Hello, bloggy friends. I have just finished Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Yes, that one. That script of that play that everybody and their mother has been screaming about for weeks, for months, the one that had midnight release parties and the entire Harry Potter fandom coming back- not like they ever left, really- full blown. The thing that JKR said she wasn’t really planning on doing but did anyway.
And, um. That was a mess.
Beware! This will not be a spoiler review, but it will include stuff that is vague or that you would find out from a preview of the book (i.e. super early on). If you want the entire book to remain unspoiled, I wouldn’t recommend this! (But also…why are you reading reviews?)
The Cursed Child, when I found out about it, had me extremely excited. I mean, who wouldn’t be? More canon JKR Harry Potter stuff = goodness, obviously, or so I thought.
It’s gotten to a point in the Harry Potter fanverse that J.K. Rowling has been constantly releasing little snippets of stuff from the book, saying it’s canon, and that it was just “never mentioned because it wasn’t relevant to Harry.” I love the stuff on Illvermorny as much as the next person, but the little snippets? Saying that there were “obviously” students that weren’t white or whom were queer or whom had a different religion at Hogwarts but failing to actually include that representation doesn’t really count, thanks. (And Emily over at Loony Literate wrote an amazing post on this– please go read it!)
And that was basically what Cursed Child was. It was J.K. Rowling trying to redeem her favorite series by creating something new out of it- but also failing miserably.
To start, I don’t think that Rowling is a screenplay person. I mean, I haven’t seen the play, but this wouldn’t make me want to see it. According to reviews of the play, the reason it has such good reviews is because of the set design, acting, and all around experience in general instead of the actual plot. And so much of it had lost its original magic- all of our faves were out of character and reduced and the villians were the laughable original characters you find in bad fanfiction on fanfiction.net, even down to the parents (which we’ll discuss later). I’d totally say that you could basically call the entire thing a bad fanfiction.
So Cursed Child starts off with Albus Potter- he’s heading off to Hogwarts. He gets sorted into Slytherin, and makes friends with Scorpius Malfoy (to basically no one in the fandom’s surprise, we’ve been shipping their brotp and relationship since the dawn of time). He’s having trouble living up to the expectation of being a Potter and the fact that people are all weirded out by him being in Slytherin. Meanwhile, Harry’s having trouble connecting with his son for those reasons.
Just within that paragraph, looking back, there were so many inconsistencies within the book. Albus is trying to live up to his last name, and the book makes it sound as though there’s lots of pressure from specific people about that. But it’s never shown…? It’s literally just Albus going off about how he feels as though he doesn’t live up to the Potter name, but no one’s even saying that. Like, they talk about how it’s weird that he’s in Slytherin, but no one really goes, OMG, YOU’RE A POTTER, YOU SHOULD BE IN GRYFFINDOR AND DOING INSANE STUFF THAT SAVES THE WORLD BLAH BLAH BLAH.
A friend of mine on Instagram and Tumblr also pointed this out- there is so much underage magic! And nothing happens because of it! Nothing! We’ve seen in the original Harry Potters that the Ministry of Magic knows exactly when underage magic out of school happens and also, probably, where. But it was never mentioned or talked about, and they never used that to their advantage. Yet another inconsistency was the villian, and Harry’s dreams. Harry kept having these dreams of his childhood with just Voldemort’s voice at the end. But Voldemort wasn’t even the villian! He was dead! Sure, he was mentioned, but he only really showed up at the very end, for a total of three pages at most. So why was it made out like he was actually returning and was supposed to be major because of those dreams? There was also a rumor- I will tell you it, as it was in the first several pages, but if you don’t want to see it, skip to the next part- that Scorpius’ real father was Voldemort and that Astoria had time traveled back in time to allow it to happen? Like? For one, it sounds completely stupid, and secondly, weren’t all the time turners destroyed? Wasn’t that public knowledge? Why would that even be a rumor? And thirdly, there was no real point to that rumor in the entirety of the book. They made it seem like it would be a really important plot point (more like a really lame one), but nothing ever happened to resolve it or flesh it out more. There were just so many little inconsistencies and stuff that just seemed pointless and, just, ugh.
Now we can get cracking on the characters, yay.
So many of the characters were completely out of character. There’s one line that Harry says (that may have completely spread around the internet at this point but I won’t spoil) that is so extremely out of character that it’s sad. If you’ve read the book, you know what line I’m referring to. It’s something that could never, in any way possible, be justified as actually being something that Harry would say. Along with that, I feel as though Harry’s character didn’t feel anything like Harry from the original books. I understand that maybe Harry would have trouble being a parent, that’s not what bugged me, it’s just that the voice sounded completely different and as though they were two different people. In fact, it was like that for Ron, too. In the books, Ron is generally the funny one, but he’s also an immensely great friend, smart person, and all around awesome dude- but in the screenplay he was entirely comedy. That became the only aspect of his character, but there was so much more to him then that. There were also other character weirdnesses, and I will just say this, because it would be a major spoiler to explain: Hermione Jean Granger would never completely invalidate herself and become a horrible person because a boy didn’t reciprocate her feelings. Hello? (Also, thank you, same tumblr and insta friend, for pointing this out as well! You are great.)
And there were some stuff that Albus and Scorpius did that was completely stupid, and it’s supposed to be completely stupid, but both of the characters, in every other part of the book, have proven that they’re very smart and have a good head, but they weren’t supposed to realize at all the severity of something that is so very obviously going to have stupidly sever consequences? That just didn’t make sense.
The villian, also- so you know all those terribly bad fanfiction tropes where it’s like a next-gen or “so-and-so must fight the blankity-blank’s newest threat” thing where the villian, especially based on parents, is completely and utterly laughable because there is no way that it would ever happen in canon, and is just completely silly? Um. Well. Hah, that was the Cursed Child villian. It was just so, so awful. I was alternating between mentally laughing in disbelief and cringing a lot.
All in all, Cursed Child was just not at all my favorite. It had so many plot holes and inconsistencies, not great continued characterization, and was just an awful continuation of the Wizarding World- but hopefully Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them will redeem our love in November. (Speaking of which- THOSE TRAILERS. I SQUEAL. IT LOOKS SO SO SO GREAT AND LOVELY AND SO FULL OF MAGIC pun not intended!)
rating: 1.5/5 stars 😦
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.
Have you read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? What did you think? Are you an avid Harry Potter fan? ARE YOU INSANELY EXCITED FOR FANTASTIC BEASTS LIKE ME?