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A Review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Written by Lauren Mayhew

***I’ve tried my hardest not to put any spoilers in this, but if you don’t want to know anything about this play, it’s probably best not to read my review!***

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling - Young Adult Author RendezvousHarry Potter and the Cursed Child – J.K. Rowling – 4 Stars

Blurb: It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

I was so excited to read this, and though I tried to hang on in the hope that I’d see it on stage first, I couldn’t. Tickets are almost impossible to get, and when it comes to Harry Potter, I have no willpower.

The fact that I managed to read this in the space of a few hours is a testament to how good it is. I couldn’t put it down – I just had to know how it would end.

I’m not going to spoil anything, so this may be a bit of a cryptic review.

However much I loved this play, I couldn’t give it 5 stars. It had nothing to do with the format, I quite enjoy reading plays. You get to skip a lot of unnecessary description, and the story moves along a lot quicker.

It was the actions of certain characters that docked a star. I won’t name names, don’t worry. One character in particular, one of my favourites, seemed very dumbed down and a bit of a loser. This was not what I was expecting from them and I was disappointed that my favourite character had changed so much.

A few other events take place with two other characters that were so unbelievable to me. I refuse to believe that one of the most good-hearted characters would ever turn bad. I can’t think of a way to describe the other characters’ actions without giving anything away.

I loved the appearance of the original Harry Potter characters, even though a few of them seemed a little different than before. I especially loved Draco’s appearance in this. He’s still the same old Draco, but there’s definitely some good in him too.

Overall I loved it, and would definitely recommend it to anyone who can’t make it to see it performed on stage. Hopefully I can get tickets one day!

Now I live in hope that J.K. Rowling will write something about the Maurauders. I’d love to know what they got up to at Hogwarts!!

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It’s National Dog Day – Do you know your Harry Potter dogs?

Written by Cynthia Port.

In honor of Rowling’s latest release and National Dog Day, let’s see how many dogs of the Wizarding World YOU can name.

A pair of adorable pups probably come to mind right away: Fang and Fluffy.

Fang - Harry Potter - National Dog DayFang is described as a Boarhound, but that is actually another name for a Great Dane, so yes indeedy, Fang is a giant, black Great Dane. I imagine him like the tallest Great Dane in the world, George, who was 7’3” long from his rubbery nose to the end of his ouch-my-face-is-not-a-windshield tail.  Sadly, George passed away in 2013, but he will forever live on in the scratches he left at the top of his family’s refrigerator. It doesn’t seem fair, but large dogs do not live as long as smaller ones. I hate to think how many raw steaks Hagrid will need to hold over his swollen eyes when Fang must leave him.

Fluffy - Harry Potter - National Dog DayFluffy is the large, vicious, three-headed dog that guarded the Philosopher’s Stone and could only be tamed through music. I love the idea of a three-headed dog.  You get three times the adorable, loving stares and only one part of the . . . you know.  In The Philosopher’s Stone, Hagrid explains that he got Fluffy from “a Greek chappie.”  Rowling is showing off her impressive knowledge of ancient myths and legends with this off-hand remark, as Greek mythology is replete with three–headed canines, also known as hellhounds.  The most famous of the pack, Cerberus, guarded the entrance to the Underworld.

Hercules -Harry Potter - National Dog DayA Greek amphora from 500 BC showing us Hercules taming a two-headed Cerberus, (apparently by singing to him since I don’t see an instrument).  I’m not sure what happened to head number three, but I guess you can afford to lose your head when you’ve got a couple of spares.

Ripper - Harry Potter - Natonal Dog DayRemember him?  Maybe not, because despite his impressive name, he is a decidedly non-magical creature.  Ripper is the favorite of Harry’s Aunt Marge’s twelve bulldogs. He once chased Harry into a tree, which wasn’t very nice, but he also sunk his teeth into Vernon’s leg, so there’s that.

Crup - Harry Potter - National Dog DayWhat?  You didn’t think of Crups?  That’s okay, they only get one quick mention in The Order of the Phoenix, as creatures studied in Hagrid’s Care of Magical Creatures class.Flying Jack Russell - Harry Potter - National Dog Day

Crups are wizard-bred dogs that look like Jack Russell terriers, except that they have forked tails.  Popular singer Celestine Warbeck is known to be a breeder of Crups. The Jack Russell in this picture may or may not have a forked tail, but he sure looks magical! Accio Crup!!

Ron's Patronus - Harry Potter - National Dog DayThat’s right, Ron’s Patronus, his alter-self, is a dog—a loyal if not altogether bright creature. The choice of a Jack Russell for Ron was a sentimental one, because Rowling once had one for a pet. Going with the red hair theme, I would have picked an Irish Setter, but that was probably too obvious. So obvious, in fact, that my patronus is probably a dog . . .

The Grim - Harry Potter - National Dog DayThe Grim is the omen of death in the form of a giant, shaggy black dog that Harry didn’t actually see.  Oh, he did see a dog, but it didn’t turn out to be the Grim, and Harry did not die.  Several dogs could be the source of Rowling’s Grim, including the Black Shuck of English folklore and the Cu Sith of Scottish mythology, both of which signal death.  Grim - Harry Potter - National Dog DayThere’s also the Church Grim of Scandinavian and English folklore, a guardian spirit that guards churchyards after being buried alive there for that purpose. Shudder.  A description of the appearance of the Black Shuck at a church in Suffolk, England in 1577 starts with: A Straunge and Terrible Wunder wrought very late….

There is also mention of two dogs owned by Hermione’s parents after she modified their memories and sent them to live in nice, safe Australia (and I’m going to pretend they were dingos), and Hagrid compares baby Aragog to a Pekingese in size. How sweet. Additional dog mentions occur in the Harry Potter films, video games, companion books, and on Pottermore.  You can learn about them all at http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Category:Dogs

Dinky - Harry Potter - National Dog DayIt’s no surprise that dogs sniff their way into Rowling’s books; if humans cannot live without the furry, tail wagging wonderfulness that is dogs, why would wizards want to do so?  Only problem is, Dinky, the Great Dane in my middle grade book series, can’t stop drooling over the fact that Fang is also a Dane.  Suddenly he is a Fang Fandog!  Down Dinky, down!  Yes, I will get you a Fang poster for your doghouse, but in the meantime, my face is not a windshield!  Ow!

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