Tuesday, August 2, 2016

9 years later: Reading a new Harry Potter book for the first time

For those of you who cautiously clicked through, don't worry; there won't be spoilers here. Not really.

Ya'll know my thoughts on the so-called 8th Harry Potter story. I would much rather have a novel we can all enjoy than a play only a few can experience.

But when the script went on sale for pre-order, of course I ordered a copy—a new piece of Harry's world was waiting to be discovered, and ignoring it simply wasn't an option.

I was a little annoyed when I realized that July 31 was a Sunday, which meant I'd have to wait an extra day to read the book. Uncle Vernon won that round.

But still, it wasn't too big of a problem. It was like that Christmas before I was a true Harry Potter fan and chose to read my Nancy Drew books before I read books 2 and 3 of the Harry Potter series. I'd get to it eventually.

Which is why I was a little surprised that when I sat down with the book I got a little emotional. The dust jacket has the same texture as my other Harry Potter books. The book design is the same. It felt like a Harry Potter book, and it dawned on me that I was reading a new Harry Potter book for the first time in nine years. No, it wouldn't be quite the same, but it was new Harry Potter canon nonetheless—that's not something you can just brush aside.

In traditional Harry Potter fashion, I stayed up too late finishing it, and then had to sit down and jot down some of my thoughts before attempting to sleep. Therapy for Harry Potter withdrawals won't be required this time because the script isn't on that level of literary magic, nor did I expect it to be, but, come on. It's Harry Potter. Of course I have thoughts.

(If you're one of those who considers impressions spoilers, I would advise that you stop reading now.)

Did I enjoy it? Yes, more than I thought I would (though it's definitely got problems). Do I think it would make a good play? Absolutely, and I'd love to see it. The writers managed to convince me that a play would be a fun way to tell this story, more so than a movie would be, even. But I stand by what I've said for years—there's no better medium for Harry Potter than a novel written by J.K. Rowling. It's no contest. Reading the script was a bit like watching it through a foggy window—you grasp enough to know what's going on, but you don't truly experience it.

Did it feel like Harry Potter? Well, sort of. Tone-wise, it felt most like Sorcerer's Stone; lighthearted with some dark moments. But mostly it felt like fan fiction to me, and that's because of the plot, not the format. However, it was delightful seeing the trio, Ginny, and Draco as adults. Some of the lines made me laugh out loud. Some made my heart twinge a bit.

It wasn't the type of experience that made me a devoted Potterhead for life, but it was still a continuation of a story I love so much. And that's enough. Just knowing that Harry and co. are still out there, dealing with parental struggles and magical problems while we stalk them with the best of our Muggle capabilities, is comforting. JKR didn't have to let us into their lives again, but she did, and honestly, I'm grateful for whatever I can get.

Now, I wanted to do some kind of recap of my reactions to the play, so I took some notes as I went along.

Again, there aren't any blatant spoilers, but depending on how well you know me and Harry Potter, you may be able to guess what some of my vague exclamations mean. I doubt it, though.

Be ye warned.

pg. 17: WHAT.
pg. 29: JKR, do you really want to go down that road again?
pg. 48: Oh no!
pg. 52: This is starting to sound like that Harry Potter Musical on YouTube.
pg. 55: Now this is the kind of magical backstory I was hoping for.
pg. 59. Wait, did I read that right? ::Pauses:: Actually, that's not surprising.
pg. 67: Oh, Ron. Nobody can lighten the mood like you can.
pg. 78: Okay, this scene would be hilarious to watch.
pg. 81: Don't touch those books!
pg. 82: I told you not to touch those books. What would Grandpa Weasley say?
pg. 91: This better not mean what I think it means.
pg. 106: WHAT? It actually worked?
pg. 115: Oh, Harry. Dumbledore was right about you.
pg. 118: Gosh dang it, look what you did to Ron!
pg. 122: Ugh, Harry, stop being such a jerk.
pg. 125: See, this is why Hermione needs Ron.
pg. 135: Harry cooks?
pg. 136: Who would have thought that Draco and Ginny would have something in common?
pg. 144: Always. Sniff.
pg. 160: Okay, I know that wasn't supposed to be funny, but I can't stop laughing.
pg. 183: Did _____ seriously just crack a joke?
pg. 187: Stop trying to make me like _____.
pg. 195: I mean it.
pg. 223: This play is worth it for the Ron and Hermione scenes alone.
pg. 224: I hope canceling on the goblins doesn't come back to bite you.
pg. 249: Awwwwwww.
pg. 258: Awwwwwww. ::fake cries::
pg. 273: Yay! Ron gets to go with them this time!
pg. 274: Draco learned that from Voldemort, I'll bet.
pg. 277: #TeamBookGinny
pg. 280: This just got really weird.
pg. 287: I KNEW IT!
pg. 298: Finally! I've been waiting for _____ to show up.
pg. 306: Hmm. That's new.


  1. Hmmm... Can I borrow your book when we go on vacation? It sounds quite interesting.

  2. Haha I totally grabbed my copy to see how your comments fit in. And my reactions were quite similar.