Note: These are just some early thoughts and is not a review (but you can view my updated thoughts here.)
I’m more than a little disappointed that this is just the play’s script in book form and not a new novel (which I, like so many other fans, initially assumed it was going to be). On top of that, in 2017 a finalized version of the script is going to be released; so this is just the rehearsal version (as stated on the book’s cover, so it comes as no surprise) and, hence, isn’t in final form.
So I don’t know…
I love all things Harry Potter but this just feels like it’s trying to milk a willing audience. Plus (and this is just a personal preference) I usually have a hard time getting into book-form scripts. It’s like reading a book written in letter or diary form – it lacks strong description and sensory elements, thus reading more like events occur and characters exist in a black box.
Story-wise, based on what we know so far, the play’s plot focuses on Albus Potter, Harry’s middle child, who goes off to Hogwarts, as well as the travails of his father as a Ministry of Magic employee. Familiar and new faces emerge, including Scorpius Malfoy (son of Harry’s old school nemesis, Draco Malfoy). That’s all I feel is right to share without slapping on a spoiler tag, so if you’d like to delve a little more into the plot’s details, you can check out this early review in “Entertainment Weekly,” though, fair warning, there are some spoiler-ish details but nothing too massive: http://www.ew.com/article/2016/07/25/harry-potter-cursed-child-review.
Plot-wise, based on this article, it certainly sounds like a classic Potter tale though, again, without having seen the actual script itself, it’s hard to judge at this point. However, I was slightly irked to learn about one plot device (refer to the article linked above) supposedly used. It’s not that I’m against this type of plot device or that I think it can’t work: it’s simply that I’ve seen it used so many times before without great benefit or purpose to a story, as if the author honestly wasn’t sure how to advance the plot so, hey, why not….well, I’ll let you peruse the article for yourself. I’ll limit my spoilers here but all I’ll say is that if the plot device used near the end of Prisoner of Azkaban wasn’t exactly your cup of pumpkin juice, then you might not be too thrilled to hear that a similar device will be utilized in this story.
I’ll certainly check out excerpts once they become available on Amazon, but I’m not sure I’ll plunk down money on this at the moment, especially as it’s a non-finalized version. It’s almost like it’s being released solely to satiate fans’ curiosities, which is fine but, again, I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t what’s chiefly behind it…
I don’t want my beloved Potter-verse to be transformed into a money-grubbing machine. I’m cool with the novels and films. I’m cool with the two Hogwarts textbooks (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quiddich Through the Ages) and The Tales of Beedle the Bard. I’m cool with the Pottermore website, some of the Harry Potter merchandise, and the theme park (which I’ve yet to visit – shame on me!). I’m sort of on board with the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them intended film franchise, but I’ll admit it’s pushing me towards “just leave the Potter universe alone” sentiments.
But releasing a script, knowing full well it’s going to be tinkered with, and then re-releasing it in final form later on (and also knowing full well fans will buy both versions)? Like I said, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about that. It’s almost like when studios release a film on DVD only to, months later, re-release the exact same movie with previously unseen footage though it’s essentially the same story. That’s the comparison running through my head at all of this, so I’m squarely on the fence for now.
Time will tell and we shall see. It could be a cool way to explore the wizarding world in a different medium, or it could be trying to inject more marketing into a franchise that is perfectly fine the way it is.
Just my thoughts though, and I’ve been known to be wrong at times. 🙂