Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
Genres: Plays, Fantasy
“Those that we love never truly leave us, Harry. There are things that death cannot touch. Paint…and memory…and love.”
I got into Harry Potter when I was eleven. Most of my sixth-grade year is a blur, because all I remember about it is reading those books. I was engrossed. When I heard that The Cursed Child was coming out, though, I was…skeptical.
I’m not going to deny that a part of me was excited. Harry Potter was not my first favorite series, but it is undeniably what turned me into a gigantic nerd. (And I wouldn’t have it any other way.) But Harry Potter had reached its end nine years ago. When a series that was supposed to have ended gets a new book, it raises a red flag for me—even if it is a series that I love.
I probably would’ve procrastinated on reading it, if my brother hadn’t suddenly come home from work one day with it wrapped inside a Target shopping bag. And gave it to me.
Yes, I was excited. Yes, I squealed a little. Even though I was doubtful, I still, endlessly, love Harry Potter.
But I do not love The Cursed Child.
The story was fine. For the most part, it has everything to do with the format. Because it’s a play, it feels like something was cut out of it. It doesn’t feel like Harry Potter at all. Even the characters don’t feel like themselves—except Ron, bless Ron—and there’s no magic. None at all. That feeling I got when I was swept inside The Sorcerer’s Stone is not there. It could be because it’s a play, and the experience would be better if seen on stage. It could also be because this book was published nine years from the seventh one. But for whatever the reason, this does not feel like it should be a part of the Wizarding World.
Secondly, this script is so hard to read. The writer uses hyphens for pauses in conversation, and it’s really, really strange. I’ve read quite a few plays before—I have a lot of friends who are into theatre, and I’ve helped them practice their lines—and I’ve never seen it like this before. I flipped to a random page for an example, but the one I found is actually perfect:
ALBUS: I’m sorry—about your mum—I know we don’t talk about her enough—but I hope you know—I’m sorry—it’s rubbish—what happened to her—to you.
ALBUS: My dad said—said that you were this dark cloud around me. My dad started to think—and I just knew that I had to stay away, and if I didn’t, Dad said he would—
SCORPIUS: Your dad thinks the rumors are true—I am the son of Voldemort?
Plus, there are so many scenes, so we are constantly jumping around from place to place, never feeling settled, which not only makes the story harder to hold onto, but also makes it seem shorter—which is really not a good thing, considering it feels so thin already.
I love Albus and Scorpius quite a lot. Especially Scorpius. I think I like him even more than his father, which I didn’t think was possible—but it’s so hard not to love him.
SCORPIUS: Albus Severus Potter, get that strange look out of your eye.
ALBUS: First question. What do you know about the Triwizard Tournament?
SCORPIUS (happy) : Ooooh, a quiz! Three schools pick three champions to compete in three tasks for one Cup. What’s that got to do with anything?
ALBUS: You really are an enormous geek, you know that?
If I saw the play in person, I might have a different opinion, I don’t know. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the book everyone had blown it up to be.