the cursed child

So, have you heard the news?

Maybe not. I stumbled across it accidentally on Twitter just this morning, but publishers and marketing departments the world over are scrambling to declare that this hitherto unexpected event has broken the internet and set millions, if not billions, of hearts a-flutter right across the known muggle universe.

The release of the next instalment in the Potterverse! No! Yes! On the almost-twenthieth anniversary of the publication of the first book, JK Rowling has teamed up with two esteemed theatre auteurs, playwright Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany, to bring to the salivating public not an auxiliary text book, no, but the very next chapter of Harry Potter’s adventurous existence.

Theatre, you ask? Why yes, because the latest Harry Potter book is not so much a book as it is a play. Nevertheless it has already become a bestseller, and perhaps there is some strange beauty to the idea of a stage-play breaking the charts.

Now, why the tone, you ask? I admit to loving the series as much as the next literate person of any age, but it is precisely because I hold it in such high esteem that I can’t help but feel this latest episode is something akin to the spiralling Marvel dominance of our global popular culture. That is, and I don’t what to put it too crassly, the release of this play might be more of a publicity stunt than it is an actual good idea.

And beneath all the Potter-love exploding across social media at the moment, you will find more than a few voices who also have this same niggling concern.

Personally, I don’t want to know about Harry’s son. I don’t want the most singular legacy the young literature world has ever seen to be passed on, like a never-ending 90s sitcom, to the next generation, or heaven-forbid, on to the third generation, setting the precedent for the Potter-mythos to evolve unchecked throughout the ages ad infinitum.

I want Harry Potter to remain forever the young triumphant teenager surrounded by courageous and eccentric friends and mentors, overcoming the burden of his fate to free the world from tyrannical evil, etc, etc. I don’t want him to grow old, get a mortgage, work a boring job and raise some courteous offspring, who will in turn, after saving the world themselves, perform the very same ritual to produce more junior Potters who will do the same, and so on and so forth.

I want the magic of his youth to stay alive forever. And isn’t there something noble, something dignified, something exceedingly valuable about the story being contained just so, in its original form, to stand on its own merits and speak for itself throughout the uncharted literary future?

And something else, too, something indescribably unsettling grows in my mind the more I think about it. I can’t help but wonder if Rowling herself feels exactly the same way. After all, she created the damn thing, and as a fledgling writer endeavouring to create an original world of my own I squirm at the idea that a sacred concept could be so easily diluted, polluted even, by the endless stringing of additional instalments and marketing revenue.

Anyway. Perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps the play will be ridiculously fantastic and the world will be better for it. Who knows? But for the moment I will wait with muted expectations in my muggle heart.

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