“DUMBLEDORE: You ask me, of all people, how to protect a boy in terrible danger? We cannot protect the young from harm. Pain must and will come.
HARRY: So I’m supposed to stand and watch?
DUMBLEDORE: No. You’re supposed to teach him how to meet life.”
“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” Review
This post may contain spoilers.
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling is one of the most beloved book franchises in the world. Spawning movies, video games, entire theme parks from the books, Harry Potter has almost a cult following. When word got out that there was going to be a play that took place after the epilogue of the final book, people went crazy. Created by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne with a bit of help from J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was born.
Considering I wasn’t able to hop on a plane and get to London for the two-part play, I was definitely excited to hear that the script would be published. Although it wouldn’t have been the same as seeing the magic performed on the stage, I was sure my imagination could fill in the blanks.
Being a script, this book was a quick read. It took me a little under three hours to get through it all. It was a delight to see Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Draco again, to see them grown even if they were still struggling from the war that had snatched away their childhoods two decades beforehand. They all had children themselves, all growing up with the pressure that came with famous parents.
The story of the play itself revolves much around time and what-ifs. What if Cedric Diggory had lived after the Triwizard Tournament? What if Hermione and Ron had never gotten married? What if Voldemort had won all those years ago? Harry’s youngest son Albus and Draco’s son Scorpius explore these possibilities when they dare to meddle with time, to try to right a wrong, to try to figure out themselves in a world that only sees them as the sons of Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy.
While I enjoyed this very much, it seems to have been given mixed reviews over on Goodreads. Quite a few reviews complain about the lack of character development, the lack of description and stage directions, how it reminds them of fanfiction instead of an actual eighth story.
But that’s the point of this entire script.
It is a fanfiction, it’s a what-if telling of the future of some of the most beloved literary characters in the world. It’s a play, not a novel, and it shouldn’t be reviewed as such. Plays are meant to be watched, to see unfolded on a stage, allowing the audience members to come to their own conclusions about the characters through their actions and interactions with each other. There is no narration to allow us to get into a character’s head — you must deduce that yourself from his words, from her actions what their thoughts are.
It’s unfair to compare the play to the saga when the play aims to take you to a new world. A familiar world, yes, but a new world just the same.
With all that said, I would have loved this as a novel much like those who left disgruntled reviews stating the same, but I can understand that the writers wished to invite Harry Potter fans from all over the world to see their play. If not in person on the London stage, then in their imaginations with the help of the script. If only there were a few more parts after Part One and Part Two…
If you enjoy the Harry Potter series and keep in mind that this is a script rather than an attempt at the eighth novel, then I believe you’ll enjoy Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
“Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” gets a 4 out of 5 stars.