Dad. He keeps saying it.
Nineteen years later, all is well, and Albus Severus Potter is off to Hogwarts. It's difficult being the son of famous Harry Potter, especially when your first day doesn't go quite as expected and you just don't fit in... But now it's time for Albus to have some adventures of his own, adventures that will dredge up the past and that could turn the present into a living nightmare...
I... You know... The thing is... I DON'T KNOW WHAT I THINK, OK?!
This is not going to be overly coherent I suspect.
I have been obsessed with Harry Potter since I was eleven years old. That's a long time, I'm old (almost thirty, gasp!). So of course I picked this up on Sunday, having spent the previous week re-devouring the seven Harry Potter novels for the umpteenth time, my expectations cautious but optimistic, not expecting this to really be the next Harry Potter book but a fun little addition to the Wizarding World.
And I'm really glad I was thinking that because this really is not the next Harry Potter book, it is not in the same league, it can't even see the league it's so far off, it feels very different, you can tell these aren't JK Rowling's words, and it lacks that little magical something that sets the novels apart. Don't get me wrong though, I liked it. I did. I still really want to go and see this performed in London if I get the chance, I'm sure that this would look absolutely fantastic on the stage, and I'm dying to know how they pull off some of the magical elements, but I think something gets a little lost in translation.
First of all, this is a script, obviously, so this is a very different experience from reading a novel, I have no problem reading the play format but I much prefer to watch plays if I can, and this is a prime example of why. Reading rather than watching this means we have all the limitations of the stage without the benefit of its advantages, the pacing is by necessity much faster which leaves little space for things like character development or the quieter moments of the novels, while we are missing out on the spectacle of the surely phenomenal production values and performances that would help make up for that.
The story was alright, a little predictable and nothing enormously new, a rather generic time-travel story with a Harry Potter twist, a little nonsensical at times but generally quite fun at the same time, it kept me turning the pages and the Part One cliffhanger was pretty exciting. It's a shame that the story relies so heavily on what came before, it would have been more interesting to get an entirely new story, just about the world of nineteen years later but I won't begrudge them the decision to throw in some Harry Potter highlights, the name is the reason everyone's here. There was one element that I really, really did not like but we'll get to that in a minute.
It was truly wonderful to see some of these characters again, even if a few were not really in keeping with their novel counterparts, every time a new beloved character showed up I grinned like an idiot. And after something Rowling said a while back I was very happy that we had some confirmation that Ron and Hermione are still happily married. The new characters were a mixed bag, I was a little disappointed that Rose wasn't in here more, and that she was kind of mean, but I loved Scorpius, what a delightful little nerd he was, I want a book series about him! In fact the Malfoys were my favourite part of the whole thing, it was fascinating to see how Draco has changed since his troubled teens, his redemption solidified and now with an almost grudging friendliness between him and the Trio, and I think Scorpius is likely to be the highlight for most people, he was a shiny beacon of loveliness, though can we stop with the queer-baiting already?
Also on a random side-note, the revelation about the trolley-witch was an amazingly insane idea and I love it. Ten points to the Hogwarts Express.
Ok, now, let's talk spoilers. Because, ho boy, there is one thing that I was really not a fan of.
WARNING. HERE THERE BE DRAGONS. AND SPOILERS.
The villain. The second Delphi showed up I went, "yep, that's the villain" it was so blatantly obvious. And just... holy bad fanfiction Batman! The idea that Voldy and Bellatrix had a baby is just... what even. I really wish that they had just had a new baddie who was unconnected, or just... basically anything but Voldemort's kid because what the heck even is that about? I rolled my eyes so hard I'm surprised they didn't fall out of my head. It goes against everything we know about him as a character, he would neither accidentally conceive a child (I doubt he'd even be human enough to be capable) nor want one. He spent a great deal of time and effort attempting to become immortal, he has no need or desire for an heir, he'd only see one as a threat to his own position. So yeah, not a fan of that idea at all.
Her plan was a really interesting idea though and it was really quite fun to see the AUs the meddling created, and the prophecy was a clever idea, the spare being spared was a lovely little nugget, just a shame they couldn't come up with a less... well, idiotic villain motivation.
Also I was a little bit heartbroken when Sirius didn't show up at the aftermath of Voldemort's attack on Godric's Hollow, I had a moment of utter excitement, he's my joint favourite character, and then had my hope crushed. Way to stomp on my dreams Jack Thorne. Not that I'm bitter.
HERE ENDETH THE SPOILERS.
So yeah. I am just a big ball of conflicting thoughts about this book. I think there is some great potential here for the stage, I'm sure seeing it performed would up its star rating a bit, but it just doesn't quite have the magic. I think that I am going to keep this in a little box in my head, separate from the Harry Potter canon, its own entity, like a piece of very weird fan-fiction that just happens to live on my shelf. If you need me, I'll be over here having an existential crisis about this... I can't believe I just gave something Harry Potter related less than five stars.