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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Book 8 - A Complete Summary

The storyline is presented as a play, which means it is in third person from an omniscient view. That view is limited by the actors' knowledge of any event at a given time but the audience always has more information than any given actor. For example, Harry, Ginny, and Draco begin searching for Albus and Scorpius after they fail to show up at school. The three adults have no idea what the two boys are doing, but the audience already knows. In another scene, the actors get hints that there is Dark Magic present but it is the audience that first sees the dementors. 

Harry Potter fans will have little trouble following the story but those with very limited or no previous knowledge of the characters and places may not understand some pieces of the play. The relationship between the adult characters is one example. Harry, Ron, and Hermione were best friends during their years at Hogwarts School for Witches and Wizardry, and Draco Malfoy was a bully who turned toward darkness out of anger, jealousy, and his family history. That explains much of the current situation, including Ron's distrust when Draco becomes part of the team going back to 1981. While the novel could be considered a stand-alone work, those and other subtleties will be lost to the reader who has no previous understanding of the series. 

Because the novel is about wizards, time travel, and magic, there are many imaginary words and phrases. “Muggles” is a term coined in the first Harry Potter novels. It refers to those without magical abilities. “Dementors” are demons that suck the soul from their victims, forcing them through a living nightmare and resulting in a comatose state. Most of these terms are used casually in this play, indicating the expectation that the reader will understand their meaning. 

The play depends heavily on dialogue. The conversations seem in keeping with the characters' phrasing and attitudes from previous novels. Ron, as expected, manages to work the term “bloody hell” into the conversation at least once. Readers will likely find humor in some scenes, including the aging characters from previous novels. 

The story is set in England, which means American readers may find some unfamiliar words and phrases. As the story begins, Albus and James are pushing a “trolley” toward their train. Americans would call that by another name, such as a cart, depending on regional customs. 

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Fiction & Literature
November 5

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