Published by Arthur A. Levine Books on July 31, 2016
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 »It’s a time travel book. Albus (Harry’s son) goes back in time with Scorpius (Draco’s son) to try to set some of Harry’s “injustices” straight. Namely, the death of Cedric Diggory. They have to go back in time a couple of times because—duh—the smallest of things in time travel have the biggest of consequences. So there’s a bunch of alternate histories of what could’ve happened had something gone differently in the original Harry Potter series. (HAS ANYONE ELSE WATCHED COMMUNITY??? All I could think was these were the worst timelines, but I didn’t want to spoil anyone, otherwise my Twitter would’ve been full of Abed gifs.) Anyway, they end up just backtracking and trying to fix what they did the first time they time-traveled…and then, SURPRISE, they fix everything and nothing changes. So they literally didn’t add anything to the original stories and didn’t really have their own story because they were just living in the ones we already know and love. « Hide Spoiler
Okay. The plot holes…….let’s talk about them. But again, spoilers! Sorry. View Spoiler »First, the time travel thing is a huge plot hole to me. After the Battle of Hogwarts, the Ministry supposedly destroyed all of the time-turners. But at the beginning of the script, the Ministry (with Harry at the head of the Law Enforcement [I forgot what his actual title is]) confiscates one from someone working in Dark Magic. So Albus and Scorpius sneak into the Ministry of Magic using Polyjuice Potion and steal it from Hermione’s (did I mention she’s Minister of Magic, which is actually pretty cool) office. Which she keeps in a bookshelf where they only have to solve a riddle to get through. What. First of all, it took Harry, Ron, and Hermione months to infiltrate the Ministry of Magic. Months. And then it was still complicated and dangerous and they barely made it out alive. These two kids who are, I think, 14 years old, make it through quickly and fairly easily. The only complication was when the real Hermione came by, and Albus (who was pretending to be Ron) had to kiss her a bunch of times and direct her away. That’s not realistic. It would’ve been much harder, don’t you think? « Hide Spoiler View Spoiler »And then they go back in time like 20+ years ago. If time-turners had the capability to do this, don’t you think Death Eaters would have done it years ago to prevent Voldemort being destroyed when he tried to kill Harry? I’m pretty sure that would’ve happened. Bah. « Hide Spoiler View Spoiler »And Harry can suddenly speak Parseltongue again. I personally don’t think that’s okay. He was able to speak Parseltongue because he had a piece of Voldemort’s soul in him. When that piece was killed in the seventh Harry Potter story, so did his ability to speak Parseltongue. That can’t just come back just because they need it as a plot device. « Hide Spoiler View Spoiler »Finally, Albus and Scorpius end up trapped in Godric’s Hollow on the night Voldemort goes to kill the Potters. They have to find some way to communicate with present Harry and Hermione to come save them. So he takes baby Harry’s blanket and pours something on it with a message. A few days ago in the present (this is hard to explain without getting confusing about the times), he spilled love potion on it, which in combination will make the message burn through so present-people can see it. BUT how the heck did they get Harry’s baby blanket?? The idea sparked when they saw baby Harry with Lily and James in a stroller with the blanket. HOW DID THEY GET CLOSE ENOUGH TO GET THE BLANKET? The script kind of just skips over how that happened.”Um, hello ma’am. Could I just borrow your son’s blanket? I just need to put some stuff on it, and then I’ll give it right back. Don’t worry—you can trust me. You’re actually my grandma.” But I sincerely doubt that that would’ve been possible considering how much the Potters were being protected and wary of strangers. « Hide 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 » So, this is one of the biggest spoilers of the story, but *surprise* Voldemort had a child. A daughter, Delphini. Whose mother is Bellatrix—who, in all honesty—would’ve probably gladly done the dirty with Voldemort. But was Voldemort that type of guy? I don’t know. I just can’t picture it. And Bellatrix died in the last book. This script says Delphini was born in the Malfoy Manor just before the Battle of Hogwarts. That means there were nine months of her being pregnant that we didn’t know about. How would we have not know that? And then she got up after just giving birth and fought in the Battle? And who was taking care of the baby?? Who raised her?? And wouldn’t Draco have known about it if it happened in his house?? So many unanswered questions. « Hide 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 » And the stage direction for the time traveling was also phenomenal. It gave me little shivers. « Hide 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?
“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 » It was Dumbledore. His talking painting, I mean « Hide 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!