Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child | Acceptable but Not All I Hoped For

Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child | Acceptable but Not All I Hoped ForHarry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany, Jack Thorne, J.K. Rowling
Published by Little Brown UK on July 31st, 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 330
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three-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.

Oh my, what to say about this one? It’s been a day or so since I finished Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. In that time, I have read many an article about it to help myself sort through my feelings about it. I wanted to love the script but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t.

This isn’t particularly new for me though, I didn’t love The Chamber of Secrets and The Goblet of Fire wasn’t a favorite from the series either. With that said, The Cursed Child had a lot to live up to, especially since it was provided via a different medium than we’re accustomed to, so I’m not surprised that it fell flat for some.

I shall attempt to give my thoughts on the script without spoilers.

The Pros

  • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child stayed true to the themes of the seven-book series. It is very much a story about love, but it also touched on other topics that the novels didn’t. It addressed some of the trauma that Harry’s childhood with the Dursleys left him with. More than anything though, it was very much a story of Harry and Albus coming to terms with each other, Harry’s past, and the legacy he has left his children – particularly Albus Severus Potter.
  • Slytherin house wasn’t painted as immediately evil but some of its signature traits were kept intact. I actually really appreciate this not because I’ve always liked Slytherin house, but because it seemed almost a way to pay homage to Snape’s sacrifice.
  • I had no problem being sucked into the story. It was very easy to just read line after line of dialogue while I tried to figure out where the story was going.
  • They made a joke about Voldemort’s nose (or lack thereof) and it was great. I laughed right out loud when I saw it in there. It felt so appropriate though considering the characters in the scene.
  • Draco Malfoy became easier to sympathize with. Through his conversations with Harry, more about his character and childhood is revealed. This helped me appreciate his own tragic story more fully.
  • It sounds like this could merely be a way to introduce new characters, which means that perhaps we will get more stories set in the wizarding world that go beyond Harry Potter. If that’s the case, then sign me up.

The Cons

  • Because this is a script and not a novel, some points of the plot felt a bit funny. I don’t think any of them would have been an issue though if they’d had a novel’s worth of information and build up behind them. I feel like the biggest twist of the entire script would have been easier to accept as well if Rowling had decided to write a novel featuring it instead. With that said, the script worked as a script. I’m not sure I’d go to see the actual performance, but I’m pleased with what we have here.

 

Over all, I enjoyed Harry Potter and the Cursed Child but I didn’t love it. It’s worth a read but I’d definitely say to keep an open mind.

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