Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child


5/5 stars

I’ve spent over a week thinking of this book and how to quantify the next chapter in a saga that defined my childhood. I think it would be too easy to say it isn’t “canon” or merely “fan fiction”. Maybe because it’s hard to move on, or accept that Harry grew up like the rest of us? Or perhaps that he grew into a world that no longer finds him special or the chosen one? I had trouble accepting this, but it did not make me doubt Rowling’s authenticity. She gave us the characters after all and she ultimately decides their fates. Tolkien knew this better than anyone when he wrote his appendages and detailed the ultimate ends of his fellowship. But for me what makes this book indispensable as part of the original story is where it leaves us: in a world of magic and wonders, where essential truths persist into adulthood. I think the world and those who grew up reading Harry’s novels needed reminded that love conquers the overwhelming pain of tragedy, division within us, and even time itself.

100 Ways to Read the Harry Potter Series

I posed a question to my Facebook friends, all of whom are incredibly smart, about the many different ways to read the Harry Potter series. I had done several already, but was curious how other people have enjoyed the books. This is what we found. Please feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comment section.

© 2010 Universal Orlando Resort. © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR

1. Backwards
2. Forwards
3. Upside down (preferably the result of Levicorpus)
4. Paperback
5. Hardback
6. In braille
7. First and Seventh, then the rest in order
8. All the books with Voldemort (1, 2, 4, 5, 7)
9. All the books without Voldemort (3, 6)
10. Voldemort in chronological order
11. Fight scenes
12. Love scenes
13. Wizard duels
14. Quidditch matches
15. Parts featuring the Pensieve
16. Harry’s detentions
17. Parts with Snape and Harry
18. Parts featuring Harry Potter’s parents (including the Mirror of Erised)
19. Defense Against the Dark Arts lessons
20. Transfiguration lessons
21. Potions lessons
22. Charms lessons
23. Divination lessons
24. In another language
25. Audiobooks transmitted via Morse-code
26. Parts featuring Hedwig
27. On public transport
28. Dressed as Harry Potter or your favorite character
29. At King’s Cross Station
30. While watching films with subtitles
31. Competitively against friends
32. Aloud from memory
33. Parts featuring Sirius
34. Parts featuring the Marauders
35. Holding a wand
36. Read as Gollum
37. Replacing “Harry” with “Frodo.”
38. Read and write down references and inferences to other works such as Tolkien and C.S. Lewis
39. Sitting in front of a cauldron
40. Read while someone claps coconut shells like Monty Python
41. In sign language
42. At a public library
43. The Quidditch matches out loud on an airplane. It’s just like magic!
44. On a broomstick
45. Inside a Ford Anglia
46. Drinking butterbeer
47. Wearing a turban
48. While everyone watches the Muggle World Cup
49. Scenes featuring polyjuice potion
50. Scenes featuring Fred and George
51. The sortings
52. With a flashlight
53. Arguments between Ron and Hermione
54. Arguments between Ron and Harry
55. While eating cauldron cake
56. While eating jellybeans
57. Scenes involving magical creatures
58. Scenes with Harry and Malfoy
59. With a puppet on your hand
60. With a British accent (Or American if you are British)
61. Take turns reading with a friend
62. Change the genders of characters
63. Singing it
64. Rapping it
65. Wearing a Wizard’s hat
66. Each paragraph as a horse racing commentator or auctioneer
67. Scenes at the Ministry of Magic
68. Scenes in the Room of Requirement
69. Parts with Hogwarts’ ghosts
70. Parts with Nearly Headless Nick
71. Scenes involving Peeves
72. Scenes involving apparition
73. Chapters with Portkeys
74. Chapters with Floo Powder
75. Scenes in The Forbidden Forest
76. Read as Dobby
77. Scenes with Dobby
78. Parts where Horcruxes are destroyed
79. Uses of Patronuses
80. Scenes in the library
81. Scenes in the Great Hall
82. Chapters at Christmastime
83. Each sentence as a question
84. Scenes at the Burrow
85. Scenes at Privet Drive
86. Parts with Luna Lovegood
87. Performing unique voices for each character
88. Pretending you are Rita Skeeter making snide comments
89. Every word in all of the books that doesn’t pertain to the story itself; publishing info, acknowledgments, etc.
90. In jive or street talk
91. While translating into Klingon or another language
92. Only sentences containing words coined in the series
93. Scenes in Dumbledore’s office
94. Scenes in the Hospital Wing
95. Parts with the Invisibility Cloak
96. Performing spells as you read
97. With a real witch
98. Inside a castle
99. Parts with House-elves
100. At Harry Potter World

Special thank you to Maria Savva, Ford Forkum, Merita King, Darcia Helle, Cathy Sheets, Linda Reis, Jackie Smith, Peter Forster, Claudette Peercy, Jherek Cummings, and Cinta Garcia-Stone for their countless suggestions.

And Now the Last Thoughts of The Elder Wand from Harry Potter

You’re breaking up with me!? I just killed friggin’ Voldemort!  Remember that?  Peeves sang Voldy’s gone moldy, and everyone hugged.  It was like the best moment ever and we totally shared it, dude.  The only thing missing were ewoks, but I could have conjured those too, because I’m the Elder Wand.  See what you’re missing?  You ain’t never had a friend like me…. Please don’t put me back in the grave.  It’s creepy.  I can change.  I didn’t even kill anyone the last time I switched owners.  Psychologists call that personal growth.  And it was all you, buddy.  Why don’t you sleep on it?  It’s not like anyone knows you have the most powerful wand in the world.  Except for the entire castle and soon-to-be convicted criminals you told.  But, hey, why sleep when I can turn pincushions into penguins?  It won’t even be hard.  You just say pincushion, penguin and it’s there, babe.  Let’s go for a magic carpet ride and sing Aladdin songs.  I can totally make Disney movies come to life.  It’s true.  You don’t like how Bambi’s mom died?  Boom.  She’s alive again.  Maybe you want to see Finding Dory a couple years early? Hey, I’ll summon a Tardis.  There’s nothing we can’t do.   Unless you want to cure hiccups.  I mean, I can try, but you’ve still got to hold your breath or get scared.

Horcrux Math

Something has always bothered me about Voldemort’s horcruxes in Harry Potter, apart from the murder. The books seemed to allude that Voldemort split his soul into eight equal parts. Maybe souls don’t follow the same laws of nature as everything else, but it would seem to me that if you split your soul in half, you would only maintain one-half. And if you split that half again, you would retain one-fourth and so-on and so-forth. Thus, the potency of horcruxes created should be less, which seems to almost ring true if you look at the level of defenses they provided. The diary put up a far larger fight than the cup or diadem. It’s almost as if the ones he created earlier had greater ability to feel. Anyway, that’s my two sickles and a knut. I’ll leave you with some math as a caution against creating your own horcruxes.

Horcrux Fraction Left Percentage Left
1.     Diary ½ 50%
2.     Ring ¼ 25%
3.     Locket 1/8 12.5%
4.     Cup 1/16 6.25%
5.     Diadem 1/32 3.13%
6.     Harry Potter 1/64 1.56%
7.     Nagini 1/128 0.78%

Harry Potter in Third World Translations

Harry Potter has been translated into 67 different languages. It isn’t a stretch to imagine that some of the people speaking these languages do not all like the West or America very much. It might be economic imperialism, regular imperialism, or the twice-a-day drone strikes that turn them off. I can’t be sure. Through my worldly connections however I have come across direct translations for the titles in: Urdu, Persian (Iranian), Russian, North Korean, Vietnamese, Ukranian, and Navajo Indian.

1.) Harry Potter and the Philosophers that Weep for America

2.) Harry Potter and the Chamber of the White Devil

3.) Harry Potter and the Highest Prison Population in the Western World:
How Sirius Black Escaped Guantanamo Bay!

4.) Harry Potter and the Goblet of Unfair Trade Agreements

5.) Harry Potter and the Order at McDonalds That Expands Your Waistline and the American Hegemon

6.) Harry Potter and the Half-blood Banking Institutions

7.) Harry Potter and the Deathly Drone Strikes