My obsession with Harry Potter borders on the abnormal. I’ve drawn lightening bolt scars on my forehead with red felt tip pens. I’ve fashioned wizard hats for myself from black chart paper. I wrote myself a Hogwarts acceptance letter after I got tired of waiting for an owl to arrive with mine. I read and re-read the books so much that at some point I could recite certain dialogues by heart. Harry Potter was not just a book for me – I am not talking about the movies here – it was an important part of my childhood.
And I am not the only one whose life got impacted by the magic that is Harry Potter and the writing of J.K. Rowling. For millions and millions of Potterheads the globe over the 31st of July 2016 was special. It marked the return of the Harry Potter book franchise after a gap of nine years, apart from being the lead character’s and the author’s birthday.
But this book is different. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is not a traditional fictional narrative, but is a scriptbook of the theatrical adaptation of the newest Potter adventure. (My apologies to a lot of you who didn’t know what you’ll were getting into here.) Cursed Child is a play authored by Rowling in collaboration with John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, and is currently playing in London. The story talks about Harry Potter’s life 19 years later struggling with his job as a Ministry official, and raising three adolescent kids. Facing Voldemort seems like an easier option now, eh Harry?
I thought I’d do a traditional book review of the Cursed Child. But the book is above and beyond a review at this stage. It’s like reviewing a Salman Khan film – 100 crores at the box office no matter what you write. Harry Potter and the Cursed child is our last attempt at re-living a part of our childhood. It’s our last chance at entering the magical world of Hogwarts and dreaming a little dream. Which is why Potter fans the world over are ecstatic about the new book, no matter the format it’s written in! Cursed Child is more than the story and the writing, it’s about nostalgia and nothing more.
Cursed Child is our very own Time Turner. It allows us to go back in time to experience the nervous anticipation that comes with waiting for the book to release. It allows us to sniff at those freshly printed pages, releasing that fragrance that freshly printed Harry Potter books emanate. It gives us a chance to try and finish the book before your friends do, turning us into competitive school-goers again. It allows us to feel those tummy butterflies, as the local bookstore uncle tears open a carton of the books.
For a lot of us, Harry Potter was our first foray into the world of fantasy fiction. This was a time before Game of Thrones, and Pokemon Go. These were simpler times. For some of us it was our introduction to the world of books. (Not that I belong to the latter group.) Anyone who has read the books will agree, it has the power to transport you to a different world. A world of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. A world with Flying Ford Anglias. A world with inter-school wizarding tournaments. A world unlike any other.
Most importantly Harry Potter books taught us that good always triumphs evil. It showed us that there’s always light after a dark tunnel. It proved that no matter how many times you fight evil, or his Horcruxes, you shall emerge stronger and powerful. The books taught me the power of love – a mother’s love so strong that it can protect a tiny baby from worst evil. It taught me the strength that comes from friendship – one for all and all for one! And above all of that, it taught young minds to imagine. To imagine a world so different from ours, yet so similar.
Harry Potter has shaped my childhood in more ways than I can imagine. I am tired of people who see the movies or read one half of the first book and exclaim, ‘it’s nothing great.’ I wish I could turn back time to your childhood and have you read the books then. You’d see just how great it all really is. Also, NEVER compare the book with the movie. Key Rule: Book > Movie, even when the book has not yet been written!
Joanne Kathleen Rowling has announced that this is officially the last book in the franchise. Now I know that she said this after the seventh book as well, but this time she means business. Which means this was the last time I got to read a Harry Potter book for the first time. Thank God for all my eight books who will keep me company through these dark times ahead.
PS: A massive thank you to friends and followers who shared pictures of their Harry Potter collection so promptly and proudly. My fellow Potter heads for life!