Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Author: John Tiffany, Jack Thorne & J.K. Rowling
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Publication Date: July 31st, 2016
Publishers: Arthur A. Levine Books
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 REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS!!!
This review is my opinion and how I felt about the characters and how the plot was portrayed. If you don’t agree, don’t jump down my throat!
My expectations were low, to begin with for this book, as it is a screenplay I knew it wasn’t going to be the amazing, magical and engaging story that the original series was. I was disappointed, even with starting with a fairly low expectation!
First, I want to talk about the thing that annoyed me the most. The Characters of Harry, Hermione, and Ron. I know that they are 20 years older, but there is no trace of who the character’s used to be!
Harry is no longer the kind, caring and loving person that he was in the original series. Some of the things that he says and does, especially when it comes to Albus, are not like him at all! The part that annoyed me the most is right at the start where the crossover is with the epilogue from The Deathly Hallows and the start of the Cursed Child. They have removed one of the most important lines in that scene!
“-then Slytherin house will have gained an excellent student, won’t it? It doesn’t matter to us, Al…”
I feel like this line just shows how much Harry loves Albus, whereas in the play, without this line, this scene is very bland and shows no emotion. I feel it shows, almost as if Harry is pushing Albus to tell the sorting hat that he wants to be in Gryffindor, just like Harry did in his first year.
In the play, Hermione is no longer the girl who thinks everything over 5 times in her head before doing things. For example, in the play, she hid the Time Turner in a bookcase with a few riddles guarding it. Albus and Scorpius quite easily and quickly get through the riddles, while also trying not to get sucked into a bookcase. If two young boys can figure it out, then I’m sure adults would have no trouble. If this was the Hermione from the original series, because she is so cautious and thinks everything through before acting, she would have hidden it a lot better! Also, why does she end up being Minister for Magic when this was a quote from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:
“Are you planning to follow a career in Magical Law, Miss Granger?” asked Scrimgeour.
“No, I’m not,” retorted Hermione. “I’m hoping to do some good in the world!”
So many things just don’t add up with this play!
Next, Ron. Sorry, are you sure this is Ronald Weasley and not some imposter pretending to be him?! Nearly every scene he was in, I feel he was just added there to break away from the continuous darkness that was going on for the other characters. He was constantly trying to be funny, however, he wasn’t. This made me think that in the play they portrayed him as a try hard version of Fred and George rather than the goofy, funny, yet sensitive guy that we have known for 7 books!
Another thing I want to ask is why is Ron running Weasley Wizard Wheezes and not George? This really confused me!
I did enjoy Draco’s character in the play. He wasn’t much like how he was in the original series but I think that’s a good thing. I felt like in the end of Deathly Hallows Draco was trying a bit harder to be good and kind. I also felt like there was always, kind of, a good side to Draco but he was always trying to impress his father and live up to the expectations that his Father had of him, which is why he did most of the things he did. I always liked to think that after they finished school Draco would find someone and get away from his father and show the good side of himself rather than the evil side. So, I’m glad that, that happened in the play. I also felt like in the play I could connect and feel for Draco more than I could in the original series. I always felt sorry for Draco and felt that if he had grown up with a different father he would have been a lot happier. In the play, we find out more about him and learn his story, especially when it comes to his late wife, Astoria.
I think that Albus is an extremely flat character. I believe this is because it is a play. A play is not meant to be read, so reading purely what the characters were saying doesn’t allow for character development and he did not come to life for me. This also meant that I couldn’t connect with him.
I really enjoyed Scorpius. He was the one new character that I felt like had a bit more development. He was cautious and kind and he cared about Albus. Even when it was against his better judgment he also went along with Albus.
Rose Granger-Weasley was a character we saw very little of. But when we did I didn’t like her and I didn’t feel like she was Hermione and Ron’s daughter. Even when Albus found that Scorpius was a good guy and was nothing like what all the rumors were saying she didn’t even try to get to know him, she just judged him the whole time, even after Draco and Harry become kinda friends. I feel like she was nothing like Ron or Hermione who I know would have still been cautious around Scorpius at the start, but would have trusted their friend’s judgment and gave him a chance.
I also wish that we saw Hugo in the play at some point and more of James and Lily.
At the start I enjoyed the plot except where it skipped 2 or 3 years at once, that was a tad confusing and at first, I thought it must have been a dream Albus was having or something. The should have just left the original Epilogue how it was in the Deathly Hallows and started in their 3rd year (i think that’s where it skipped to).
When we first meet Scorpius we find out nearly straight away that there is a rumor that Scorpius is actually Voldemort’s child. when I read it, I literally laughed, for one thing, it is beyond ridiculous and secondly Voldemort was dead long before Scorpius was born, so how do people figure that out!?
Next, the fact that Albus wanted to go back in time to save Cedric Diggory. First of all, this was beyond stupid and I honestly wanted to put the book down as soon as Albus and Scorpius escaped the train. When I was reading it I was thinking that this is something that a 10-year-old would say but obviously wouldn’t actually do it. Yet off they went and had a go and the whole time I was shaking my head. I also felt like this was them telling prisoner of Azkaban over again. In that book, Harry and Hermione went back and saved Sirius and Buckbeak and in this, they went back attempting to save Cedric. I just felt like they were repeating themselves. This has already been done before, not just in another author’s book but in the same damn series! This was a very poor part of the plot.
Also, Voldemort has a daughter?! You expect me to believe this crap?! Voldemort was barely human, let alone human enough to have the desire to have sex or to have a child? Especially with a death eater that in the original series he didn’t really like, she was just a very loyal slave, basically. So that was ridiculous, to begin with. Next, it said that Bellatrix had the child just before the battle of Hogwarts, so why didn’t we see Bellatrix pregnant when we only saw her a couple months before the battle of Hogwarts at Malfoy Manor and why wasn’t she with her child instead of at the Battle of Hogwarts. Also who was looking after the child between when Bellatrix and Voldemort were killed and when the child was old enough to go out on its own.
It also really annoyed me that they had to screw with the original story. There were small things, like the commentary made by Ludo Bagman at the Triwizard Tournament. The least they could have done was kept was was said the same as the original stories. There was also bigger things like the fact that Bellatrix was not pregnant at all in the Deathly Hallows!
At times I also felt like Albus and Scorpius were going to turn out more than just friends and it kept building within the play, but instead at the end, Scorpius asks out Rose, which she declined. I know there was a little bit at the beginning somewhere that felt like Scorpius has a crush on Rose, but then it gets overshadowed by what you think is building between Albus and Scorpius. I know I’m not the only person who sensed this relationship as I have heard and read a few reviews that have said the same thing, so it’s not just me.
Another thing that really annoyed me is Hermione in the alternate universe that was created when Albus and Scorpius messed with time. I didn’t add this in the character section as I know this isn’t the real Hermione, this is an alternate Hermione. Firstly, you can’t make me believe that Ron and Hermione didn’t end up together just because Ron never got jealous when Hermione went with Viktor to the Yule Ball. That romance has been brewing from the first book and one simple thing like Ron not being jealous would not have altered that opinion! Next, besides the fact that Ron was jealous, Ron also hated what he had to wear to the Yule Ball and was not the type to dance, so I don’t know what would have made him dance with Padma Patil in the alternate version? I can understand him dancing with Hermione in it as he so obviously has had a thing for her since the start, but not anyone else. That just doesn’t add up for me.
Also in that alternate universe why is Hermione so grumpy and why is she a teacher and not out doing whatever she wants?! Whether she was with Ron or not, she was a strong, powerful and intelligent woman and I do not believe for a second that just because Ron marries someone else that Hermione throws her life down the drain, she could have gone into any job she wanted. Purely because of how intelligent she is.
Overall I didn’t enjoy the book. It was probably an amazing play and I wished they could have released a recorded version of the play so the rest of us could see it. I feel like it was extremely unfair that it was limited to London. What about the rest of the world?!
As a script alone it’s just nowhere near what you have come to expect from a J.K. Rowling work. That kills me to say, as I adore her written work and the worlds she creates.