Okay! So, where to start?
I had pre-ordered a copy of Cursed Child, but for some reasons, it took 15 days for the book to reach me. In the meanwhile, I was sniffing all over the Internet for any tidbits about the play/script that I could, and trying to steer clear off the spoilers at the same time too. I read the reviews. A lot of them. And while the people had nothing but love for the play, I was surprised and disappointed to see how many people were writing almost entirely opposite reviews for the script of the same play.
Confident as I am in J. K. Rowling’s writing, I was still determined to heed the reviews and read the book for myself before forming an opinion. But after reading so many negative reviews, after hearing Cursed Child being said ‘a badly written fanfic’ among other things, naturally I did not expect much from the book.
Fortunately, however, I was wrong! I got my book yesterday, and within a couple of hours had finished reading it. And dare I say it that the reviews could not have been more wrong!
The moment I got hold of the book, the moment I opened the book and started reading it, I felt right at home. It was like returning home after a long time. It was like meeting a long lost friend, a friend you thought you’d never see again. The moment was so intense, I could barely contain my emotions.
Umm .. Sorry. I’m going off-topic.
Returning to the book. The story picks up from the familiar epilogue scene 19 years later which we first read over a decade ago. The writing style is different. Because this is a play. A play’s script. Not a novel. So naturally, there are no long-winded descriptions of scenes and settings. But only dialogues and some short explanations.
So, the story picks up from where it had left off in the last book. The first few scenes are familiar. The same people. The same place. The same dialogues. The familiarity of it pulls you right into the middle of the Wizarding World which you’ve not visited in a long time. You are back home.
As the story progresses from there, you see the tension between Harry and his son Albus increase. Albus is struggling with his own identity and resents being associated with the ‘famous Harry Potter’. It is Ron all over again. Living in Harry’s shadow wasn’t easy for his best friend, and it is not any easier for his son. Things get worse when Albus’s fears come true and he is actually sorted into Slytherin. And then he befriends who else than our favourite antagonist Draco Malfoy’s son Scorpius.
Ron’s as I remember him. Funny. Worries too little. Sloppy. Loves food. Hermione is still the same nerd. And Minister of Magic on top of that. Harry, the Head of Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Harry still worries too much. He still has the tendency to blame himself for every wrong. And to make things worse, there are other people who blame Harry for the injustices of life, too. Like Amos Diggory, who blames Harry for Cedric’s death. From what we had read about Amos in Goblet of Fire, this is the thing he’d most probably do in my opinion, so this is exactly in-character for him.
The story revolves around Cedric Diggory’s death. He was killed as a ‘spare’. He need not die. It was Harry Voldemort wanted. Harry knew that. Amos Diggory knew that. Albus Potter knew that. Everybody knew that. But there wasn’t anything anyone could do to fix it. This is how life is. Until …
Until one day Harry comes across a Time Turner on a raid on Theodore Nott. That is where things go downhill. Hermione, the ever cautious Minister, keeps the Time Turner wanted to examine it. If there’s this one, there might be other Time Turners, she says. All the known Time Turners had been destroyed in the Battle of Department of Mysteries. Finding one now, especially when Harry’s scar was hurting him again after 20 years and he was having dreams about Voldemort, it was ominous.
Amos Diggory, knowing about the Time Turner, demands Harry go back in time and save Cedric. Harry refuses. Albus Severus Potter overhears the conversation. And takes it upon himself to meddle with time. And with that, we see every warning about meddling with time Dumbledore and Hermione had ever given in Prisoner of Azkaban being played out before ourselves. Albus and Scorpius go back in time to fix things only to make them worse. They decide to try again and only succeed in making worse the worst. One thing leads to another and in the midst of everything, we discover Albus and Scorpius ‘helpful ally’ Delphini Diggory is not Amos Diggory’s niece as she claimed but Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange’s daughter. Multiply Voldemort with Bellatrix and you can imagine what she’d be like.
Things go so wrong that Voldemort is very nearly resurrected and history re-written so that Voldemort won the War. The day is saved by combined efforts of Harry, Ginny, Hermione, Draco, Ron, Albus and Scorpius. They manage to revert the damage done by their meddling with time and the world is as it was before. Only, somewhere in all this, Harry and Albus finally start understanding each other and grow close.
We see plenty of familiar faces and scenes in this all. In fact, the third last scene is the same where it all started. In Godric’s Hollow on the night of Hames and Lily’s death. We see how they died. We see Hagrid when he comes for Harry. The whole thing is so poetic, like the Cursed Child starts where Deathly Hallows ended and ends where the Philosopher Stone started! It is the perfect ending chapter to the Harry Potter saga. The story is now complete. The story now feels complete! And what better way to end the story than to tie it in a loop with where it began. To me, it is as if the whole story is now a never-ending loop.
A circle has no end, nor a beginning. That is what this chapter in Harry Potter saga made it. An everlasting circle!
I loved it. And it has left me craving for more. Having read it as a script of a stage play, I wish someone would one day transform it into a novel. Because if there’s one thing which could make it better, this is it.