5 years after the last movie instalment, and a whopping 9 years after the last book in the official series, Harry Potter is back, although with an unexpected twist or two to the usual formula we have grown accustomed to. As soon as the continuation of the insanely popular young adult series penned by J.K. Rowling was announced, fans have been at the edge of their seats in anticipation for the return of Harry, Ron, Hermione and the wizarding world they consider home. The new instalment, quite unexpectedly, turned out to be a new play set to debut in London, and luckily for those who could not attend the theatrical production, a scripted version of the play, written by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Throne, was to be published shortly after the debut of the play itself.
The script book opens 19 years after the defeat of Voldemort, exactly where we left the story in the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, at Kings Cross station where adult Harry and his friends are saying goodbye to their children who are setting off to attend Hogwarts and have their own fair share of magical adventures. With Harry, Ron and Hermione being adults, the focus of the story mainly shifts to their children, with Harry’s son Albus taking center stage. Albus Potter befriends Scropius Malfoy, the son of his father’s old school nemesis, Draco Malfoy, and the unlikely duo enter a world of dangerous, time-traveling escapades when they come in the possession of a time-turner.
Although the initial premise of the story promises a classical Hogwarts’ tale of witchcraft and wizardry, the story offers a few darker turns when classical wizardly ethics are taken into question. Should you try to save someone who died years ago? What are the consequences of creating an alternative timeline? What if the dark forces led by Voldemort had won? What do you get for trying to change the past? These questions present themselves through an array of classical time-traveling issues in which the characters we know survived the original series end up dead, and those who have died turn up alive and well, while the world our characters know and love is turned upside down.
The script book, at times, lacks certain credibility as a canon Harry Potter story. The concept of the time-turners is different than the one readers remember from the books and some characters, perhaps due to the fact they are older than when we knew them best, sometimes act in ways we would not expect. The focus seems to be more on relationships between characters and their conflicts than the magic, which is for better or for worse, depending on what you enjoyed most in the original series. The book script, although it lacks the charming allure of classical J.K Rowling descriptions due to its script format, makes up for it in dialogue which is witty and refreshing, just as we remember it. The characters have grown up and changed but the essence is still there. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child offers nostalgia for those longing for their favorite witches and wizards, and a new twist for those who wondered what would the wizarding world be like if matters were different.