Rating: 2 / 5 stars
I can see how some people would be excited by a Harry Potter play that had Rowling heavily involved. I was not. First Rowling says she’s done with Harry Potter. Then she changes her mind. She (with the help of a team of course) creates Pottermore. I stayed up until 4am some nights during that week that Pottermore was in beta, trying to do the Magical Quill challenge. I was lucky and managed to snag an account on, if I remember correctly, the second day. I stayed up the rest of the week to help online friends get their’s. And then, suddenly, last year Pottermore was completely wiped and turned into a tacky blog. I was devastated. Even now Pottermore is a sad shell of what it once was.
Then the play is announced. Rowling repeatedly insisted on Twitter that it wasn’t a sequel. Turns out it is a sequel and nearly every character in the play was someone who was in the books. I can only recall two new characters in the play.
Throughout this time I have spent a lot of time reading meta discussion and fanfiction about the world of Harry Potter. Dozens of people have versions of that universe that are for more nuanced and interesting than what Rowling has created. Before reading the book I had heard a spoiler or two. Mostly negative comments about Rowling’s writing choices. So I approached the book with a great deal of skepticism and mistrust. I expected to be bored and disappointed.
Turns out, I was right. The plot: Harry’s youngest son, Albus Severus Potter, does not like being Albus Severus Potter and tries to become his own person. Frankly with such an awful name, I would hate being him too. He finds friendship not in his cousin, Rose, or his brother, James, but in the son of Draco Malfoy, Scorpius. The two boys are sorted into Slytherin, unsurprising for Scorpius but shocking for Albus. The son of two Gryffindors Sorted into Slytherin adds even more strain to Albus’s relationship with his father, who completely and utterly fails to understand him. He decides to try and change his life, with extraordinary repercussions.
There were only two things I liked about this play/book. Hermione becoming Minister of Magic and the library she has in her office. The other is Scorpius. He is intelligent, funny, kind young man who has his problems but does his level best to be friends with Albus. And frankly, it read to me like he wanted more than friendship with Albus and Albus felt the same way. But alas, heteronormativity strikes again.
All in all very predictable: strained parent-child relationships, surprise Voldemort had a kid, etc.