There's something about reading a Harry Potter book in the middle of the summer that never gets old, no matter how old I get. Is it the sure predictability I get from its hardcovers, or the thick jackets smelling like printer chemicals before the dust starts to settle in from years of being proudly displayed on the shelf? Does the book itself know how many times it's going to reincarnate the lives of its characters as it passes from one set of hands to another to another before its designated shelf-home--does it wonder about the people whose lives it touches, whose hands it warms?
I took Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in my hands at twenty-six years old, and I read it in a week. I refused to listen to friends tell me how awful it was--how the characters weren't developed enough and it wasn't close enough to JKR's actual voice and how Albus was too whiny and how JKR herself said that H/Hr shippers were right all along.
I love you, friends. But shut up.*
I've heard it all, and I don't care. Admittedly, my not-caring is definitely partially because I went to MFA school and at MFA school everyone is always critiquing something and nothing is ever perfect unless it's some really obscure writer who spent 80 million years on her prose and it's so deep in metaphor about some mattress dipped in vinegar or something that you can barely understand what she's actually talking about. No, Cursed Child isn't the literary revolution you were waiting for. No, it isn't a perfect epilogue story. But when I picked that book up and held it in my hands, I just . . . read.
I read and read and read.
I cried. I gasped. I laughed, out loud and without reservation. I fell in love. I met a Slytherin who's really a Hufflepuff-Ravenclaw mix. I saw Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy get along. I saw wars being won with cooperation, and daughters reach for their fathers in anger and desperation and the love that wriggles out of such things. I saw Ron and Hermione fall in love all over again. I saw Snape in an alternate universe. I saw Dumbledore for the complicated man that he is. I saw Ginny make herself known. And I saw Cedric Diggory save the world.
I read on the bus. And while walking around at work. And while eating lunch, and while at home on the couch. The jacket that came with the book had been put on upside-down before I got it, and so I read it with the jacket upside-down a la Luna Lovegood with her copy of The Quibbler. I got so lost in it that I forgot the real world--and that, to me, folks, is the mark of a successful book.
Well done, Team Thorne/Rowling/Tiffany. I can't wait to see it on the stage, should I be so lucky. Thanks for taking me back to when I was fifteen, to a time when I didn't know the difference between an en-dash and an em-dash (nor did I care), to a time when I was barely able to hold on to myself, instead holding Order of the Phoenix in my hands for the first time, reading until the edges of the jacket wore down from blue to white.
*I'm just kidding you can say whatever you want <3 NO JUDGEMENT
ALSO: Can we talk about how awesome it is that Noma Dumezweni has been cast to be Hermione?! Let's talk about racebending dreams-come-true, thank you very much. And to the people who accuse Cursed Child of "not being feminist enough"? Hermione is a black woman RUNNING THE MAGICAL WORLD. Like, actually running it, as the Minister for Magic. And the Big Bad is also a woman. And speaking of which homg did all of the Voldermort's-really-got-a-daughter fangirls have a FIELD DAY with Delphi or what. And Rose Granger-Weasley is so mouthy I love it. And also did anyone ship Albus/Scorpius and think that was actually going to happen because I did.
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