Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: A Script Review

Posted August 12, 2016 by Carlisa in Book Reviews / 8 Comments

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: A Script ReviewHarry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books on July 31, 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 328
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

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.

It’s taken me a week to fully process my thoughts about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. And when I say “fully process,” I really mean, “I partially have a grasp over the mess of emotions I’ve been feeling.” But it’s been a week, so I just have to write down my convoluted thoughts before I lose them completely.

At this point, I think it’s fair to tell you that I’m going to try my hardest not to use spoilers. I think it’ll be hard, though. But when I do use them, I’ll always mark them, leaving you the choice whether or not you want to be spoiled. But I fully recommend going into this script without being spoiled. Sound good? Good.

Before I say anything else, let me just say: I enjoyed reading this. It made me smile many times, and it was fun to revisit Rowling’s world. Note my 3 star rating. But but but I have a lot of critiques as well.  And the “What I Didn’t Like” section looks a lot littler than the “What I Did Like” section, but that’s mostly because I tagged a lot of spoilers in the “didn’t like” part….So just try to balance that in your mind, lol.

What I Didn’t Like

The more I’ve thought about it, the less I like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child—mostly because I feel it’s completely unnecessary. It doesn’t add anything to the world except some overlooked plot holes and some new insight into the original character’s children. But this isn’t a new story with Harry’s children and their adventures. Not really. And maybe I should have realized this with the title of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It’s still a Harry Potter story. Even though he’s 40+ and doesn’t actually have much of a role in the story itself. I can’t get into much without spoilers, so I’m SORRY. View Spoiler »

Okay. The plot holes…….let’s talk about them. But again, spoilers! Sorry. View Spoiler » View Spoiler » View Spoiler » View Spoiler »

Ron’s character. He bothered me. I’ve heard that his actor is perfect. But to me, he was only present in this story for some comedic relief. And he is funny. But shouldn’t he have some more depth than that? His wife is Minister of Magic and has a bunch of power. And he runs a joke shop. And when Harry, Hermione, and Ron are together, Ron never really comes up with a solution. He just makes a joke. Which, I guess, is kind of how it was in the originals. But not to this extent, I don’t think. Sure, he was funny, and I liked his character for that. But I loved him in the originals, and I wanted to see more depth than I did in the eighth story.

Finally, this isn’t really a plot hole, so I didn’t include it there, but I didn’t buy one of the new characters. It didn’t seem logical or possible or realistic really for this character to be there. I’M BEING SO VAGUE, I’M SORRY. View Spoiler »

What I Did Like

Let me just say—I loved Scorpius Malfoy. He was the cutest little nerd, and he made my heart happy. Seriously, awkwardly adorable—which is always my favorite type of person.

Some of the “stage direction” was awesome. Like listen to this one:

There’s a silence.

A perfect, profound silence.

One that sits low, twists a bit, and has damage within it (page 21).

Isn’t that wondrous? I love that kind of description so much because it’s not just direct. It leaves so much for interpretation for the director and the actors. And it leaves the reader to think about what this actually means. It’s way more than just “the room is silent” or “no one makes a sound.” The silence is alive here, and that’s pretty cool, I think. View Spoiler »

To be honest, I liked that this was a play format. I’ve seen a lot of negativity about this simply because it’s a script and not a book. And, sure, it’s different. Sure, I would rather see the play than read it in a heartbeat. But I liked it for what it was. Which is why I wrote a post about ways I’ve learned to better enjoy reading plays. You can’t read it in the same way as you would a book, but I like how the script format gives you so much more room for imagination. We have the chance to picture everything for ourselves, to try to imagine visually what Rowling and Thorne and Tiffany had in mind. Isn’t that a cool opportunity?

This quote: 

“There is never a perfect answer in this messy, emotional world. Perfection is beyond the reach of humankind, beyond the reach of magic. In every shining moment of happiness is that drop of poison: the knowledge that pain will come again. Be honest to those you love, show your pain. to suffer is as human as to breathe.”

I won’t tell you who it was View Spoiler », but isn’t that quote beautiful? It almost makes me want to forgive all of this script’s flaws. Perfection isn’t attainable, so I shouldn’t hold this up to perfection, right?

I thought the overall message was lovely. Though I didn’t really care for the plotline, the overall story is about the relationship between a boy and his father. Albus and Harry. That quiet side of the story is really special, I think. Kind of like this quote from Ginny:

People think they know all there is to know about you, but the best bits of you are—have always been—heroic in really quiet ways.

I like that. Harry has been a hero, but not really for all of the massive, grand things he’s done. But for the quiet ones. So when I look back at Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I don’t want to look back at the massive, grand story that didn’t quite live up to what I expected. I want to look back and see the quiet, lovely story of Harry and Albus.

And it made me want to re-read the original stories. Let’s be honest, though. When do I not want to re-read the original series? But this story brought on a whole bunch of nostalgia and made me want to experience the stories I grew up reading in their full glory.

I feel like I have so much more to say…but I’m already at about 2,000+ words (oh my gosh, I’m so sorry for all the word vomit), so I thought I should take a breather and just let these words sit. But despite this, I still love the Harry Potter world. I still think Rowling is a genius, even if I think she needs to let Harry’s story just live on its own. I’m still so incredibly excited for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. I still will probably read this story again someday. And I’m just going to leave it at that.

Have you read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child yet? What did you think? Or have you waited to read it? Do you think you’re going to? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!


  • I want to revisit this when I finish it, so I can fully discuss! I’m a little over halfway at this point. I enjoy it, but definitely not perfect. I could see myself giving it a similar rating, but who knows how the ending will change things for me!

    • Excited to hear your thoughts! And I feel like I’ve commented back on a million of your comments in the last twenty minutes or so, so I’m sorry if I’m blowing up your email!

  • Bianca Montierro

    I love how you thoroughly discussed what you liked and did not like about it! Also, props to you for hiding the spoiler-y bits. <3 To be honest, I still haven't read The Cursed Child. I have been avoiding to read it like the plague but I also avoid the spoilers in it. I guess I am quite scared that I might be disappointed, but as a Potterhead, it's always nice to have more HP. Great review!

    • I think it’s worth it if you love the HP world. It was fun to revisit the characters. There are just some issues with it that make me unable to consider it canon. But if you end up reading it, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  • I think you’re right – the more I think about it, I feel like it didn’t add much to the world. With that being said though, for me, it’s a good thing – I would have been super upset if it RUINED my experience with the original books. It didn’t negatively affect my feelings towards everything and gave me a fun glimpse back into the world, so I’m not too mad 🙂

    • That’s very true. It didn’t impact how I feel about the original stories AT ALL. And now that you say that, I’m very appreciative of that. Have you heard about the new short stories JK Rowling is releasing soon? I think it was announced this morning.

  • I haven’t read it yet! I don’t know if I even will, to be honest! I just want to watch it on stage!! 🙁 But I reckon, if/once I do, I’ll definitely be in the mood for a reread of the series, or a rewatch of the movies!

    • I just want to see it on stage too! That would be an utterly different and unique experience.