Book Review · Play

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Once upon a time there was a cultural phenomenon named Harry Potter. I grew up with him and anticipated reading all of his adventures. I’ll never be a wizard, cast spells, and play a ridiculous game called Quidditch (you know it is!), but for a moment when I read those books I believed.

Many my age (and younger) try desperately to keep this feeling alive in their hearts. I love the movies and going to the theme park, but I know that I can’t go back. For years I’ve just held on to the magic of those first moments and look back with happiness.

With that being said, I can understand the initial skepticism of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Though the idea comes from J.K. Rowling, the script (Cursed Child is a play) wasn’t written by her. My fear was that it would be a cheap cash grab and look nothing like the original series.

All my doubts vanished within the first forty pages.

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Before I get into the review I need to have a small discussion with some of my Harry Potter fans out there.

Whether you want to read a book or not is 100% up to you, and you shouldn’t feel guilt either way. But some fans… need to calm down.

Over and over on social media I keep hearing, “It’s a PLAY, it’s meant to be SEEN! What blasphemy is this I would READ a play?!?!” By that logic I should go get my copies of Shakespeare, Miller, and Ibsen, and throw them out the window.

(Sorry, my sassy side was coming out.)

Yes, you get a different experience actually watching a play, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no value in reading a play, it’s just different. If you wish to wait to see The Cursed Child live then go for it, but realize it’s perfectly OK to read a play.

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Also, from what I’ve gathered online, some uber Harry Potter fans looked upon this play like the Second Coming of Christ, and then were surprised when their expectations weren’t met and they became bitter.

On the same side of coin, you have those who entered already jaded because ‘Rowling didn’t write it’, and who concentrated more on looking for flaws than following the story, and then predictably became butthurt because they found them (or think they did).

I was actually surprised by some (most) of the backlash. If you don’t like the play that’s fine, but I think some are going overboard when they call it ‘bad fan-fic’ or the ‘THE WORST THING EVER’.

No… it’s not. It really isn’t. There’s so much worse out there. Oh, and it also didn’t “ruin your childhood.” *Eye Roll*

You can have your opinions, but a warning: This play is neither the best nor the worst, and if you go in with those expectations then you will be disappointed. Which is a shame, because I think a lot of people robbed themselves of truly experiencing the moving story in this play.

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I went into Cursed Child just hoping that I could spend a little more time with the characters I grew up with, and they are all there, but I was surprised that it was the two new characters, Albus and Scorpius, that I really wanted more from.hp3

Cursed Child starts with Albus Potter’s departure to his first year at Hogwarts (an expansion of the final scene from Deathly Hallows Part 2). Right off we can sense the heavy burden that Harry’s legacy has placed on his middle child. The fear Albus has of being different is solidified when he is sorted into Slytherin.  

As Albus’ relationship with his father is unraveling, he finds solace with an unlikely friend: Scorpius Malfoy, Draco’s son.

And these relationships are where the play shines. The interactions between Harry and Albus broke my heart. Maybe it’s because I’m a parent, but the journey Harry goes through to find a thread of connection to his son really got to me.

Scorpius was a joy and I couldn’t get enough of him. Scorpius also has a father that doesn’t understand him, and a sour legacy that haunts him. He is the perfect partner for Albus as they go on their journey.

Their time-travel journey that is! Yes!

I’ve heard some complaints about the time-traveling in the play, but I thought it was a lot of fun, and I usually don’t like time-travel plots outside of Doctor Who.

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There are some flaws and inconsistencies (I mean, there’s time-travel), but really there are only two major hiccups in my opinion, or at least these two bothered me the most.

The first: Poor Ron. I don’t think anyone knew what to do with him. Other than a few funny lines and a couple of sweet moments, he came off as not needed. All the information he gives to the audience could have easily been given by another character, and he was… a buffoon. Seems like he just hung around his wife’s work and talked at inappropriate moments.

The worst offender was the villain, who was mainly absent until the last act. This arrival of a late antagonist wasn’t needed, as the drama until now came from the father-son relationships. The villain had their own family drama that could have easily been tied into the theme, but instead just became the ‘big bad’, which felt like a bit of a cop-out.

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Despite the flaws, I really enjoyed Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I devoured the whole play in hours (nom nom nom nom) and I had a hard time putting it down. My experience was very similar to Ready Player One (which I read earlier this year). Not perfect by any means, but it gave me so much joy that I just didn’t sweat the details.

If you want to sweat those details and be ‘the better fan’, by all means do so. I’ll be over here waiting for news on when The Cursed Child will makes its way to the states.

Score: 7.5/10

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In The Margins:

  • For those of you who complained about the lack of Rose, keep trucking along. She was so damn annoying and I didn’t miss her for a second. Talk about letting the fame go to your head.
  • Forgot to mention, some amazing cameos!
  • I get some of the fan-fic remarks, but I think it was blown out of proportion.
  • Along with crediting Rowling for her idea, we must also praise Jack Throne for writing the play. I’m glad some else wrote the play, which is different from writing prose.
  • Seriously though, when is this play coming to the US and how broke will I be after purchasing tickets?
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8 thoughts on “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

  1. I will admit, I had a friend a year ago who was one of the ones who said “Cursed Child” was a bad fanfic and that perturbed me from reading it. After reading your review, however, I may now actually consider reading it. I picked up Order of the Phoenix for the third or fourth time the other day, and it’s giving me nostalgic feels, so maybe a new HP book is what I need. By the way, you can actually play Quidditch (me and college buddies participated in a tournament) and it’s a blast (even though it lacks actual magic)!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Looking back, while I agree that there’s some strong flaws, I did find value in the play, especially with the three main leads and their relationships. To me, the biggest ‘fanfic’ element is that they tried to cram in too much of the past into the story, and some characters got left with little (poor Ron!).
      I really like Harry Potter, but I’m not an uber fan, so that might be why I didn’t hate it. *shrugs*
      I’ve seen Quidditch! Very interesting to watch live!

      Like

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