Latest installment of Harry Potter series is darker, more appealing to older audiences

By the time I was in the second grade, I had developed an immense passion for reading. I had read every book my parents had ever given me, so, desperate to find something new,  my mother gave me a book that would change my life: “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.”

Once I opened it, I was sucked in by the story – this book blew my 7-year-old mind. The details! The plot! The characters! I read book after book, staying up late to finish just one more chapter.

So I was thrilled when I heard there would be an eighth Harry Potter book coming out in July.

Well, it’s not a real book. “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” is the script for the play of the same name by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne.

Harry is now a 40-year-old overworked employee at the Ministry of Magic, the husband of Ginny Weasley and the father of three children.

The book’s main character is Albus Severus Potter, Harry’s youngest son, who struggles with his father’s legacy and fitting in at Hogwarts.

Harry and Albus cannot connect very well, and often fight. Albus becomes so angry at his father that he jumps out of the Hogwarts Express with Scorpius Malfoy, hoping to never return to the wizarding world.

The play’s three authors have very different backgrounds: Rowling has always been an author, whereas Tiffany has been a director on Broadway and Thorne has written scripts for television, radio, theater and film.

Tiffany’s and Thorne’s additions make the book darker. Although the first part of the play provides the reader with new details about life in the wizarding world, scenes three and four are filled with darker themes.

“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” doesn’t shy away from discussing anxiety, depression and violence, which makes the play more suitable for adult readers.

But the writing style in “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” also has many positive sides.

Although readers will miss Rowling’s creativity and the elaborate universe she creates in the books, Thorne has a great understanding of the dynamics and themes in previous books: the tension between destiny and free will and the role that loneliness and anger plays in fueling hate.

The relationship between Albus and Harry is one of the more serious themes.

Albus hates being the son of “the Chosen One,” and he’s filled with anger at the expectations placed on him. Though Albus has a lot in common with young Harry – feelings of being an outsider and a desire to prove himself – he is also at odds with his father, whose overprotective parenting leads to unhealthy bonds between them.

Nevertheless, “Cursed Child” fits in really well with the other Harry Potter books. The characters are complex, the themes are consistent and the plot is unpredictable.

By Héloïse Schep

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