HP and the Cursed Child Review

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So I have finished reading “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” and of course have to blog about it, being my ambition to take thoughts from my head and construct them into words.
There are a just a few spoilers ahead

I think I can officially say I have got my Harry Potter groove back again. It has been renewed and re-energized. I thought it would be impossible to get back the magic but I have been proven wrong. This is my trying attempt at a review of the long awaited eighth story in the Harry Potter series. Being a play, it was a little hard to get a feel for the characters, being little more than two dimensional and flat, but what a page turner it was. I read the story, which is little more than a manuscript of dialogue and stage directions, in about three days.

“Cursed Child” is a 308 page script (292 of it story; the rest cast info and production notes) and is divided into two parts of four acts. It is based on an original story written by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne. It is not canon and reads more like fan fiction.

The plot is all about time travel, and rewriting and un-writing history. What else could it be about? In order for the story to be anything worth reading, the old Voldemort plotline (or any similar sinister plot) had to be featured. Voldy may have gone Moldy in book seven, but the concept of Time-Turners makes his return an interesting possibility. At one point, the wizarding world is under control by Voldemort and his legion of followers. Dark days.

Part 1 is more about establishing the storyline and going through lots of talk at the Ministry while Part 2 is where the adventure really takes off, where it’s a trip back to a magically repaired Hogwarts where life goes on as usual as if the Battle in 1997 never happened (it’s about 2019 during Albus’ fourth year).

At times, it feels like all the script manages to do is rehash events from the past and try to paint alternative scenes from them. Maybe it is just serves as another excuse for Potter fans to dish out money.

The main characters:

Scorpius Malfoy – very unlike his father, becomes best friends with Albus Potter and the two are virtually inseparable throughout the play, developing  a bromance with awkward hugging:

“Okay. Hello. Um. Have we hugged before?” Scorpius says after a clumsy embrace. “Do we hug?”

He has a weird sense of humor and a slight romantic attraction to Rose Granger-Weasley, Ron and Hermione’s daughter, to little success at wooing her.

Albus Potter – the main protagonist of the story, is afraid of being sorted into Slytherin house, for which he ultimately is. Has some trouble connecting with his father from the beginning. Goes on a time traveling adventure with Scorpius and nearly ends up screwing up the world for good.

Harry Potter – a much older man now working at the Ministry of Magic. He has to grip with raising a family and keeping behind a past that keeps trying to resurface. HIs scar and vivid dreams relating to Voldemort come back into play.

Delphini Diggory – the main villain of the play, tricks Albus into thinking she was a pure goodhearted person when in fact she is the perpetrated daughter of Lord Voldemort (how this is even possible and why anyone – even the vilest of people – would want to mate with him – is a puzzling thought).

The connections between characters is apparent; Albus, like his mother Ginny, is easily fooled and like the namesake of his middle name, is a bit of an outcast; James, like his grandfather, is arrogant and rude to Albus.

I loved this story right from the get go. It had enough twists and turns to keep me interested. Like the main seven books before it, nostalgic feelings came back as I neared the end of the story, feelings of reading a Harry Potter novel for the first time and anticipating what was to happen next. “Cursed Child” is well written and has just enough of that Harry Potter magic to make us all believe again.

Going with a 5 star system, I give the play/book 4/5 stars. The plot could have been a little more original (I felt like I was reading a script for Back to the Future at times)and less hurried, but overall this was an entertaining and heartwarming read. I may still get the play in the crisp hardcover form, because then it would fit along with the beautiful set of seven books I already own.

Watch the video below for a more detailed review:

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36 Years

My childhood hero is getting old.

It’s Harry Potter and author J.K. Rowling’s birthday today, both born on July 31st. The celebration weekend goes on with the release of the unofficial eighth book in the Harry Potter universe “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”. While this book is available in a physical paperback form, I bought it on Google Play for a friendly price of 14.99. It’s not really a novel but the script from a stageplay adapted into a book. The drama continues with the kids of Harry, Ron, and Hermione going to Hogwarts. Albus Severus Potter is the main character in this story and deals with some real issues, including questioning his family name and heritage. What’s in it for the future of Harry Potter and company? Read the story to find out.

Dramatic

My Long Lost Imaginary Friend

Many of us had imaginary friends as young children. If your imaginary friend grew up alongside you, what would his/her/its life be like today? (Didn’t have one? write about a non-imaginary friend you haven’t seen since childhood.)


I had an imaginary friend named Munchie. Where that name came from I have no clue…it just popped into my head one day while I was perusing the wooden slabs of the playground by myself, lost in deep thought as usual. Maybe because it sounded so amusing and playful to my childlike brain. From around the beginning of elementary school I followed him through his training at what I called the Academy, a futuristic space school, being mentored in classes, and advancing alongside me grade by grade. There were always tasks I would commence in my head that he would have to do at this Academy such as one time near the monkey bars, I envisioned a science class and something involving plates.

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This is how I envisioned “him”, always from the back with dreadlocks
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What I think ‘Voyager’ looked like. I can’t really find any picture like the one in my head so Star Trek will have to do.

Voyager. This was how my adventures with Munchie began. What I called the entry level for him at the Academy. It was the entering of an exciting place for me, one where I could escape the reality of the world – which meant having to converse with others which I was very afraid of and quite uninterested in at the time. It all started around kindergarten near this big jungle gym dome on the playground that looked like a spider’s web. I was walking along the border slats, the idea for my imaginary friend forming tantalizingly in my mind. There was a strange, dark, shadowy figure in my head when I first started. He spoke to Munchie, being the first to call him by his name, and instructed him on what he was about to embark on, telling him of the long, treacherous journey that he would take. He spoke in a real authoritative voice, but acted like a father figure to Munchie or Munch as I called him a couple of times. Munchie listened to him intently, simply nodding his head and going through the various steps to one day become the master that Mr. Dark wanted him to be. There was always a cold chill that ran down my back whenever he would speak. He was so convincing but his voice lurked on the edge of danger.

Out of this World. What came to be called the imaginary universe that my friend Munchie lived in until about fifth grade. I remember rushing down the big tube slide and imagining that was the grand entrance or portal to the world. Then, when my Munchie reached seventh grade (me skipping ahead in my mind because of the feeling of our time becoming less), I started “In of this World”, which didn’t last long; it was a sign of our friendship degrading as our time on the playground started to become more and more apparent and people thought I was weird. But I liked being different. It was a comforting feeling to have this little universe all to myself. When someone would try to interrupt it I got very defensive and quite anxious at having any discussion. I just wanted them to leave so I could continue with my inner fantasy. There was an embarrassing time once in the second grade I believe where I was talking to my imaginary friend on the wooden platform under the slide and Adam Noakes, a kid of short stature who I always envisioned becoming a mystery writer, came by and sat down by me, wanting to talk. Since I was very shy about talking to anyone I immediately got up and ran over to the swings. I saw him staring back at me looking confused, like I didn’t want to talk to him because I had something against him. No, it wasn’t that. I was busy being lost in my imaginary world with my imaginary friend and someone catching me muttering things to myself shocked me quite a bit. I didn’t want anyone to know about my weird escapades off to a fantasy land. Everything was a lot better and more exciting when I didn’t have to face reality or have people interfere.

At around the end of fifth grade, our time together was starting to vanish quickly. I could no longer hide my wandering around and talking to myself any longer – some kids were starting to make fun of me. As I was growing up, the glue keeping me and Munchie’s friendship together was failing. As the need for real friendship erupted in myself, I desperately wanted to ‘exit’ the world I had been living in for so long. It was time to end it all. There was a big countdown in my head until I would leave for good. Right around the final month of school, I had a ceremony, saying farewell to Munchie and many of the other people in his universe. We had a memory walk, remembering all of the times we spent together, various images and sounds flashing by in my mind, making me feel quite nostalgic. Near the pole of the funnel ball game on the playground, I launched myself out of the world in quite dramatic fashion, imagining I was standing on a futuristic pad and waiting for two space doors to open; dramatic tribute music played; I stepped through those doors and there was a burst of bright light, a whooshing sound taking me away, until I landed on cold grey asphalt. The thoughts of the journey did not last long for I decided to forget the entire world for good, moving on with my life. January 2, 2003 is always the day I remember leaving my imaginary friend Munchie and his mysterious universe behind.

Where is my friend Munchie now? Is he the same age as I or has he progressed more rapidly? What became of him after I exited his fantastical world? Did he latch onto another wandering outcast? I know he’s still in my brain, I mean I was the one who created him, maybe I can contact him right now…have a little reunion…like old times…

“Hey, Munch…how have you been?”

The air starts to feel cold and lonely. I’m trying to peek into a place that reminds me of Chernobyl: forgotten and full of sadness.

In a dark room, absent of any sound, a shaggy haired man suddenly looks up from a desk and stares at me with big, coal black eyes. He can’t say anything because he’s never had a voice, I never gave him one. All he does is mutter weird sounds.

“Eerp?”, he says through the dreadlocks covering his mysterious face.

“Um, hey, I’ve missed you old bud, it’s been so long. Just wanted to talk to you one more time.”

“Eerp, eerp,” Munchie mutters once more.

But there is no need to go on any longer for I can’t possibly find anyway to bring back the true essence, the excitement of this friend that has been stuffed away for so long now. Maybe one day I’ll decide to try to find my way back to that world…but it really only existed on the playground so it would be quite difficult to recreate. But I do have one tool that could do the trick – writing.


Daily Prompt 10/22/14

When In Doubt, Harry Potter

What’s the longest you’ve ever gone without reading a book (since learning how to read, of course)? Which book was it that helped break the dry spell?


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The Most Interesting Man in the World explains it best for me: since my computer and the Internet dominate my life these days, taking time to pick up a book has fallen out considerably. I often find myself merely reading the first couple pages of a novel before getting bored, putting it down, and proceeding to look up random crap on the web or opening up the fridge for the umpteenth time hoping to find something good to eat and then closing it again. But my interests in books picks up again when I start reading Harry Potter, since it is such an engaging series and is not hard to bite into (I mean that in a literary sense of getting greatly invested in the novel, not taking a juicy piece out of it).

It was about a year since I last read the whole way through a book but then I picked up Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban out of the brand new set of seven I had ordered from eBay. I started with the third book intentionally because that was how my experience in the Harry Potter universe began – in 2003 when I was eleven years old, ironically the same age as Harry in Sorcerer’s Stone (Philosopher’s Stone for the English)that I also read after Chamber of Secrets. Yup, I read the first three books in reverse order, diving into the middle of the saga and not having much clue who the characters were or what all the terminology meant. I read Azkaban first because that was the only book besides Goblet of Fire on the classroom shelf. I remember there being so much hype about Harry Potter, seeing all the merchandise floating around (a kid walking through the store with a Harry Potter backpack still burns my retinas), and how kids (and adults) were saying this was the best book ever. But it was the ignorant people who said the book was for children and nerds alike that turned me away from the series initially.

Well, I was hungry for a good read one day near the end of fifth grade and decided to try out one of the HP books on the shelf. I was quite a loner and books were a way for to fill an empty void in my life. Since I was a little embarrassed about reading Harry Potter, I snuck it out of the classroom and started reading the novel at home and oh, my…it was fantastic! I was hooked from the first sentence and not starting with the first book put some disbelief into the series for me as I didn’t readily know what to expect or what was supposed to happen. From first finding out about the Dursleys, to discovering this boy wonder with a lightning scar on his forehead, to being fooled by the notion that Sirius Black was indeed a murderer of 13 innocent Muggles, the book took me to a place I had never imagined before. Every night I read that novel and no one else even knew about it so it was a guilty pleasure for a while because Harry Potter had not quite hit the worldwide fan craze. I still remember the crispness of the pages, the marvelous artwork on the jacket, the magic that seemed to spill out into the air as I read and read, moving my mind into a frenzy, holding on to every word, eager to figure out what happened next.

After Azkaban, I immediately went to reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and that turned out to be one of the scariest reads for me, especially during the scene in the graveyard where the ratty Peter Pettigrew kills Cedric (“Kill the spare!”). To this day, I see that book as the turning point in the series, when Harry and the gang starting growing up and getting into more darker situations that have deadly consequences attached to them. Something changed in me as well after I finished Goblet; I felt older and wiser and started seeing the world in a new way. The bar was set higher for me in terms of quality of novels. For a while, Harry Potter seemed like the best thing since Twitter VHS tapes for me, that is until I got around to Artemis Fowl which is a whole nother story.


Daily Prompt 10/12/14