When it was announced that the eighth story in the Harry Potter series would be coming to the stage, my first reaction was a mixture of excitement and panic. Excitement because, well, more Harry Potter! Panic because I knew I'd need to see it. Of course, it wouldn't be as simple as pre-ordering a book or movie tickets. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a play, showing exclusively in London's West End. Seeing it will cost quite a bit more than a movie ticket or the cost of a book.
The stars aligned for me on this endeavor. I got up in the wee hours of the morning last October to join the digital queue for tickets, wishing beyond anything that I had a bottle of felix felicis to mix into my coffee and increase my chances for good luck. But luck was on my side anyway, as I managed to get tickets for decent seats on a Saturday in June, just a couple of weeks after public screenings would begin. After that, I just had to figure out travel plans, and talk my sister (my Harry Potter partner in fanaticism) into abandoning her family for a couple of days to join me for what was sure to be a truly epic Harry Potter adventure.
And then I joined the rest of the fans to wait for months. I admit, I had some mild anxiety when the previews began, afraid that the internet would become flooded with spoilers, and I wouldn't get to experience Cursed Child the way I experienced the books - without any knowledge of what was coming. But from what I've seen, fans have been respectful of J.K. Rowling's #KeepTheSecrets campaign. Oh, there are spoilers out there, but from what I've seen so far, you have to go looking for them. Hopefully that remains the case. And I assure you, I will offer up no plot details here.
For now, I want to share my reaction to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, as a Harry Potter fanatic, and as someone who spent her own money and vacation time traveling to London to see this play, hoping it would be worth it. The TL;DR answer to that is that it was. And while the script will be published as a book, giving fans across the world the opportunity to enjoy the story, Cursed Child is so much more than just dialogue. It's a true Harry Potter experience, and one that's meant to be shared with fans.
Once again, there are NO major plot or character spoilers ahead. Here are the main reasons why Harry Potter fans need to experience Harry Potter and the Cursed Child live..
Rowling's characters have come to life all over again
I'm not going to lie, it's an adjustment to see completely different actors playing Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Draco and other characters. In fact, it's a bit jarring at first. But as a fan first and foremost of the books, I'll admit, not all of the actors in the Harry Potter movies fit my imagination's version of their character. So I was a bit prepared to recondition my brain to accept these new (and adult) versions of the characters. With that said, the actors deliver wonderful versions of these beloved characters. Noma Dumezweni's Hermione may not be Emma Watson's Hermione, but she is still undoubtedly Hermione Granger. The spirit of the character comes through in her performance, as is the case for Jamie Parker's portrayal of Harry.
What's more, it's a thrill to see the matured versions of J.K. Rowling characters. In the 19-years-later setting of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, we get to see what Harry, Ron and Hermione are like in their adult years, grown and more experienced than they were in adolescence. Paul Thornley's Ron, for example, is not merely an older reflection of Ron from the books, he also seems to channel a bit of Arthur Weasley's lovableness in his adult years, which feels like a true and natural progression of the character. Similar could be said of Poppy Miller's Ginny. She is undoubtedly Ginny, but she's also got a bit of Molly in her. This is as much a credit to the actors' performances as it is the direction and the writing. And it's something that comes through so well on the stage, making Cursed Child feel like a reunion as much as it is a sequel.