Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

The truth is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.

With that lovely quote, I will begin by merely saying that I did not like this book. If you loved it, I’m a little hesitant on whether or not you should continue reading this review/rant, but I shall leave that up to you. I will be explaining exactly why certain things did not work for me, and it will probably come out harshly. So, you have been warned.

{Story time: I actually had an encounter with someone at a shoe store. The lady behind the counter commented on my HP tank top. She said, “Have you heard that a new book was released?”

It’s terrible. Stay away from it.” I still can’t believe that I had the knee-jerk reaction to say that.}

There will be spoilers for the original series.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child follows the events of the final book in the series Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It is Albus Severus Potter’s first year at Hogwarts, and being the son of the most famous wizard of all time is not easy. He has to struggle with expectations and family dynamics, but he gradually gets twisted up in a dark, dangerous game of trying to change everything.

I’m going to structure this review a little differently than how I normally write my reviews. Generally, I am able to put my thoughts into neat, concise paragraphs to describe how I am feeling towards a book, and with this one, I just do not think that I am capable of seeing past that rage to put it together nicely. I’m going to mention a few semi-positive things before I simply list out the flaws that I see in the play.

First and foremost, I do not consider Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to be a part of the original canon of the series. It doesn’t fit, and it doesn’t work. You will not change my mind on this. I have firmly separated the two works in my mind. This reads like terrible fanfiction, and I’m absolutely stunned that J.K. Rowling put her stamp of approval on this.

harry-we-have-to-go-back-to-before-cursed-child-existed-3189850

Secondly, I know that many people were disappointed about the fact that the book was going to be released in play form instead of a legitimate book. The format of the novel did not bother me; I actually quite enjoyed the way it was told. I do think that the actual play on stage would be better than simply reading the script because the characters would be brought to life more and you would be enveloped in the setting. In my head though, I was taking aspects of the setting and just putting the characters in there. It’s all about the mental image, folks. (My roommate actually got the opportunity to see the play in London, and she said that while the setting and special effects were great, it did not detract from the plot holes that were present. So, there you have it.)

How to distract Scorpius from difficult emotional issues. Take him to a library.

We all know that I love Harry Potter. If I wasn’t a fan of the series, then I would not have read the book, but Scorpius was one of the few characters that I liked. He was the only one that felt like he had a complete story arc and characterization. Technically, I also enjoyed Draco’s presence in the play—most of the time—but I don’t know if that has so much to do with the play itself, or the fact that it was incredibly interesting to see how far he has come as a character given the rest of the series.

The rest of the characters are mere caricatures of who they used to be, and none of them make a lot of sense. I will get into spoilers soon to explain myself. For now, I will merely say that they weren’t normal. More than that, nothing about this book was normal, and yes, I know it’s fantasy. But fantasy still needs to make sense within the realms of the world that has been created. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child did not, which was my main problem with this book.

THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD FOR HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD.

THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD FOR HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD.

THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD FOR HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD.

So, I shall start my in depth list of my issues with this play here:

  • Albus Severus Potter is an asshole. He doesn’t have any legitimate reasons to act out the way he does. He is the son of a famous wizard. There are so many things that could be worse than that.
  • No one appreciates the efforts of the people at the Battle of Hogwarts. Everyone just kind of glazes over it and pretends that it isn’t a big deal.
  • Harry Potter is a terrible father. From his characterization in the other books, I just don’t think that he would be an oblivious father. Would he make mistakes? Sure, but he wouldn’t be downright awful.
  • Ron was a bumbling imbecile. He was only there for comic relief. That’s not his personality. Why would he give a love potion to a child when he had a near-death experience from one?
  • The relationships between the married couples didn’t feel realistic. These people have had sex, and yet, they speak to each other with quite cold terminology. I don’t think the word “love” was used once for the romantic relationships.
  • Why in the world did Albus feel the urge to go back in time to try to save Cedric? There were SO MANY PEOPLE that died throughout the series, and you’re telling me that he needed to save Edward Cullen. I feel like Fred would’ve made way more sense because they’re related, you know.
  • The trolley witch going off on the boys as they were leaving the train was too much. Somehow, she has sweets that blow up. (I heard someone describe her as the Green Goblin from Spiderman, and I can’t get that image out of my head.) Plus, she tells them that she has stopped everyone from ever escaping the train before including Sirius. Okay, so Sirius was living in a cruel home, and his happiest place was Hogwarts. He wouldn’t want to jeopardize going to school.
  • They use polyjuice potion to break into the Ministry for Magic. Do they wait a month for it to brew? Or does Delphi just possess the potion all the time? If they’re in the nth year of their schooling, why do they not know how difficult that potion is to make? If they did know it was difficult to make, wouldn’t they be suspicious of Delphi? Besides all of those points, they haven’t been around the people they impersonated in order to even get the hair to complete the potion.
  • Harry, Ron, and Hermione broke into the Ministry of Magic when they were kids, and you’re trying to tell me that security has not been tightened at all since then, even though Hermione herself is the Minister for Magic?
  • Also, Hermione—arguably, the brightest witch ever—hid the only known Time Turner in a bookcase. Even though her trio broke a much trickier sequence of tests in the first book when they were 11. Okay, sure.
  • Why would Albus—while impersonating Ron—even think of kissing Hermione? Why is kissing your aunt even a feasible solution to that situation?
  • Having the Time Turner only work for five minutes is quite convenient. Not to mention that Draco having the only other working Time Turner in existence is also quite convenient.
  • In the alternate reality, Hermione is a dreary, mean schoolteacher. You’re telling me that if Ron and Hermione didn’t end up together, her only option was to become bitter instead of better her life. That’s not the Hermione I know.
  • Of course, when the first turn through time didn’t work, the only option is to try again. That makes complete sense. *sarcasm*
  • During the play, I felt like the playwright was just checking characters off a list when they appeared. Ginny, Harry, Hermione, Ron, the kids, Snape, Dumbledore, Cedric, Neville, Draco, Bellatrix, Molly Weasley, Minerva, Bane. Check. It felt like a cast reunion. So, this entire time, Ron didn’t talk to the rest of his family. Where is George? Luna? Lupin’s kid?
  • Delphi being the daughter of Voldemort and Bellatrix is absolutely ludicrous for multiple reasons. I cannot imagine Voldemort being sexually involved with anyone first of all. He seemed so single-mindedly focused on power and evil that I don’t think he would’ve taken the time to get distracted by mortal desires. Why would he put himself in the position to be so vulnerable in front of one of his followers? So, say they had sex. Why would he want/be okay with having an heir that would one day challenge his power? Even if they had sex and conceived a child, I don’t think Voldemort would’ve allowed the child to survive. And if he wanted a child, Bellatrix was staying at the Malfoy Manor during Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which Hermione and Draco were also at. They would have noticed if Bellatrix was heavily pregnant or a screaming baby was present.
  • How did Albus and Scorpius get the baby blanket to write a message on it for Harry? They would have to steal baby Harry, take the blanket off of him, write the message, and rewrap the baby all while not getting caught by James and Lily Potter. There is just no possible way for them to do this without being noticed by his parents.
  • There was no reason for Harry’s scar to be hurting again. The horcrux inside him was dead. Voldemort was dead. It doesn’t make sense.
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