Book Reviews

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Cursed Child is the 8th Harry Potter story, based on Harry and the golden trio’s kids. Unlike the other Harry Potter books, this is the script of the play. A lot of people seemed to have picked this up expecting an actual 8th Harry Potter book!

What Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is abut:

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. 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.

Albus ends up befriending Scorpius Malfoy, Draco’s son, of all people. When Amos Diggory asks Harry to use the last time-turner in existence to go back and save Cedric, Albus and Scorpius can’t understand why. The two learn very quickly not to meddle with time. 

What I thought:

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. 

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”.

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.

It’s not perfect though:

Ron’s 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 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. It felt like Ron had to be there on the basis of being part of the Goldren Trio, but he had no reason to be there beyond that. 

Some of the character progressions also didn’t make sense. Ron and Hermoine’s daughter is like a throw back to pre-troll-in-the-dungeon Hermoine in the first book; a snobby know-it-all. Yet, I can’t see the Hermoine the series finished with ever allowing her daughter to grow up like Rose. She’s very proud of the status being a “Granger-Weasley” has brought her, but I don’t see Ron and Hermoine condoning that. Hermoine as a Muggle born defintely wouldn’t raise a daughter to value blood-status and family name like the pure blood wizards who tormented her when she was young. Hermoine would be so disappointed in her daughter. 

harry potter and the cursed child

Spoilers Alert

Hermoine also never would have wanted to be the Minister of Magic. Who could forget her telling Cornelius Fudge that she wanted to do something good with her life in Deathly Hallows?

The huge thing was also Voldemort having an heir. Voldemort intended on being immortal, so him wanting an heir makes no sense. Also the time-frame cut it close in terms of how old is heir is. Surely we’d have noticed the otehr pregnant and cheating on her husband in her films? Isn’t Voldemort asexual and aromantic because he was conceived because his father was under the influence of a love potion?

Also am I dumb or do we even know who the cursed child actually is?

The Elephant in the Room

The big talking point about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the casting of Hermoine.

Personally, I think it shouldn’t matter what the actress who plays Hermoine looks like, so long as she plays her well. J.K Rowling dug herself into a bit of a hole. She tried to claim diversity points by saying that she never explicitly said Hermoine was white.

She did.

She made Hermoine white.

Not only did she draw Hermoine as white in her own drawings, had Hermoine illustrated as white on book covers, but also described her as pale in the books. So yes, Joanne, you did do that.

I’d respect her more if she just said admitted that but said she was happy with the Cursed Child casting. In fact, a lot of Potterheads are quickly losing respect for J.K Rowling.

The Bottom Line

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 fairly good job. However, the things above about Hermoine and Voldemort definitely felt fan-fictiony and not canon. As adamant as a lot of Potterheads are that this is not cannon, J.K Rowling insists that it is.

I had a good laugh in the Harry Potter gift shop in King’s Cross station where they had a tiny shelf of Cursed Child merch almost hidden in the most remote section of the shop! Even the official Harry Potter store doesn’t seem to live the 8th story. 

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. But like Crimes of Grindlewald, you might want to repress all your Harry Potter knowledge if the small errors and lapses in canon will bother you. 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 through a Pensieve.

harry potter glasses and gryffindor scarf

0 thoughts on “Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Leave a Reply