OKAY. It’s finally done. I read it, digested it, and have produced some thoughts about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (AKA the “8th Story, Nineteen Years Later”). There have been so many mixed reviews about this book, I wasn’t exactly sure exactly where I’d fall. I’d say I ended up somewhere in the middle. I’ve divided this post into Spoiler-free and Spoiler-full, so read on for my spoiler-free thoughts on the story!
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books on July 31st 2016
Genres: Children's Contemporary, Fantasy
The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.
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.
Was this book like reading the other Harry Potter novels? HECK NO! Remember that this is a SCRIPT you’ve got. This is supposed to be experienced as a play, but since us peons in anywhere-but-the-UK don’t get to see the play, we just have to be happy with the script. It’s not going to read the same! But did it serve its purpose? Did it bring us back to the Wizarding world and re-connect us with the characters that we have learned to love so much? Yeah, pretty much.
What I loved:
- Getting to read to about Harry, Hermione, Ron, and Ginny all over again. Their banter is the same, and their characters felt mostly true to the HP novels.
- Seeing a glimpse of what life is like 19+ years later. The book essentially picks up in the exact same place as the epilogue in the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. We’ve all imagined what the gang’s life would be like years later, and now you get to find out. I would say that for the most part it felt pretty authentic (as far as what jobs they were performing, what life was like, etc.).
- After a while, you get over the fact that you’re reading a script. I thought it was going to be a big hurdle and feel odd, but it really didn’t. I think it’s pretty easy to settle it and read it like a book. The stage directions and the setting description for each scene do a good enough getting your brain where it needs to be.
What I didn’t like so much:
- You could tell JK Rowling had little to do with writing the play as there was very little world expansion. When the gang is referring to things in the past, it’s always to something that happened during the 7 books. Like nothing happened at all the last 20 years or so. That bothered me, and I think that’s why a lot of people are complaining that this book read like “fan fiction.” It wasn’t very inventive.
- Sometimes Harry’s character was just all wrong. If you’ve read the book or you don’t care about spoilers, you can read more in my spoiler-ful section.
At the end of the day, I would never deter someone from reading this book. I think any good Potterhead should read it themselves and see how they feel about it, because loads of people are loving it. Let’s be honest, we’re all desperate for more Harry Potter, and since this is the closest we’re going to get, we just have to take it!
There were some things that just struck me as so odd that I felt like I had to talk about them with others who’ve read the script. So please, if you’ve read the book, chime in below so I can discuss with someone finally (none of my friends I see on a daily basis have read it *cries*).
- How in the even heck do Scorpius and Albus escape from the Hogwarts Express when it’s explicitly written that Fred and George have never done it? I just don’t believe that these dorks could manage it if the masters couldn’t.
- I’m sorry but Harry just seems like the worst dad ever to Albus. AND I DON’T BELIEVE IT. On top of that, Harry is so self-centered with him. I didn’t have father growing up, Albus, so that’s why it’s all new to me and blah blah blah why I suck at being a dad. Just shut-up Harry, because Albus is your YOUNGER son, so you’ve already had practice. You’re sad Albus? Well let me just remind you that I was the chosen one and had to defeat Lord Voldemort. The Harry Potter I know and love would never say crap like that.
- Or how about when Harry gets in a fight with Dumbledore’s portrait in the fourth act? “Go. Leave. I don’t want you here, I don’t need you. You were absent every time it really counted. I fought him three times without you. I’ll face him again, if needs be — alone.” WTF? Harry would NEVER say that. It’s like the script-writers only read Order of the Phoenix where Harry is all angsty and falsely based his character entirely on that.
- Voldemort and ….. Bellatrix? No. Just no. Nope. No way. Voldemort is NOT HAVING SEX, okay? And he certainly doesn’t have a child. When the writers of this story were coming up with the plot, who thought, “Voldemort should have a kid!” And even worse, WHO AGREED WITH THEM?
- The prophecy was dumb.
What were some of your spoiler-full thoughts on the script? I know I am complaining about a lot here, but did I still enjoy the book? Yes, of course. At the end of the day, it’s still Harry Potter… sort of.
Have you read it yet? If not, do you plan on reading it? Tell me all of your thoughts in the comment section below!