Potterheads from across the country are divided over the format of the latest book in the Potter franchise, ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ which unlike the previous books is not a novel but a play. While most fans are too overwhelmed with the comeback of the magical world of Hogwarts to be disappointed with the change in genre, there are many who are keen to look at the series that defined their childhoods, in a different light.
“I cannot wait to keep my life on hold for you, ‘Cursed Child.’ Please be good,” says Debsruti Basu from Kolkata. Basu preordered her copy of ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ and “a few more to give away” on the very day Amazon began its preordering stint in February. Even though it has been almost a decade since ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’ was published in 2007, Pottermaniacs have refused to let the fandom die out and lived off “fan fictions, cosplays, book reading sessions, rummaging through hints and the Pottermore website.”
“My anticipation for the ‘Cursed Child’ mostly has to do with the excitement we all felt as children. The waiting for the books, discussing what might be in it, standing in line for a copy, not doing anything till you have finished the books…For me, it is not about finding out how the story continues. It’s about losing myself again in the magical world that Rowling created,” says Anouk, who is a Dutch national who works on museum projects in India.
For many readers like Basu, the genre of writing – a play or a novel – does not define her fandom for the series and she says she will “take any Potter story as long as we are getting it in the form of a hardbound greatness that’ll follow the rest on our book cases.”
For most people, particularly the ’90s children, the return of the franchise, irrespective of the presentation, is more of an opportunity to relive their childhood. Nilotpal Bansal, a law student here says, “The franchise is so close to me that the format doesn’t really matter. However, I would have to read it before I know for sure. “Reading it feels like time travel. ‘The Cursed Child’ is something that gives me a chance to revisit my childhood, a part of which is saved in its pages, perhaps like a horcrux?” he says.
The book, published by Hachette in India was launched at three locations across Delhi NCR here – Mall Of India in Noida, Vasant Kunj in Delhi and Ambience Mall in Gurgaon at OM bookstores.
Set 19 years after the events of ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’, the story revolves around Harry, now a Ministry of Magic employee, and his younger son Albus Severus Potter.
Kasturi Roy from Kolkata, is particularly excited for the play format. She says, “I am obviously eager and looking forward to the new book, even more so because this time it is in form of a play. Rowling, I am sure, being the magician she is, will not let us down!”
Anticipations for the book are also at peak because this time it is not Rowling alone who is steering at the author’s seat. Script writer Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany have co-written the tome with her. City based doctor, Jayati Dureja who is also an avid reader and a Harry Potter enthusiast says she is “not looking
forward” to the change in genre. “I’m apprehensive about the co-author bit, and not looking forward to the play format much but waiting eagerly for the new story it’ll bring,” she says.
The scepticism, however, did not stand in the way of them being among the first ones to get themselves a copy. Tanyaa Raturi, an NGO worker says, “After this long gap I’d have liked it more had the book not been a play. It is kind of off-putting. But being a Harry Potter loyalist, it’s not going to stop me from buying a copy.”
Rowling’s bestselling Harry Potter series of seven books, published between 1997 and 2007, have sold over 450 million copies worldwide, are distributed in more than 200 territories, translated into 79 languages, and have been turned into eight blockbuster films.