Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Stage Play
Okay, where to tackle this thing first, the gut or the throat? There is A LOT of speculation and disappointment and excitement and all kinds of things fluttering out there about this book, so let’s tackle these things one at a time.
First of all, it is very important to look at this publication as its own entity and NOT the eighth book in the series. This story is not canon, and Rowling’s input on it is very minimal. This is not a novel. It is a stage play and should be read and analyzed as such. Basically, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne wrote the script for a play that got some of Rowling’s input and approval. It is NOT written by Rowling. With Harry Potter being as popular as it is, this is a means of making money. By publishing the script for this play unique to England, the company can make money off of it, but also share this other tale of Harry Potter with the public who cannot afford to see the show. Being written for stage means some things need to be altered and adapted for the production.
One key point people have been pointing out is the introduction to Harry and Ginny’s children: James, Albus, and Lily (in order of age oldest to youngest). While these characters are introduces, Albus is the only child that remains of the three throughout the play. While the others are mentioned once or twice, they are really never seen gain. This is annoying as a reader because it has us asking, “What’s the point of that?” Well, the point is Harry has more than one child, they are in Gryffendor, and they do not have the kind of struggling relationship that Harry and Albus have. another point on that is, remember, this is a stage play and we are just reading the scripts. In stage performance, actors are more limited. It is likely that supporting cast would play Lily and James rather than getting a single person for each role.
Another thing people have been speculative of is the lack of some characters mentioned in the novel series and the alteration of some of those characters. Once again, this story has been adapted to be performed and seen visually, not read. It is an adaptation and must make various accommodations for the sake of the performance and the flow of the show as its own entity.
A big one is, “That is not how a time turner is used!” While what we know about time-turners makes this statement true, once again play accommodations are needed. Also, world expansion. In the play it was mentioned that time-turners were being made, meaning there could be all kinds of time-turners within the Harry Potter universe that work in all kinds of ways. The playwrights had to come up with something that could be shown on stage and somehow makes sense to going back to a specific time and place…although the mechanics of that were poorly explained, if at all.
People have been complaining about the characters. “That’s not how Ron would act,” “Harry wouldn’t be that mean to his own son,” and “Draco is not that nice and should not have been redeemed he way he is!” All of these are character complaints, but remember, it’s actually a lot harder to get the gist of a character when we do not have anything else to analyze except dialogue, since the actors will be portraying the characters. Another aspect is the fact that all of these characters are nearly 20 years older; they are no longer teenagers. The way a person develops, even over a span of only five years, vastly changes the way a person thinks and acts. Having children is a huge change in the way people think, especially when they have their first child. So of course the characters don’t seen the same, because they are not. They are adults now and are thinking differently than their teenage selves from the original novels.
Complaints and speculation out of the way, what is this story about and should you read it? This story features Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy, an unlikely duo of friendship. They are both outcasts at Hogwarts, Albus because he is in Slytherin and nothing like his father, and Scorpius for being thought to be Voldemort’s child. When Albus wants to prove himself, he eggs Scorpius into going with him to steal the last remaining time-turner from the Ministry of Magic to go back in time to save Cedric Diggory. When changing time alters the current reality, Voldemort’s true child makes themselves known and aims to change reality to their benefit, a world ruled by Voldemort.
Overall, this was a great story in of itself and we are introduced to two great, new characters. Many are having trouble placing this with the original books, and many enjoy this piece. I would say, yes, this script is definitely worth the read. It’s a fun, original story (although many say it has a fanfic feel), that gives us some new material to work with in the Harry Potter universe. If you can get past your grudges against he many speculations that present themselves, this is a fun and quick read, and it would be fantastic to see the play. At the very lest, Potter fans have been given at least a bit of candy to chew on, and who knows? Maybe Rowling will actually write more later…and maybe not! But for now, we will have to take what is given to us.