When the mind blocks reality; the plot washes you over; the characters submerge you with their lives; and the simple act of turning crisp, untouched pages becomes your holy grail.
For those few hours alone, you’re a slave and that’s when you know you love it — when you let it crash over you, drown you, and destroy you.
Calm your fears, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth book, and it will devour you. Just like the rest of the franchise, the Cursed Child will reach dizzying heights to gift you the magic you wanted all over again.
It will stir your soul and ignite the delirious joy of returning to the world of Harry Potter again. It will transport you to Hogwarts’ dancing staircases, to the green expanse of the Quidditch field, to the majestic corridors of Ministry of Magic and most importantly, to your childhood.
It’s been 22 years, and the scar hurts again. There are remnants of the past threatening to irreparably alter the present, and a new villain is in the making. There are rumours and secrets brewing in the wizarding world. The new evil does not reveal his/her identity till the second part of the play.
JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany have created a spectacular 330-page drama that is as gripping as the novels, but amazingly, without the fantasy fiction prototype theme of a hero with a quest. The story has no single hero to claim — not Albus, not Scorpius and not even Harry.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a story of unlikely friends, of the vulnerability of relationships, of familial histories and how every connecting thread is a knot away from being tangled into a glaring mess. More obviously, it is a delicate interspersion of past, present and future — the perfect sequel to an epic story.
There are duels and prophecies, and sharp humour to cut across tensions, but darkness eventually comes from Freudian complexities in this adventurous play. While the muddled relationship between Harry and Albus occupies most of the psychological clashes, the Cursed Child immerses itself in internal conflicts of its characters. As Albus rebels against his famous father in flashes of annoyance and heated moments, Harry walks with “the weight of the world on his shoulders”.
By trying his best to be a good parent (and stumbling in the attempt), or struggling with the survivor’s guilt of being The Boy Who Lived, the play has humanised Harry even more and softened the bravery of the Chosen One.
Harry’s tumultuous past and thorny relationship with Dumbledore too comes to the fore as the 40-year-old “overworked employee” turns to his mentor for help again.
In the end though, light emerges from the darkest of corners of realisation. “The part of me that was Voldemort died a long time ago, but it wasn’t enough to be physically rid of him, I had to be mentally rid of them,” Harry tells Albus.
The brightening element of the play, however, emanates from an unexpected source: Scorpius Malfoy. Past materialises in newer colours and in a different perception through his character, revealing the tragedy of belonging to a Death Eater’s family. It is Scorpius who lends comic relief to the intense moments in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and provides unflinching support to his wavering friend Albus.
If there’s a tiny speck of complaint to be made for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, it is simply the yearning for more on Hogwarts and its teenage drama.
Even with a new generation and newer twists, the Cursed Child is essentially a tale of discovering oneself and mending relationships. For most part of it, the play is a resurrection of the series and it will plunge you into the depths of the world you’ve loved. After all this time though, for Harry Potter, a thousand times over.