Sarah, age 7, has read the first Harry Potter book, but not the rest of the series (yet, Sarah would have you know, she has not read the rest of the series YET).
And now, after waiting for a veritable plethora of people in line before us to read it first, we have finally received the new book from the library.
Because I am the mom and I drove us all to the library to collect it, I got to read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child first. Since it’s a script and not a novel, that only took about an hour and a half. Hannah and Jack followed with alacrity.
Then the debate commenced. Should Sarah read the new book, having not yet completed the series? In case you or someone in your household faces the same conundrum, here are our thoughts on the matter.
- The new book is a play. As previously mentioned, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is not a novel, but rather a play. Thus, it is shorter and contains fewer details. So kids who weren’t ready for the detail of the whole series or adults who weren’t ready to commit the time could easily handle it.
- The new book was not exactly written by J.K. Rowling. If you’re one of these purists who can’t stand to break rank with a series (one of the children here stands with that camp), knowing that the play is based on a story by Rowling but not technically written by her may help you overcome your reluctance to read it out of order.
- The new book includes familiar characters, but takes place decades after the original series. Because the timeframe is so different, you won’t miss details or episodes the way you would reading one of the first books out of order.
- The new book does contain spoilers. Several parts of the play do refer back to previous books, which could spoil the suspense when you do get to the original series.
- The new book is really not as good as the original series. We hate to say it, but the play has faults. Ron is portrayed as a dufus. Several characters were missing or written a bit incorrectly in our opinions. The play lacked the same depth of theme and language we liked in the original series. So if you haven’t read the novels, we wonder if the play might sour you on the series.
After much conversation, we left the decision up to Sarah. We hope our lengthy deliberations may prove illuminating to you in your own decision about whether or not to read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child out of order. Let us know what you decide!
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