to wait nine long years for it. And finally a book that bore the Harry Potter name has hit our book stores. Notwithstanding the aura of excitement, we plunge right into the pensive book titled ‘Harry Potter and The Cursed Child.’
The story begins where we were left nine years ago on the platform of nine and three quarters as an anxious papa Harry has arrived to see off his second son, who is to begin his first year in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Meet Albus Severus Potter – son of the chosen one – who struggles to stay out of his father’s legacy. And who does he befriend on his very first journey on the Hogwarts Express - Scorpius Malfoy, the son of Harry’s most dreaded enemies from the school days.
From then on, we get an antithesis of whatever we had taken for granted in the previous Harry Potter series – Albus gets picked for Slytherin (considered to be a house of the evil clan), struggles to play Quidditch (a wizard game played on broomsticks), fumbles on the simplest of spells and picks up an argument every time he tries to have a conversation with his dad.
The action begins when Albus tries to rectify a mistake made by his dad during the latter’s school years. The teenager, along with his friend Scorpius, steals a time-turner from the Ministry of Magic and travels back couple of decades, setting off a cacophony of events that threatens to dismantle the magical world and even bring back the Dark Lord – Voldemort, whom Harry had defeated in ‘The Deathly Hallows.’
If you are wondering why I am talking only about Albus and his adventures, this is when I need to tell you that the story isn’t so much about Harry Potter, who is now an aging ministry man desperately trying to reign on his children. We only get to see the Harry we know in parts – he is no more the bespectacled boy who breaks a hundred school rules while trying to save the wizarding world along with his trusted mates, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.
But that in no way reduces the worth of the current book co-authored by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne. Written for a play, the book lets you into a world of magic that’s slightly different from what we had grown accustomed seeing through Harry’s bewildered eyes.
Writing narrative is definitely altered to meet the requirements of a playwright’s script, and for a fleeting second, the thought of how can the producers set a magical world on a stage hovered above me, before I brushed it off to return to the book.
The plot picks up pace from Act Two and goes on full throttle, throwing enough surprises to keep you spellbound. Couple of the dead characters make a reappearance (it’s the magical world, remember?) and some interesting tidbits are also thrown our way - like the powers of the trolley witch, who has been a passing reference in almost every book in the series.
The book by itself works as a time-turner as we get to revisit some of the situations from earlier in the series. But we would have liked to see more action and mischief from teen Albus, leaving the eighth book a notch below its predecessors, who clearly had the Rowling style clamped all over them.
But the book did reignite the cauldron of interest in magic, drawing Potter maniacs back to its fold. ‘Harry Potter and The Cursed Child’ does not race away like his famed Firebolt broomstick but offers a trusted, safe journey like the one Harry enjoyed on his first Nimbus Two Thousand.
Verdict: Go for it