Book Reviews

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

I actually have a piece about this on Oxgyen.ie but thought I would share my opinion on Cursed Child here too because I haven’t blogged in awhile and I don’t want any of you to think I stopped reading because I’m always reading something. I’m actually re-reading the original series at the moment, I’m currently on The Goblet of Fire – which is my favourite.

Book of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child script by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne The story picks up where “Deathly Hallows” concluded: with the Potter family at Platform 9 and 3/4s to see their middle child, Albus Severus, off to his first year at Hogwarts.  A grown up Harry struggles with his past, while Albus struggles with his family legacy. Albus feels he is unable to live up to the standard set by his father or his other siblings who are placed in Gryffindor while Albus finds himself sorted into Slytherin.  Draco Malfoy’s son, Scorpius, plays a much larger role than anticipated. The gist of the story may remind one of “Back to the Future” as the consequences of time travel play a key role in the plot. Albus and Harry’s relationship was a strained one and the dynamic of this relationship is similar to Scorpius and Draco’s which is why the boys become friends. Albus, upon hearing Harry decline Amos Diggory’s request for Harry to go back in time and save his son, Cedric  – who was killed by Voldemort “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” – decides to take matters into his own hands. Amos blames Harry for Cedric’s death, and though Harry feels that there is blood on his hands he refuses due to the risks time travel has. Albus and Scorpius however are unaware of these risks and the present they return to after their attempts to save Cedric is vastly different from the one they left.

I may be a massive fan of Harry Potter, but I will admit that had my doubts about “Cursed Child”. Its seven predecessors had a lot to live up to but I think it measured up quite well.

It certainly does feel like the 8th story and the magic is still alive; characters we adore return, new ones are introduced, and dare I say, even those we hated resurface once more.

My only issue was with Ron Weasley whose character was lacking in this. Harry, Hermoine, Ginny, and Draco played pivotal roles in the plot, but Ron seemed to function as a failed attempt of comic relief. I’m actually surprised he didn’t crack a “Dad joke” at any point. He grew up to run the Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes (founded by twins Fred and George Weasley) with George so perhaps the silliness rubbed off on him. I realise that when a story is littered with suspense and tension we need a good chuckle ever now and then but in the original series, the twins added humour but also contributed to the plot and had more depth than Ron provided in this. If anything, for me all Ron seemed to do in “Cursed Child” was get on my nerves.

Perhaps I shouldn’t compare this to the first seven Harry Potters so much given that “Cursed Child” was based on J.k. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne’s story but the script was actually wrote by Jack Thorne, and not Rowling.

I will give credit where credit was due, capturing the magic of Harry Potter with only dialogue and sparse stage directions is a difficult task and ultimately I feel Thorne did a fantastic job. The script lacked the stage effects the show would provide and the space to create vivid images Rowling had within the books – yet despite these constraints “Cursed Child” was so compelling that I had to finish it in one sitting. Plot twists were carefully constructed, and though an ending akin to the tone of “all was well” was expected, what happened in-between was not something I sussed out immediately and found myself surprised at many parts.

For a while, I felt that I was back in the Harry Potter universe and was even sad upon finishing it. This is definitely an emotional and nostalgic read for anyone who grew up with Harry Potter as key moments and facets of the previous seven stories are remembered and relived. For avid Potterheads, it’s like your childhood is flashing before your eyes – I may even amend that statement to say it’s like viewing your childhood memories though a Pensieve.

 

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