Harry Potter and the cursed script
Copies of the book 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' are displayed on the day of its release at a bookstore on July 31, 2016. 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child', the script book of the play of the same name by JK Rowling, writer Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany, is set 19 years after the seventh and final book in the Harry Potter series, 'The Deathly Hallows'. Rowling's books have sold more than 450 million copies of Harry Potter since 1997 and been adapted into eight films.
I know I write a lot about Harry Potter, but I just can't help it. Imagine working in a library when a book like 'Frankenstein' or 'To Kill a Mockingbird' was released and being immersed in the conversations, controversies and celebrations. Harry Potter has had that impact on our society for over a decade and here we are in 2016, getting another dose of Hogwarts.
It's been a little over a month since the release of the eighth instalment of the magical series, titled 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.' Some of us lined up at midnight to get our hands on a copy, some stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to speed read it, and some of us are still waiting patiently on a library wait-list for a turn. Without giving away any spoilers, I approached my friends and family to ask their opinions on the book and the responses I got were just as varied as I expected.
For months I had being hearing rumours that the next novel wasn't even written by J.K. Rowling herself and that it was written in script format. How would diehard Potter fans react to these drastic changes to their beloved series? It had become well-known information that a Broadway play was in the works for years in England that would continue Harry's journey into his adulthood. Potter fans loved this idea simply for the fact they had something new to look forward to. When the masses begged for a printed version to come out, Rowling and her publication team delivered but I will be the first to admit, besides reading 'Romeo and Juliet' in high school, reading script is not something we partake in very often. A friend of mine, Roslynn, told me, "It was never meant to be a new novel. It was always a play to me, so I knew what I was getting into with that. (The script) made relating to some of the decisions and actions of the characters harder because there's no really in-depth explanation for why they're doing or saying some things that as a long-time reader, makes you scratch your head."
But are we just being judgemental adults? How did kids react to this 'strange' choice? My 11-year-old niece Evelyn has been reading since she left the womb and this is what she had to say about the book: "I loved the book! If this was a rating I would rate this book a 5 out of 5, because I loved how they connected the new book about 19-years-later with the eight movie and book series. Both the new book and the eight book/movie series included a little part of Voldemort but with something you'd never expect. I like this book BETTER than the eight book series because the main character is Harry's son. But the part I like is the other main character is someone you'd never expect to be Harry's sons' friend, so I liked how they switched up the team. I don't think there was anything I didn't like about the book!"
Evelyn wasn't even fazed by the script format. Even when I prompted her further asking about how kids today would respond to the new addition she simply said it was, "full of action and fun and adventurous."
Another 11-year-old, Jack, said, "it is a story about realizing that mistakes make you who you are. You wouldn't be you without making and learning from your mistakes."
Pretty profound for kids right? I stand here corrected and kind of ashamed that I assumed that kids wouldn't take to it. And just like Jack says, I should just realize that this mistake makes me who I am - a librarian still learning every day about how and why people read!
'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' is available now at the Petawawa Public Library and we always love to hear from our readers!
Katelyn Schubert is the children and teen services co-ordinator at the Petawawa Public Library.