Note: I'm not a monster, so I'm going to warn you that there are spoilers below!
A literary bomb was dropped last week-- in other words, the highly anticipated Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany finally hit bookshelves in London and all around the world. As serious Potterheads (myself included) hungrily lapped up newfound details and plot lines about each character, we discovered that a lot has changed in our beloved world of magic. What's intrigued me the most is the reaction of Harry Potter fans all around the world to the new play.
The response has been super mixed which is a shock because of how popular and adored the Harry Potter franchise is. In fact, the response from some has been overwhelmingly negative. In this Buzzfeed article, the author accuses J.K. Rowling of not caring enough about Indian fans to actually create a proper and well thought out Indian character in the play. As she says, "Rowling would rather pander to non-white audiences than put in the work it takes to represent us fairly in her writing." In another article published in the Independent, fans are angry because the book takes the form of a script rather than a traditional novel, despite Rowling having clarified before its release that the book would take the form of a play. In yet another article posted on CNN, Andy Lewis is quoted as saying "The big problem is 'The Cursed Child' is less an original story than a remix of the existing Potter mythology."
When the first Harry Potter book came out in 1997, it gained international recognition, and with the next six books became a billion dollar franchise. There is not a child in the world who hasn't ever heard of the famous hero who survived Lord Voldemort's attack as a baby and later on too. Harry Potter is a big deal.
Because of this, I was ecstatic when J.K. Rowling announced in 2015 that a new play was coming out: read-- PLAY. She never stated that she was releasing a novel, but simply a script of the play that would be performed in London. Besides this, Rowling never claimed to have created the next chapter in the Harry Potter series-- she was just co-writing a piece of text with some more details for adoring fans, that complimented the original play that would be performed in London.
After the book came out, I finished Cursed Child in a couple of hours, and I could not put it down. Yes, I had a couple of issues with the book, for example, Panju is such a disappointing name, I could list at least 10 better names for Ron and Padma Patil's child right now. I didn't totally love Rose's character or the romance between Scorpius and her. It also didn't make sense to me how Harry Potter, who lived a life without a father, could be so horrid to his own son.
BUT. The play is magical because of the relationship between Hermione and Ron. It is magical because Scorpius Malfoy turns out to be a hero. It is magical because Draco Malfoy loves his son. It is magical because Albus is not a typical hero- he is an underdog who shows us that heroes come in all shapes and sizes.
Instead of criticizing the book and judging it for its flaws, why not celebrate the ending that J.K. Rowling has left us with? Why not celebrate years of a franchise that has touched and changed millions of lives?
Together, let us commemorate the world of Harry Potter for helping us find magic in our own.