I love J.K. Rowling. So, it’s no surprise that I was willing to fight the crowds on July 31st to pick out my very own copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Sadly, after I finally got my hands on one, I fell sick and could not begin my magical journey until a whole week later. When I finally recovered enough to feel like I could take on a 4-hour binge on reading, I picked up my new best friend, which still freshly smelled of paper and ink. Several hours later, I was left utterly disappointed. Now, before my fellow Potterheads rip me apart, let me explain.
The first few pages of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child brought me right back to the same feeling of exhilaration when I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the first time. It was like I was back on Platform 9 ¾ all over again! But as I kept reading, I realized there was something missing. A spark, a detail, a fluttery elusive thing that bothered me. I could not quite put my finger on it, but never mind, I told myself, there are new Potters and Granger-Weasleys and Malfoys to worry about!
As I immersed myself further into the plot, I found that bothersome feeling growing and growing, until I could no longer ignore it. While I still was still reading eagerly, anxious to know what happens next, I knew that this experience was not the same as, nor was it anywhere close to, how I felt when I read any of J.K. Rowling’s other Harry Potter works. I was less anxious, less excited, less emotional. To me, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child fell short. Waaaay short.
I know this is a play script and I know I should not be comparing it to J.K. Rowling’s full novels. But I can’t help myself. That extra magic sprinkled across every page was missing. In fact, I felt like J.K. Rowling’s voice was missing. And it finally struck me how crucial it was to have her descriptive words and narrative beauty navigating me through my Hogwarts journey. It’s the little details and how she described them that made the story. Her words made you feel so much more than you normally would. If Harry was scared, you were terrified. If Harry was happy, you were exuberant. If Harry was sad, you were devastated. Whatever emotion was being conveyed, you felt every ounce of it and more.
Now, I still immensely enjoyed reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Not because I’m a die-hard fan who liked anything that’s attached to J.K. Rowling’s name, but because it’s got a brilliant plot and great themes. And I can imagine that it’s a great production on stage, where actors will be able to project emotion the way that J.K. Rowling’s voice does in her novels. I just really, really, really wish that this had been written as a novel, with Jo’s voice embedded in it.
J.K. Rowling, I hope you hear me and consider this: Harry Potter is not the same without you. Hogwarts is not the same without you. You’re the very heart and soul of the books we grew up with. While I’m ecstatic that Harry Potter spin-offs are happening all over the place in every form of media, I really do miss the simple joy of feasting on your words, sprawled across the pages of a fantastic book that was really too heavy to travel with, but you traveled with anyway because you could not put it down. Please take us on another journey, even if it’s not back to Hogwarts. Because, frankly, we’d go anywhere with you.