Nine years after the publish of The Deathly Hallows, the final book in the Harry Potter series, author J.K Rowling, released the script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The two-part play, written by Jack Thorne, is based on a new narrative by Thorne, Rowling and John Tiffany, following the story of Albus Potter, Harry’s son, 19 years later and his struggle to deal with the burden of his family legacy. The play itself began previews on 7th June at the Palace Theatre in London and officially premiered on 30th July, one day before the script was made available to buy.
The anticipated return to the wizarding world was welcomed enthusiastically; the script sold over 680,000 copies in the UK in just three days, replacing Fifty Shades of Grey as the fastest-selling book of the decade. The production, spanning over a total of 5 hours, was equally as popular with all of the 250,000 tickets on offer on August 4th having sold out in a day. Trying myself, I was randomised into 42,000th place in one of the two official queues – it didn’t look hopeful. Nevertheless, there is still hope for those who failed to get their hands on tickets, on sites like Stubhub and eBay…if you have around £1000 spare.
The real problem lies not in the limited supply of tickets but in the fear of J.K Rowling pushing too far, at the expense of the original, adored Harry Potter series. The Cursed Child isn’t the only addition to the story; Rowling is often offering new, Harry-Potter-related snippets of information over Twitter, such as: Dumbledore’s sexuality or Hagrid’s inability to construct a Patronus charm; most being trivial pieces of information that did not make their way into the book. Whilst this seems to keep most of the fan base content, you can’t help but wonder to what extent these add-ons are necessary – after all, had they been important, they’d probably have been included within the covers of the original series. It is no surprise that Rowling continues to return to Harry Potter, not only are they her most successful works, but also some of the best-selling books of all time; trumping her 4 other novels, which weren’t met with quite the same level of obsession. Necessary or not, what is the harm in a bit of development?
J.K Rowling’s detailing brings a certain George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, to mind. After the Star Wars trilogy became such a success when ended in 1983, Lucas could not resist the temptation to further the plot that had brought his name to fame. Returning in the late 1990s, he extended the series with three prequels using updated special effects and CGI. In the end, they resulted in relative failures, not at all living up to their high expectations and proved detrimental to the original trilogy. It did not stop there; after the release of the defamed prequels, Lucas returned to the first three films, tweaking them to compliment the newest releases and ultimately tarnishing some of the magic of the original Star Wars trilogy, that need not have otherwise been touched (and infuriating countless of fans along the way).
I am not suggesting that J.K Rowling’s newest additions have negated the quality and genius of her first seven books. Personally, despite some anger over its medium and complaints concerning its apparent informality, The Cursed Child was enjoyable and the characters and world as enthralling as they always have been. But, perhaps it is wise to be aware of the line between detailing and overegging, lest the series so well loved by the world loses any of its magic.