Sunday, September 11, 2016

BOOK REVIEW | Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
JK Rowling, Jack Thorne & John Tiffany (2016); 320 pages

Not to spoil anything from the book, but suffice to say that one can finish the thick-paged hardbound edition in four hours, non-stop. It's not really difficult to do that, especially when you get hooked to it.

I think the book was well written, and narrative was well crafted. As in the usual JK Rowling style of suspense, the reader is left guessing who could be the potential "cursed child." And that's what kept anybody who's bought the book, reading through the pages.

I also admire the slight inclusion of LGBT play up between the two main characters- Albus and Scorpius. But since the book was intended for younger audience, of course the taboo will never be the main focus. But anyone who's read the book will also have the same impression- that Albus and Scorpius could have ended as more than being best friends. Well, so much for that.

The Glitch: Lacking Human Touch

The only thing, since I was reading a sequel of Harry Potter, I couldn't help how this would have look like in the big screen. But for some reason, I felt that there was some sense of rush in the narrative; like plots were crammed in such a way that plot A collides with plot B to produce plot C. In short, it was very formulaic and predictable.

For instance, when the most unpopular person in all Hogwarts gets to meet with the child of Harry Potter, following a series of unfortunate events. How many times have we seen or read about this plot? The real challenge now- is there any way to make the ending less predictable.

Yeah, you guess that right- happy ending.

Left: Albus Severus Potter; Right: Scorpius Malfoy

But Harry Potter was never about happy endings. It is about struggle and fight for what one believes in. And more often than not, the struggle does not end on a happy note. Maybe if something more sinister happened, like Hermione or Ron dying (in the real word setting, at least); maybe it would have been a more interesting denouement.

I'm not really against happy endings; by all means, be happy all you want. But Harry Potter's story, and everyone in his family is a story of tragedy. And that is closer to reality. 

Ginny, Albus & Harry

The entire plot, the misadventures- all felt like a calculated conflict that dispel any pretense of realistic portrait of human struggles; even the resolutions to problems were too convenient (e.g. Draco offering another time turner). The authors were brilliant in conjuring spells, but failed to dig deeper into the human emotions of the main characters- what makes them laugh, bleed, jump to action, etc. 

I admire the way the story was written, and believe that I am really amused by the twists in the story. But it would have been more engaging if the characters were imbued with more human conflicts; something we can all relate to. After all, Harry Potter is already 40 years old.

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