There are some spoilers here. I waited a few days to post this so more people could read the book first, but I couldn’t wait any longer!
Here I am, another Potterhead adding her humble Cursed Child review to the many that already exist on the interwebs. The people of Twitter have spoken and said they wouldn’t mind a post by me on the subject and I really welcomed the opportunity to write about Harry Potter, a subject that I haven’t really touched on much.
I love Harry Potter. I do. Those books made a mark on me, and every time I read them I’m inspired to write more myself. I never was the hardcore fan. No midnight premiers, no knowledge of every spell ever, no strong I-will-fight-you-over-Snape attitude. But I was in a Harry Potter club in high school, I do play Quidditch now in University, I have been to Universal Studios and I’ve of course seen Starkid’s Potter musicals. And as of July 3oth, I have attended a book release. My best friend and I attended the local mall’s release party, and though it wasn’t the greatest event, I got to nerd out and get my hands on a copy of a book I was psyched to read. Well, fairly psyched. Because The Cursed Child is the script of a play, spoilers were already online. I avoided them, but my friend didn’t and she carefully warned me that she read some disappointing things.
Either way, I spent four straight hours on July 31st tearing through the book and I am pleased to say: I really liked it. Because of my friend I expected worse, but I was surprised at how great it was. Really.
First of all, I loved just going back to that world. I quoted Starkid in my title when I said, “man, I’m glad I’m back,” because I really was so thrilled to read more about these characters. I mean, I love the magical world, but I really adore the characters. I basically grew up with them! So to read this, something that is considered canon, was amazing. I only teared up a few times!
I didn’t even mind that the story was in script form. I prefer regular novel format, but once I got into the story, I didn’t even notice. I’m also glad I read the script before I saw the play. Not that I have an opportunity to see the play, but if a bootleg comes along, I won’t pass it up! But because I read it, I was able to picture the cast my way in my head instead of having to adjust to a whole new cast.
As for the plot, I have to say, I enjoyed it. I have a love/hate relationship with time travel, and while I don’t think this story flawlessly executed it, it was very interesting. I think the Time Turner was a really underused magical item and the theme of time was really unexplored in the books, so to see this in the new story was really neat. I did think that having Cedric Diggory as the one to bring back was kind of dumb, but it made sense plot-wise. I also liked that the story featured the kids. I wish the other kids had a larger role too (and where was Teddy Lupin?) but it still worked well. Just to know they’re all still there and alive is great, really. And the old characters still had a great and large role, so I was satisfied.
So why were some people unhappy with it? One criticism that my friend said she read was that Harry was portrayed as a bad father. And I have to defend that. I mean, first of all, Harry never really had a father figure, so he can’t even emulate from that. This point was even blatantly addressed! Secondly, he wasn’t doing anything wrong, he just wasn’t doing anything really perfect. Like any parent of a teen, it’s hard. Albus was not only a somewhat angsty teen, but he’s also the middle child, and the son of a celebrity. There’s a lot going on and it just didn’t mix well with Harry’s parently style. Harry was seriously trying his best as a father. He really just wants his family safe and happy, like any other normal parent.
Another criticism that I kind of agreed with was that the famous last line “all was well” clearly was a lie. I guess that as a fan, I just want confirmation that my beloved characters are really okay, and to now find out that there was this big event again makes me feel like I was kind of lied to. I guess it could have been worse, no one important died or anything and there was a happy ending, but still. Is all well now? Will we ever know?
And lastly, people were upset that Voldemort had a child. And while I was kind of surprised, I wasn’t mad. Here’s why that made perfect sense: First of all, Bellatrix was pretty much all over Voldemort, so I can totally see her being open to bearing his child. And two, since this conception happened before the Battle Of Hogwarts, I can see it as Voldemort’s back up plan. He knew he was getting weaker from the destroyed horcruxes, so he probably at least considered failure as a possibility, so this child was probably seen as his very last chance to do his evil bidding.
But enough about criticisms, let’s talk more about what I liked. Before, I never really cared much for Draco Malfoy, but I really enjoyed his role in this story. The parallels between him and Harry were amazing, and how their interactions tied to and mirrored the interactions of Albus and Scorpius was really impressive and cool to read. I also liked how the relationships between Harry/Ginny and Ron/Hermione developed. They weren’t really too developed in the books, especially due to the 19 year gap, so it was special to see those bonds grow, as well as the bond of the Golden Trio. It was 22 years later and somehow so much had changed as well as nothing at all. I dug that. Hard.
Under all the magic, the morals that Harry Potter has is really important. Love and friendship and life are all valued and respected and it’s great to know that those qualities that everyone loves about the story are still going strong. Stronger, even, I’d say, as Harry learned a big lesson in judgement and trusting gossip. It’s these timeless things that make this beautiful series perfect and adored by all ages and genders. Yes, we all want a letter to Hogwarts but even more I think we all want friendships as strong as Harry, Ron and Hermione’s. I love reading blog posts by adults reading the series for the first time, especially if they grew up in places where the books were banned, because these people are learning that these books are just a crazy story about magic featuring morals that inspire.
All in all, I didn’t know what I was expecting but seriously, all Potter fans will love The Cursed Child. It’s got all the elements to love: humor, romance, magic, suspense, friendship, family, and all within a fairly airtight plot. The new characters were cool, the old characters were amazing, the plot was super and it has that same Harry Potter feel! I can’t imagine that anyone is on the fence about reading this, but if you are and liked any aspect of Harry Potter then you will like this! If I didn’t already have two other books to read, I’d probably be rereading it.
I’m so glad I got to go back to my childhood. I’m so glad this new story was great. I’m so glad that JK Rowling has blessed us with more Potter goodness.
What are your thoughts on The Cursed Child? I’m in dire need to discuss the book with people so comment with your opinions!