Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Book Review

I’m the first to admit to being a Harry Potter tragic. JK Rowling could release a blank book and I’d read it. So Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was at the top of my list to read.

It’s taken a little while to get through because of my busy Uni and work schedule, but when I got to it, I found that it’s actually very easy to read.

The first part of this post will be spoiler free. Read without fear, for I won’t ruin any of the book’s splendour and surprise. That is, until the very end. You’ll have very fair warning, so you won’t accidentally read too far, I promise.

So let’s begin:

A refreshed glimpse into a future of the wizarding world is something we’ve all wished for. However, this time around, the focus is on the sentimentality of the characters, and less so on the whimsical and fantastical setting. This is disappointing, because it ultimately loses some of the original’s charm. This can be attributed to its form- because it’s a script for a play, the story loses the magic of the broader setting. I know it’s how it has to be, but I still wish it wasn’t so.

Harry is, regretfully, not my favourite character in The Cursed Child. I appreciate that his perspective and tone has shifted with age and maturity, but Harry seems to lack his compassion and kindness, and general aura of friendliness. He is shallow and overprotective, and unable to form any kind of legitimate emotional bond with his son. Of course, as the story develops he grows to accept Albus, but still without much understanding.

That being said, I really appreciate the vulnerability in characters who make mistakes. The story is just stumble after stumble as realistically-flawed characters try their best to do what’s right.

That brings me to Albus. Albus is not an ideal protagonist at all, and that’s what makes him so well done. He’s an isolated, bitter Slytherin – and not for the sake of being shocking, but for the sake of character depth and development.

I love JK Rowling’s work, and I love Harry Potter. I’ll never tire of it, and I feel like we’re all privileged that this book was released. I loved reading it, and I’ll read it again. However, at times I could liken it to a well done Harry Potter fan fiction.

What did you think of The Cursed Child?

Choose to continue reading to get a little more in depth. Spoilers below.

This book was stressful. Time travel is arguably a very cliche recipe for disaster.

Initally, I was really disappointed that this fresh look into new characters in a new time immediately jumped back into the original stories. Albus is establishing independence, when we’re suddenly drawn directly back into the Goblet of Fire and Cedric Diggory’s death. It seemed entirely needless, and a wasted opportunity.

While I continue to stand by that view, it became more relevant when it became clear that this was the central plot, and an interesting way to explore different potential outcomes.

Umbridge’s return makes my skin crawl, honestly, and it’s just about as welcome as the plague. That post time-travel scenario was clever. The future following the scenario in which Voldemort won the Hogwarts Battle was an intriguing one, although unsettling. I do think someone could’ve spent 5 minutes and thought of a better celebration name than “Voldemort day” though.

The end of this story was pretty wild. Delphi’s reveal as the daughter of Voldemort had perfect potential, but it’s brief explanation left me curious and even confused, as I tried to slot her existence into the original story’s timeline.

What left me feeling disappointed following The Cursed Child was really just related to its form. It’s a play, and it’s written for performance. Reading the story was never going to do it justice, completely. It was short, dialogue fuelled (unavoidably) and had a different overall vibe to the original.

Harry was rude and demanding of McGonagall, Draco was open and well humoured, Ron was a bumbling and unnecessary character; they just didn’t feel like the original characters. There was no exploration of Hogwarts, or Harry’s other kids, or of Albus’s classes. It was very much a glimpse at a story.

I liked the story, very much, because it was more of the story I love so much. I’ll read it again, and again, and I recommend you do the same. However, I am disappointed that the characters didn’t translate meaningfully into their future, and the entire premise was a tired revisit of Cedric’s story (which didn’t actually end with much closure).

My thoughts and opinions on The Cursed Child are all over the place, still, but I enjoyed reading it. What were your thoughts?

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