Arts & Reviews

Is The New Magical Era Worth It?

By: Emma Krupp

It was noticeable on the night of July 30, 2016 that there was a bit more magic in the air for Harry Potter fans across the globe.  The next day, at exactly 12:01 AM, J.K. Rowling’s new novel, Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, would be released to the public.  This was to be the latest addition to her Harry Potter series, but also the start to a new magical era.  Inevitably, I threw on my Ravenclaw gown, grabbed my wand, and headed to the nearest Barnes and Noble with one of my closest friends for the night of festivities.  The hours leading up to the novel release were spent with around 150 other Potterheads (extreme Harry Potter fans) all lounging around in the rows of books.  It was obvious that there were the veteran Potterheads, who had been through 7 book releases and 8 film releases.  It was also easy to spot those who had just recently read the books, or hadn’t been alive to attend all the releases.  Needless to say, for five anticipated hours, complete strangers bonded and acted as if they had known one another for a lifetime.

 

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As the clock drew closer to midnight, all the fans started to line up by the cashier.  There was a mad dash to see who would be the first one in the store to receive a copy, and with each passing minute fans became more erratic for the new novel.  Looking around the line, I realized that this would be an experience I would never forget.  I was surrounded by people who cared just as much about a topic as I did, and it was both touching and memorable on many levels.  As the clock finally struck midnight, the store went dim as the “Prologue” theme song began to play.

 

Across from where I stood in line there was a pair of older friends.  The one turned to the other and mouthed, “You realize this is the last time we will ever do this?”  The other girl could only smile sadly as the line began to move forward.

***

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child had quite the hype leading up to its release.  The novel broke the top pre-order on both Barnes and Noble and Amazon quite swiftly.  Scholastic, the US publisher of Mrs. Rowling’s novels, printed 4.5 million copies to begin.  Half of those copies printed were sold within the first 48 hours of public sale.  It seemed as though the novel had found its place in history.

Within all the hype, there are a few mentionables that any reader should hear before picking up the book. First of all, the entire “novel” is really just a script.  Harry Potter and The Cursed Child is a stage play currently being produced in the UK.  The script book is simply what each character says, and is written in a dialogue format.  The second thing to understand is that Mrs. Rowling did not quite write the entire novel. Although the book is based off the series that Mrs. Rowling finished nine years ago, the script was written by radio, theatre, and film writer Jack Thorne and English theatre director John Tiffany.

I have to say that I was one hundred percent skeptical about the novel after reading the first scene.  In fact, I stopped reading for a period and only had the will to pick it up in order to finish this article.  Harry Potter and The Cursed Child is definitely unlike anything Mrs. Rowling would ever think about writing.  Where it would have taken her pages upon pages to describe a setting, Thorne seemed to cover it within two sentences.  As many readers could tell, it did not seem as though the words rolled off Mrs. Rowling’s tongue.  Most Potterheads would agree that the script book just seemed like a well written fanfiction; nothing on the level of the original Harry Potter series. Being such a devoted fan to Harry Potter, I have to agree with this.  Thorne created a plot, that while interesting, completely derailed from everything Harry Potter had ever stabilized.  Most of his ideas were far stretched and too alien to what fans were hoping for.  

Flash forward to the release of the newest wizardry movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, in November.  Fantastic Beasts is set 70 years before Harry Potter’s time and follows Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), an expelled wizard, as he attempts to gather all the magical beasts he has lost in New York City. After the disappointment I experienced with Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, I was not looking for much out of the director of the movie, David Yates, who, coincidentally, is also responsible for the pitiful alterations that were made in the Harry Potter series when the novels were transferred into film.  Because of the low bar that the Harry Potter movies set, I didn’t allow myself to get too excited for Yates’s next big film.

Two hours later, I walked out of the movie theatre with my mind completely blown and opinion changed.  Both Yates and Rowling had come together to create a new seamless masterpiece, which still captured the old aspects of the wizardry world. The two had created a flawless plot which was accompanied by amazing scores and new characters.  Not having a book to judge the movie off of allowed me to sit back and appreciate the film for what it was really worth.  In the end, I loved the early wizardry world just as much as the current day.  

Which brings upon the final question of was it right for Mrs. Rowling to start this “New Magical Era”?  Since day one of finishing Harry Potter, I have always hung onto hope that one day Mrs. Rowling would bring back Harry and his times at Hogwarts.  However, after reading The Cursed Child, I now realize that her writing is something to be left untouched.  Holding onto Harry’s character or plot will not make the writing any better. Harry Potter is something that should be like all good things; it should come to an end, for the better sake of readers.  Instead, turning to a pre-age of Harry Potter may be the best way to overcome any sadness.  Fantastic Beasts holds the key to a new point of view on the magical world and the wizards in it.  By created a fresh slate, Mrs. Rowling opens a door to a variety of possibilities.  I look forward to seeing what she can do with this new world.  In the end, I will always love Harry Potter, but it is best not to dwell on old dreams and to start to live the new ones.

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