Book: “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”
Parts 1 & 2
by J K Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne.
ISBN No: 978-0-7515-6535-5
Publisher: Little, Brown.
Title: Nineteen Years Later
The Harry Potter Series, doesn’t only represent contemporary literature, but represents a legacy unmatched in the 21st century. What started as a thought noted on a piece of paper for JK Rowling lead to a generation of ‘muggles’ living, breathing and speaking a language from the world of Wizards, all too seamlessly. All potter novels and characters draw relevance from the ‘real’ world we live in and find magical parallels in its wizarding counterpart. The enchanted world that JK Rowling created didn’t earn its legacy because of its wizardry alone, but it did so for its deeply entrenched humanity.
Harry potter and the cursed child initiates where the novels end, nineteen years later from the time of the events of the wizarding war in Hogwarts. Harry potter is happily married to Ginny weasley. They are the parents of three children: Albusseverus potter, James Potter and Lily potter. Ron weasley and Hermione Granger are married and are parents to Rose weasley, a beautiful young witch.
A play in two parts, this book is different in many ways compared to its predecessors. Primarily, it is the script of a play; hence the narrative reveals itself only in dialogue. Secondly, it is based on the original story by JK Rowling, but the playwright is Jack Thorne. Rowling’s own words are missing. Its major themes involve the relationship Harry shares with his son. The frustrated Albus Severus, who is always being compared to his celebrity father, he finds it forever difficult to cope withthe school that his father loved. For Albus Severus Hogwarts is a nightmare.
In the world of time turners, flying brooms, witches, wizards and spells the central question is, as always, a humane one. The lost Albus, finds it difficult to adapt to the world he is thrown in. Harry on the other hand, being an orphan finds fatherhood particularly tedious. (His parents died when he was very young, hexed by the death curse that came from the wand of the dark lord ‘Voldemort’.) The lack of a father in his life leaves him with no direction to follow.
Albus Severus finds that things are thrust upon him. He doesn’t have an option but to follow the rules. In the midst of all this chaos, the only solace he finds is his friend, Scorpius. Scorpius being the son of Draco Malfoy, finds no takers. The rumour associated with Scorpius makes people shun him. His friendship with AlbusSeverus blooms in the backdrop of the hate spurned by all the others.
The play is dynamic, for within its four acts lie the entire length of years Albus Severus spends in Hogwarts. His friendships, his fears, all play out within the pages of one book, contrasting to the many books it took for Harry to conclude his fate. The narrative also deals with a primary moral question, like all Potter books do. Whether one should change the past if one has the power to? and even if one does, will the desired future be attained?
This book is as an independent narrative, distinct from the earlier books, for it has its own conflicts, own friendships and its own complexity. Any comparisons to its predecessors might lead to bitter disappointment, for neither its form, nor its author, nor is its protagonist reminiscent of its predecessors. But independently it can be a new spell that might enchant one.
The fantasy genre had seen a paradigm shift with the release of JRR Tolkien’s ‘Lord Of The Rings’ and ‘The hobbit.’ In ‘the uses of enchantment’, Bruno Bettleheim discusses the way fantasy affects a person psychologically. The challenges people face, like separation anxiety, starvation fear and the fear of being deserted are a part of their unconscious mind. These fears are usually downplayed by parents, who’d like their child to believe that the world is a bright place where everything is good. But tales like Harry Potter acknowledge that human beings have unresolved feelings, a big communication gap, aggression and anxiety like Albus Severus. In the plight of Albus Severus people identify their own fears. The character that undergoes all these challenges, shows that after overcoming his own fears, there is finality, where one can find emotional stability and satisfaction.