Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Series: Harry Potter #8
Also in this series: Philosopher's Stone
Released by Little Brown and Co on 31 July 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.
Warning: This review might have spoilers in it, so if you want to go into the book knowing absolutely nothing – do not proceed.
Nine years ago, Deathly Hallows was released and that was the end of the Harry Potter world. Or was it? Suddenly, we got Pottermore; with so much new information that made fans all around the world incredibly happy. And then, it was announced there would be an official eighth story. I had tried to read some fanfiction about the Next Generation before, and that wasn’t a huge success. So I was thrilled to find out we would be getting an official story by the hand of J.K. Rowling. When the announcement came that it would be a play, I was even more excited. I got tickets to see the play (12 April 2017, here we come!) and when the book was confirmed as well, I pre-ordered it.
I found out later that the story wouldn’t 100% be written by J.K. Rowling, seeing as the script for the play had been written by an actual playwright (that’s the correct word, right?), but still, I was so excited. When I finally got my hands on the book, I was rather nervous. I waited a couple of days, partly because I was still re-reading Order of the Phoenix, but when I finally finished the last pages of Deathly Hallows, I read the first couple of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
Let me start off by being 100% honest: I didn’t love it. I already had rather low expectations for this book, because I’d read some rather negative reviews (or rather seen the 2/3-star ratings) from people that I ‘trust’. I had also seen some rumours that had started flying after the try-outs (because some people apparently cannot #keepthesecrets). Still, I wanted to read the book, because I wanted to form my opinion on it. But honestly, I can now say I don’t want to count this book as canon.
Yes, this is partly due to the fact that the play wasn’t written by J.K. Rowling herself, but also because some of the things that happen in this book just don’t work well with the rest of the series. There were parts that made me actually laugh out loud, not necessarily because it was so funny, and I think I rolled my eyes at least five times. Of course, I won’t tell you too much about it, because I don’t want to spoil anything, but let me tell you this: I thought the plot was the worst part of the entire script/play. View Spoiler »Voldemort and Bellatrix having a child, Cedric Diggory a death eater. THE. LUNCH. TROLLEY. LADY. No sorry this stuff was ridiculous!!!!!!! « Hide Spoiler
What I was missing most, I guess, were the incredible descriptions that we know and love from J.K. Rowling’s writing; this didn’t really work out well in a script, because the decor was just simply described as ‘they’re on a staircase now, looking at each other’ and that just bothered me. Maybe I’ll enjoy this part more when I’ve seen the actual play, but it just didn’t work out for me while reading the script. (I will probably review the play as well, when I’ve seen it).
The characters are all the ones that we know and love from the original story, but of course they’re older now which means they are a bit different from what they used to. Some characters I still loved as much, but with some characters I felt that the things they did were really out of character. I did still picture the movie actors as their characters though, so I guess that’s a plus. As for the children, I did imagine the play’s actors for them, partly because I had seen so many pictures of them lately that they kind of stuck. The characters, that I know and love, and the fact that we were back in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter are the reasons I gave this book three stars. If I had to rate this book solely on the plot, it would probably have been one star. Maybe one and a half (because yes there were elements that I liked).
I honestly don’t know what else I can tell you about this story, other than that I just really didn’t love it. It was enjoyable, I did laugh, I did actually cry at a couple of parts, but honestly, I didn’t feel the magic. At. All. Maybe this is because I’ve been reading an actual script, maybe I’ll feel different about it when I’ve seen the play in April, but honestly, I don’t think my opinion on the plot will improve that much. It’s just too fanfiction-y in my opinion.
Again, don’t be discouraged to read the script because of my review; do it, form your own opinion, maybe you’ll read it and completely disagree with me. Which is totally fine, of course. But I just didn’t love it as much as I did with the original seven books.
My opinion in one gif: