Nine years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ release marked the finale of the series and five years after the final movie premiered, the Harry Potter franchise has been reignited by the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The play opened on the West End at the Palace Theatre and its script hit bookstands on July 31, a date fans know as the birthday of both Harry Potter and author J. K. Rowling.
The Cursed Child follows the Potter family nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts. The plot centers around Harry and his son Albus Severus as they try to navigate the Wizarding World after Voldemort’s death. According to the play’s official blurb, “While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.” The play is split into two separate parts, which can be viewed consecutively at a matinee and night performance or over two days.
The show stars Jamie Parker, Noma Dumezweni, and Paul Thornley as Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley, respectively. The 42-person cast also includes Sam Clemmett as Albus Severus Potter, Poppy Miller as Ginny Potter, Alex Price as Draco Malfoy, and Anthony Boyle as Scorpius Malfoy. J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany created the story of the Cursed Child, though the original script was written by Thorne alone. Because Rowling is not an official writer, many diehard Potterheads have promised to skip the story altogether. Though Rowling published several adult novels since the end of the Harry Potter series, this is the closest she has come to working on another Harry Potter book.
Despite Rowling’s vague role in the script’s production, The Cursed Child was the most highly anticipated book since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Scholastic Publishing printed four and a half million copies for the book’s release, and Barnes and Noble reported that it received more pre-orders than any book since Deathly Hallows. The Curse Child has claimed the top spot on Amazon since February. Meanwhile, consecutive two-part tickets to The Cursed Child play are currently sold out through December 2017. Theatre critics praised the show as spell-casting and magical.
Potterheads will be briefly satiated again in November with the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the movie adaptation of Rowling’s 2001 novel. Unlike The Cursed Child, this screenplay is completely written by Rowling. The movie stars Eddie Redmayne and is set to release Nov. 18.
(Sources: Goodreads, harrypottertheplay.com, NYTimes)