This review contains mild spoilers, since it is difficult to accurately describe the plot without including certain detail.
Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Author: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
Genre: Script, Fantasy
Publisher: Little, Brown, July 31st 2016
Synopsis: Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children. While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
I read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two the week it hit bookstores, but I’m only now putting my thoughts into a review. I so glad that J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany gave us this opportunity to revisit the wizarding world. Holding that hard cover between my palms had a certain nostalgia to it, and reading about Hogwarts was like coming home. Growing up with the Harry Potter books, I always went the whole nine yards. For the movies, I showed up for the midnight showings with a movie ticket and a wand in my pocket. I attended book release parties with a giant felt sorting hat on my head and was Hermione for five halloweens in a row before I turned twelve. I was just as excited as any other fanatic to discover that the journey was not over. In fact, an eight book was about to be released.
After digesting my thoughts, it’s clear that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is not the “eighth” book in the Harry Potter saga. Although advertised heavily as such, I found no reason why this should be in the same league as the others in the series. This play, written by Jack Thorne was just that: a play. To be honest, I’m one of those people who never wanted another Harry Potter book. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was magical perfection; the story had completed its arc in full and I put it aside feeling slightly melancholy and wholeheartedly satisfied. I didn’t want more.
Despite this, I enjoyed reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. What I enjoyed the most was Albus’s relationship with his father. The character-driven conflict did much more for me than the plot. I felt moved by their struggles, and immediately found myself rooting for Albus. I wanted him to make friends. I wanted him to succeed. But as the plot progressed, I found myself loosing the initial rush of excitement I had on scene one. The choice of time travel was unexpected, and was pretty exciting to read about… at first. But I was disappointed on the events they chose to focus on.
I was also thrown off my some of the characterization. Most of the characters did things I felt was not genuine to how they were established in the previous books. Even Harry surprised me. With father figures like Sirius, Hagrid, and Lupin, I found it hard to believe he would ever treat Albus the way he did in this play. I also found Rose to be really uneventful to the plot. The only reason she was included was for a romance—a romance which was practically ignored the entire length of the script.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was not a badly written play, but without traveling to London and seeing the live performance, I have no way of seeing its true potential. That being said, I am left feeling that this was a very unnecessary addition to the Harry Potter universe.