**WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD**
DO NOT PASS GO & COLLECT $200 IF YOU HAVEN’T READ HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD YET!
This entire reading experience for me has been surreal. I feel as though I’m in a parallel universe because of this story. This carefully crafted, revolutionary addition to the Harry Potter series is not what I had ever imagined.
Like any other Potterhead, I had my own version of what would happen nineteen years later perfectly mapped out in my head. Through years of Disney-esque influence and my great appreciation for endings wrapped up with pretty little bows, it was a happily ever after for all parties involved.
Even Malfoy got the chance at true happiness in my version of the story because everyone deserves a second chance. (After all, it’s not his fault he was born into the Death Eater trade.)
However, this fantasy never factored in the burden of Harry’s legacy and the challenges it could bring about for his children. Specifically, Albus.
Readers were left at the end of the seventh book with the hint that Albus himself was worried about which house he would end up in. He was worried that being sorted into Slytherin would define him, and not for the better. This negative stereotype, which was once shattered by Snape and his unwavering love for Lily (and through that, Harry), is again destroyed throughout Albus’ journey.
It’s all about finding “light in the darkness” as the play so gracefully puts it—and Albus is this light. His bravery, cunning, determination, compassion, and charisma are unmatched and despite his placement in Slytherin, Albus demonstrates the key qualities of each and every Hogwarts house. Though not the same as his father’s venture, Albus’ journey incorporates a similar fight for what is good and just.
Speaking of the past, one of my favorite things about this play was the way that it involved so many beloved characters and plot points that sparked my original love for the series. The resurgence of the Triwizard Tournament, the Time-Turner, Dumbledore, Snape, Harry’s parents, and Cedric all within the same 308-page script brought about so many raw emotions and wonderful memories.
Not only did Cursed Child revive old sentiments, but there was such a refreshing and new tone used by Rowling, Tiffany, and Thorne to satisfy the audience. There were so many funny additions in this script to truly involve the Potter fandom.
How many Internet memes are flying around making puns about Voldemort’s nose (or lack thereof)? Who nose? (Haha, nose puns. Sorry, that stinks. Okay, it’s snot funny anymore.)
Anyway, in relation to this, when Rose and Albus first discuss the rumors of Scorpius being Voldy’s child, Rose jokes, “It’s probably rubbish. I mean . . . look, you’ve got a nose.” WHICH IS PERFECT. The comic relief throughout the entire book is quite lovely. I audibly laughed reading this, like I used to when anything would happen with Fred & George in the series.
Though I do have some complaints, which disappoints me because I wanted to love this book without question.
First, the format is really concerning. I understand that J.K. Rowling chose the play format because it suited the story best and I would no doubt love to see it in the future, however, I think that the publication of the script lacked the precision that was necessary. The cast on the West End, I’m sure, beautifully executes the plot and characters but I felt that the story and characters fell flat.
Certain character relationships, such as Harry and Albus’, didn’t develop in a way that made the rest of the story fathomable to the audience. The strain on their relationship deserved more attention and careful consideration prior to Albus’ defiance of Harry’s wishes.
I also feel that the character of Harry, overall, did not parallel the Harry I loved in the books. As an adult, Harry seems anxious and hotheaded, and lacks the charisma that he carried all throughout his years at Hogwarts. Cursed Child Harry seemed to not handle the challenges of parenting with the grace and charm I had hoped for. His stubbornness takes until the final act of the play to subside and then finally (FINALLY!) he and Albus make amends.
Also, a couple of minor complaints of mine include:
- There was a serious lack of Weasleys (where did Molly and Arthur end up? Why didn’t Fred and George show up when they went back in time to add some sarcastic remarks?)
- They provided very little explanation of the production’s sets (some stage directions are included, but still I have no awareness of what the set layout is)
- Most importantly, WHY DIDN’T MALFOY GET HIS HAPPY ENDING?! After all of his struggles, his wife dies. We don’t even have the chance to get to know happily-in-love Malfoy or witness the joy of Draco, Astoria, and Scorpius all together.
Despite some faults, Cursed Child was a must-read. On a scale of 1-5 golden snitches, I’d give it a 3. It was definitely worth the read but not everything I was hoping for in a literary sense. I’m sure the play on the West End is absolutely fantastic and I will probably be scavenging for tickets to it when I get to London in January.
Lastly, I just have to say thank Dumbledore for J.K. Rowling and for all she has given my generation. Her stories constantly surprise and satisfy. Though it was only for a short while, I’m so happy I got the chance to revisit Hogwarts in Cursed Child. As Rowling once said, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home. And it sure did.