The Hogwarts Express is still going strong — even without J.K. Rowling driving the engine, exactly.
Scholastic reports that copies of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two” sold more than two million print copies in North America in its first two days of publication (no word yet on e-sales yet). The book — actually a two-part stage play by Jack Thorne, based on a short story by Thorne, J.K. Rowling, and John Tiffany — sold more than 680,000 copies in the United Kingdom, according to British publisher Little, Brown. “The Deathly Hallows” sold 8.3 million copies in 2007.
The play, set 19 years after the events of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” follows the further adventures of the grown-up Harry, who works for the Ministry of Magic, and his son Albus Severus (who, when we last left him, was fretting over the possibility of being sorted into Slytherin instead of his father’s beloved Gryffindor, probably because of that middle name of his).
Bookstores and libraries across the country celebrated the publication with midnight parties last weekend, including Books & Books in Coral Gables and the main branch of the Miami-Dade County Public Library.
“It was a huge success — we had people coming from all over South Florida, even as far away as Palm Beach,” said Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books. “The thing that struck me most was that now the book has been out for so long, the millennials who grew up with it came, people who could drink wine at the shop. Then we had the young ones who were just starting the Harry Potter books. ‘Harry Potter’ is an evergeen book — it’s a classic that will be read forever.”
Reviews for “The Cursed Child” have been mixed. “[E]ven though it lacks the play’s much-talked-about special effects, it turns out to be a compelling, stay-up-all-night read,” writes Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times.
Sophie Gilbert of The Atlantic was less enthusiastic: “It’s familiar and well-worn territory at this point, and it might seem yawningly predictable if not for the shocking revelations that come in part two, many of which seem to destabilize Rowling’s universe rather than expand it,”
UK’s The Telegraph reported that some fans were angry the book was a script, not an original story. As for the play (which — sorry, Muggles — is running only in London)? The Guardian and The Telegraph both gave it a thumbs-up.
As for Rowling, she told Reuters that “The Cursed Child” is the last we’ll see of Harry.
“He goes on a very big journey during these two plays and then, yeah, I think we’re done,” she said. “This is the next generation, you know.”