It’s taken a while but I’ve got my Harry Potter and the Cursed Child review. It’s going to be half spoiler-free and half spoilery so if you haven’t read it yet, don’t fret because it’s all spoiler-free until you see big, bold text of “SPOILERS AHEAD”. That will probably be the sign to skidaddle and read it if you want so we can discuss the book in detail. Also I would very much highly recommend reading the Harry Potter series (7 books) before starting this review because a) spoilers of those books are highly probably and b) they are phenomenal books that I most highly recommend to the highest level possible.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
Series: Harry Potter (#8) **
Publication: July 31st 2016 by Pottermore
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.
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.
This is so difficult for me to rate. Firstly, I think you’ll get the best experience out of reading this book if you go in without any expectations and try avoid spoilers because the way its summarised on some site does make it sound more absurd than it is. You know what? I enjoyed this. Was I disappointed? Yep. There were many problematic parts and I didn’t like the inconsistencies, but overall I enjoyed this experience. I’m a bit iffy whether to consider this story as canon, because though it contributed to the Harry Potter world, there are many parts in the story that points to fan fiction.
There were so many nostalgic areas, but the the plot was ridiculous and unrealistic at times, that made we laugh. A lot. And not in a good way. The main plot line of time turners was crazy… and weird. Was this good or bad? Both. My logical mind couldn’t deal with it sometimes.
The convenience of situations annoyed me, and though the initial series is full of convenience and luck, the easiness made the storyline predictable and took away the atmosphere of imminent danger. I think this is largely due to its format, as a script, so the imagery of this fantastic magical world was lacking and muted. As a result, I felt a bit detached from this world and I couldn’t immerse myself like I usually can in the first 7 books. I acknowledge this is difficult in this script form, but it didn’t work that well, and Jo wanted to share this story with as many fans as possible, especially this who wouldn’t be able to see the play, but I’m talking about the script, and it sit well with me. I am actually quite intrigued as to how it plays out as a play, as I’ve heard nothing but good things, and the magic is done quite well.
On a whole, I think it would work better as a novel, because there were so many things that needed to be fleshed out, and this format limited the ability to do so. I have read and enjoyed reading scripts, so the fact that I was reading a script was not my issue. It was the fact that this Harry Potter story didn’t work well in a script format for me. Don’t expect it to read like a Harry Potter novel or have the same feel to it. It’s different. Quite jumpy too.
Okay I need to address something. The version of the story that was published was a “special rehearsal edition script”, and “BASED on an original story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne”, so does this mean this script isn’t even the original story and there’s a possibility that it was written as novel or something before it got turned into a play. Because that would have been something I would read.
I loved seeing the old gang who are more mature (physically, lol) and seeing the new characters. In this format, I wished we got to know main characters more rather than having many characters that came then left or were only mentioned once. Once again, we would be able to develop the characters better in a novel format. Also the humour. Some was bad. Some was dry. Some was awkward. Some was characteristic. It was hilarious that way, and I loved it. That was something I think stayed from the previous Harry Potter stories and thank goodness it did.
Now we’re approaching the spoilery section of my review/discussion so if you haven’t read it, you can go know and then come back so we can discuss likes, dislikes and those crazy scenes.
– – – – – – – – – – – – SPOILERS AHEAD! – – – – – – – – – – – –
- Voldemort has a child rumours – I just can’t believe that. Or in my exact words I wrote down at that point, “WHAT? WHAT? WHAT?!?!”
- Trolley witch morphing… I laughed so much at that like where did that come from.
- Albus as Ron with Hermione – THAT SCENE?!?! Whoa. It felt so awkward and out of character and no no no no NO.
- Voldemort day – ridiculous. Even if the day was there, I would expect a better, creative name.
- Alternate Cedric Diggory AKA death eater Diggory – I couldn’t believe it. And I still don’t. The Cedric we saw in book 4 would NOT turn into a death eater because of humiliation (I did like how Neville was the key for the defeat of Voldemort because he is often unappreciated).
- Beginning of the Cursed Child i.e. the epilogue of deathly hallows – even reading this part again made me tear up
- Scorpius as a character – adorable. Any time he spoke. And he’s a smart cookie. And rational. From the initial interaction between Albus and Scorpius I loved him. He’s so friendly. Everything must be so difficult for him. All he just wants to make friends and OMG he’s a follower not a leader. I really loved that piece of detail. And everything’s so difficult for him with his mother dying and it’s impossible not to love him after this book.
Come to the funeral.
And be my good friend.
- Rose – she had some great lines and I wish we got to see more of her.
It’s probably rubbish. I mean . . . look, you’ve got a nose.
- The occupations of the old gang especially Hermione AKA Minister for Magic – I felt so proud that moment it was announced. Who better than Hermione Granger as minister?
- Sorting – before Albus’ sorting, I was actually thinking, how good of a plot twist would it have been if he got sorted into Hufflepuff because everyone is expecting Slytherin or Gryffindor. I was happy that Albus was sorted into Slytherin because it was like finally, we get to show that not all of Slytherin is evil and it set some good intrigue about the reasons why he belongs there.
- SHIP SHIP SHIP – I was shipping Rose x Scorpius so much at the beginning especially in this scene…
What do I smell of?
No, I meant it as a nice thing. You smell like a mixture of fresh flowers and fresh – bread.
Albus, I’m here, okay? If you need me.
I mean, nice bread, good bread, bread . . . what’s wrong with bread?
But then that got scraped because Albus x Scorpius in my true ship. The signs were all there and no one can deny it. Which is why I didn’t understand the ending of the novel and it seemed to suggest that if Albus and Scorpius became a thing, there would be another story or something. I’m really disappointed that they didn’t take the opportunity to have 2 queer leads. That would have been so good!!
- Alternate Hermione as a professor – sorry not sorry I know people many people hated that scene where Hermione was basically the Snape of Hogwarts and though it hurts, that scene was really enjoyable and she was so… sassy?
Losing patience now. Ten points from Gryffindor for stupidity.
- Basically all of Hermione – she was great as a rebel warrior and I could actually imagine that if it were the dark days, Hermione would totally have the guts and ability to lead a rebellion.
- Alternate (alive) Snape – let me be clear. I don’t like Snape. He was a horrible person who let his bitterness affect the way he treated children, abusing and blaming them for no reason. However, his character was done really well and felt in character. Though I still hate him, I loved the fact has he acknowledged and appreciated the fact that Harry named one of his kids after him. His dialogue. So good. So snarky and I love it.
I need your help.
I exist to serve.
and this exchange…
Safe. He’s safe. (Beat.) You know you never could listen. You were a terrible bore of a student and you’re a terrible bore of – whatever you are.
I was an excellent student.
You were moderate to average. He’s on our side!
let’s have 1 more…
I’m dead, presumably.
He looks at SCORPIUS. SCORPIUS’s face drops, SNAPE smiles thinly.
You were a little too surprised to see me. How?
How very irritating.
There’s a silence as SNAPE digests this.
Still, there’s glory in being taken down by the Dark Lord himself, I suppose.
I’m sorry, Severus.
SNAPE looks at her, and then swallows the pain. He indicates RON with a flick of his head.
Well, at least I’m not married to him.
- The #Dramione moment – yes we got it and here it is
Hermione Granger, I’m being bossed around by Hermione Granger. (She turns towards him, he smiles.) And I’m mildly enjoying it.
- The recurring theme that love and friendships are extremely powerful – I loved how this feeling was kept from the 7 books, that with friendship and fighting in groups can defeat so much especially in the ending. At Godric’s Hallow. Heartbreaking.
- Harry confronting Dumbledore about knowingly putting him in an abusive house – I loved how Harry told him off about ignoring the abuse Harry would receive and did receive because as great of a wizard as Dumbledore was, this was messed up and he did raise Harry up like a pig for slaughter.
- The momentary resurrections of the dead – I enjoyed those flashbacks or alternate universes of dead characters and meeting them once more but we all know what is dead should stay dead #Supernatural #IgnoringOwnAdvice
I’m sorry but it’s the truth. Don’t meddle. Otherwise things get messy.
Cedric, Sirius, Dumbledore, Fred. Yeah just casually mentioned.
- The dementors – uhhh I mean the dementors SCENE. I could just imagine how well it could be executed in the play. Those were some good stage directions.
- The humour and banter – still A+
Keep up, old man.
We’re the same age, Draco.
I wear it better.
- McGonagall and her wisdom – Minerva is an excellent woman and her characterisation was consistent in this script. She puts people in their places and sits them down. Her sass gives me life.
- Harry’s parenting – I didn’t like how Albus treated Harry, and DEFINITELY did not like how Harry spoke to Albus. I know he was trying to connect, and Albus was purposefully being resentful and irritating but just never say to your kids that you wish they weren’t your children. I can see how clueless Harry can be because he experienced an abusive childhood and although he had some good role models, essentially he had a traumatised childhood (a very important time in a kid’s life) and wasn’t nurtured personally. Probably my second biggest problem behind the turn turners plot line.
HARRY (seeing red)
Well, there are times I wish you weren’t my son.
I was absolutely appalled at this line. Total shock.
I just wish he was more like James or Lily.
Seriously? Just stop now.
- Some of those stage directions were… strange – They were entertaining at times and helped with visualising but they were bad.
His hand is empty. It’s a lame trick. Everyone enjoys its lameness.
Really??? Or this.
There’s real emotion in this room.
Yes that was a real-life stage direction. But there are some others that I would love to see how it turns out visually like…
Around him Dark Magic moves.
- Ron only being here for comic relief – it seemed that Ron was only there to crack a joke or lighten the mood. Also I didn’t picture that Ron would come to this occupation and he felt a bit out of character. Maybe this was in memory of Fred *heavy sobbing*
- Albus’ moodiness and ignorance – Albus really got on my nerve basically throughout the book and his decisiveness in getting his way in every situation, ignoring everyone’s advice, being reckless. Please uses brains and common sense.
- Easiness of EVERYTHING – literally everything felt convenient and the real sense of danger wasn’t felt for a lot of the book. It could be due to the time constraints and needing the plot of move on, but if it doesn’t work this way, don’t write it this way.
- Plot holes and the laws of time-travel – okay, don’t get me wrong I love time-travel as a plot, but it wasn’t done particularly well in this book. The rules weren’t explained properly and seemed to contradict the third book and if the rules were purposely changed, I would have liked a confirmation in the story with these new time turners. I felt this plot line was really rushed in putting it together because there were so many plot holes the were produced from the time turners. As soon as they were mentioned, I was like yikes, something’s definitely going to go wrong with them.
We’re going to use a Time-Turner. We’re going to bring him back.
Nope. nope. nope. Don’t do it!!! WHY??!? Kids.
– – – – – – – – – – – – END OF SPOILERS! – – – – – – – – – – – –
This book felt like it was trying to fit in all the awesomeness of the Harry Potter books into 1 and highlight the greatest moments, not really dealing with the everyday things and lessons like the first 7. To sum up the wizarding world in Ron’s words:
Big. Wonderful. Full of food. I’d give anything to be going back.
That was before this book. More cautious about using that phrase now. I’m disappointed even though my expectations were extremely suppressed before even starting to read it. It’s just that so many other stories could have been told, and the most convoluted one was chosen and attempted to be told in a portion to what was needed. I would still love to see the play though.
So what did you think of the latest addition to the wizarding world? Actually what you do think about spin-offs/additions to a series that ended long ago? Yay, nay? Comment below!
* I am a Book Depository affiliate – for more details, you can read my Disclosure HERE.
** I know many refuse to call this book 8 in the Harry Potter series so we’ll just call it the eighth story, aye?