Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
by J.K Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne
Warning: This review contains major spoilers!
Warning: This review contains major spoilers! Don’t read this if you haven’t read the Harry Potter series and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child yet!
If you loved Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I wouldn’t recommend reading my review. This is going to be a rant! You’ve been warned!
This is the very first time I have rated a book one stars! Believe me, I don’t want to do this, but I really didn’t enjoy reading Cursed Child. Before I get started, I want you to know the following:
- A couple of weeks ago, I read some spoilers from people who had watched the play. Those immediately lowered my expectations. I knew going into this I wasn’t going to like it.
- I knew this was not written by J.K. Rowling.
- I knew this wasn’t the eight book, but the script for the play.
I love the Harry Potter series so much. And I always will. It means a lot to me and when I heard about this, I immediately pre-ordered it. I’ve seen some people say ‘it’s Harry Potter so obviously I love this’, but I can’t say the same. Call me critical but I spent money on this. People spend money on tickets to go see the play. I expect something decent in return then.
To call this fanfiction is an insult to all the people who try to bring more joy to a fandom. The Cursed Child was just plain bad writing. I will get into detail later, but I refuse to accept what happened as canon. I don’t care what J.K. Rowling says. This is a disgrace to the characters and the people who loved the original book series. You might think that I’m taking this too seriously, but they shouldn’t ask money for this if it were ‘just for fun’. This is literally being promoted as ‘the eight book’ in the Harry Potter series. I knew before I started it that it wasn’t, but the marketing team pretends it is:
So no, I won’t apologise for being critical. Just because this isn’t a book, but a play, doesn’t mean that the story shouldn’t be as good. In fact, that is such an insult to plays! It’s just another form of media. I’ve seen some people say: “You can’t judge this if you haven’t seen the play”. Well, if that’s the case, they shouldn’t have published it as a book. I can’t afford going to London and paying a lot of money in order for some people to validate my opinion.
Let’s start of with the things I did like:
This felt as if I was reading a book. It didn’t take time to adjust to the format. I’m also curious to see what everything is going to look like in the actual play. But, since I really don’t like the actual story and what they did to the characters, I’m not sure yet whether I’d be willing to pay money for that.
Out of all the characters, Hermione was the only one who still resembled who she used to be. I’m proud that she has become Minister for Magic! I also really liked Minerva! And Draco proved he was a good parent (much better than Harry…).
I enjoyed the interactions between Albus and Scorpius! They’re such good ‘friends’ (A.K.A. boyfriends).
That was it. Those were the only thing I like. My list of dislikes is much longer! I had six full pages of notes. When I read a book that’s over a thousand pages long, I don’t even have that many notes! Let’s get started:
The plot is basically 90% about trying to bring back Cedric Diggory. I don’t understand why Albus is so obsessed with Cedric. So many people died for Harry, why does it have to be Cedric? Obviously because Amos asked, but to have almost the entire plot of this play resolve around that…
I’d rather read every single second of a class taught at Hogwarts! Because this wasn’t magical enough. Sure, it features the characters we know and love and Hogwarts, but we rarely get to see actual magic. When Albus, Delphi and Scorpius are searching for the Time Turner in Hermione’s office, they don’t even try ‘accio’! Instead, they search the entire bookcase! Whenever we do get some magic, it isn’t explained enough. Why couldn’t Delphi use ‘imperio’ on Albus? She said: “to fulfil the prophecy […] Imperio just won’t do”. Why not? Or when Harry transfigured into Voldemort… Is that even possible? Why would wizards go through the trouble of brewing polyjuice potion then? All of this is just very convenient, but didn’t make enough sense.
One of the things that bothered me most, was Ron Weasley’s characterisation. He has become a caricature of the person he used to be. The only reason he’s there, is for comic relief. All he does is eat and make stupid jokes. They act as if he’s so dumb and doesn’t take anything serious. Did Thorne actually read the original series before he wrote this? Because this is not the Ron I know! I refuse to believe that he was so drunk at his own wedding he doesn’t remember anything. And why would Ron give someone love potion? He had a terrible experience with it when he was a teenager, why in the world would he do that? It doesn’t make any sense!
Another character who was completely butchered was Cedric Diggory. In the alternate universe where he lost the Triwizard Tournament, he becomes a death-eater and kills Neville. Cedric was one of the kindest characters. It’s absurd to assume that he would become a racist murderer just because he got humiliated!
Scorpius said: “Cedric was a different person entirely – dark, dangerous”. We only found out that he killed Neville, but Scorpius didn’t interact with him. I don’t understand where this observation comes from. And I had that feeling quite a few times while reading this; as if I had skipped a couple of pages without realising it.
Harry Potter is a terrible father. I didn’t like him once in this ‘book’. Granted, Albus is a whiny teenager: he has no idea how privileged he is. Don’t tell me he doesn’t get special treatment because he’s a Potter. A lot of people have it worse than him. Still, Harry had no right to say the things he did. And his excuse? He didn’t have a father figure growing up. He had plenty! What about Arthur, Sirius, Remus, Hagrid and even Dumbledore, Harry?! Harry had no right to attack Minerva either. Just because a woman doesn’t have children, doesn’t mean she isn’t able to take care of them. She’d be a much better parent than he ever was.
And when did he become a psychic? His scar hurts, he actually hears Voldemort’s voice and can speak Parseltongue again, but Delphi hadn’t even saved Voldemort yet (actually, she never does). How is he able to do that if nothing has changed? Voldemort wasn’t back, yet he acted as if he was? Once again, I just don’t understand…
Also, what is up with Lily’s blanket? I don’t remember him ever talking about it in the books, yet now Harry pretends as if it’s his most precious possession in the entire world. I know he didn’t possess it in the other books, but it’s still strange that he’s so obsessed with it now.
Oh, and the special privileges? Harry is at Hogwarts all the damn time! I don’t remember parents being allowed there. I guess being a Potter does mean you’re allowed to do more than others.
A lot of people hate Severus Snape and don’t see him as a brave person. While I don’t feel as strongly about that as them, I completely understand why they feel that was. He was horrible to his pupils, particularly Hermione, Harry and Neville. But, in the alternative universe, Hermione and Ron secretly work together with him. He used to be so mean to them, it seems highly unlikely to me they would forgive him! Just because he didn’t turn out to be a death-eater, doesn’t mean it justifies his behaviour. Snape’s interactions with Scorpius were so cringe-worthy. He isn’t a nice guy who makes one or two jokes and he’d never talk that openly about Lily.
Because so many characters felt differently, I didn’t care about them anymore. When Hermione and Ron sacrificed themselves and received the dementor’s kiss, I felt nothing. On the one hand, I’m sad we didn’t get to see Sirius, Remus, Tonks an Teddy. But on the other hand, I’m very glad, since their characters would have been butchered as well!
This book almost pretends as if the other Potter and Granger-Weasley kids don’t exist. Ever heard of Hugo???
The timeline is so strange. Page 22 and a year has past. Page 27 and they’re already starting their third year at Hogwarts. Seven pages later, another year has past! Surely, they could have given us a glimpse at their lives at Hogwarts without having to do it like this. Later on, Scorpius and Albus are in Scotland, without any brooms or wands. Yet the very next page, they’re already in Godric’s Hollow! How is that even possible? Again, this is not explained.
And how did Albus and Scorpius know every single detail from what went down over twenty years ago at the Triwizard Tournament and Battle of Hogwarts? Did their parents tell them literally everything? Were very detailed books written? I need to know this!
In the alternate universe, they kept mentioning an ‘Augurey’ and I had no idea what it meant. It’s only explained many scenes later. I cannot stress enough how underdeveloped some plots were. Sometimes, I had no idea what was going on because things weren’t explained well enough. And that causes plot holes.
I’m so thankful they didn’t use the Time Turner often in the Harry Potter series. I can already imagine how how things would have ended otherwise: Harry would have gone back in time and kill Voldemort and save James and Lily. Whenever a universe has the ability to time travel, that’s the kind of things that happen. It’s predictable. Yet that’s exactly what Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is about. They go back in time over FOUR TIMES just to go back to how things were at the beginning of the play. It’s such a waste of time. I can think of so many plots that would have been more interesting. Imagine there’s ever going to be a F.R.I.E.N.D.S movie and it turns out Monica has left Chandler and never wants to see her children again. That wouldn’t make any sense at all. But that is how Cursed Child feels like to me.
Prisoner of Azkaban is one of my favourite books an films, so I obviously have no problems with time travelling. But this was just too much.
As I’ve mentioned before, I really missed the magic. And of course the characters, because Cursed Child completely butchered them. Think of how much better this would be if it was about one school year at Hogwarts, without Voldemort trying to kill everyone. Just one year of the adventures Scorpius and Albus encounter. There didn’t need to be this much family drama. Honestly, I’m pretty sure this was the script of a Days of Our Lives or The Bold and the Beautiful episode instead! Just think how they could have explored the other houses, besides Gryffindor! But no, in Cursed Child, everyone is still prejudiced towards Slytherins and they pretend Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff don’t even exist!
This is only about three hundred pages long, yet it was so repetitive. Scorpius and Albus do something stupid; Draco, Harry and Ginny run after them and need Hermione because “their children are missing!” AGAIN!
I also had some problems with the writing itself.
Voldemort Day? ‘Oh Potter’ instead of ‘Oh Shit’? Mudbloods in the dungeons? The Blood Ball? WE GET IT, VOLDEMORT IS BACK!
“A Malfoy who may be a Voldemort” Euhm, that’s just awful writing. ‘Voldemort’ isn’t a last name; it’s not as if ‘Lord’ was his first name. It should have been ‘Riddle’ instead.
‘Thank Dumbledore’ instead of ‘Thank God’ is not only cheesy, it is also incredibly arrogant. I’m not the most religious person but to say that Dumbledore is a God…
It’s so sexist that at the Triwizard Tournament, every school got a lot of cheers besides Beauxbatons! I know boys also attend it, but it’s still more ‘feminine’ than Durmstrang or Hogwarts.
Almost everyone who has read this, can’t deny there is something going on between Albus and Scorpius. They are so gay! But of course, this book is heteronormative to the max! I can already hear J.K. Rowling in a couple of years: “Actually, they were dating, but it wasn’t important to the story”. Please don’t give this woman any praise when it comes to diversity, she doesn’t deserve it. The Cursed Child could have meant a great deal more if they weren’t so afraid to include characters who aren’t straight for a change. And don’t even get me started on Albus’ crush on Delphi. He’s like fourteen and she was twenty? That’s disgusting.
Which brings me to Delphi, the daughter of Voldemort and Bellatrix. Do you really expect me to believe that Voldemort was capable of love and lust? Why do they feel the need to establish that every character is ‘oh so straight’?! Supposedly, Bellatrix gave birth to Delphi before the Battle of Hogwarts in Malfoy Manor. WHAT?! In Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows, we actually see her there! Don’t you think anyone would have noticed? DRACO ACTUALLY LIVED THERE! How oblivious is he supposed to be then? This doesn’t make any sense!
I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. There were so many things that bothered me and I don’t ever want to read this again. I regret paying this much money for it. I refuse to accept this as canon. I will pretend this doesn’t exist.