Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II
By: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
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.
NOTE: THIS REVIEW IS NOT STRUCTURED LIKE MY OTHER REVIEWS. I HAVE TOO MANY THOUGHTS TO ORGANIZE INTO THEIR SUBJECTED CATEGORIES, BUT I WILL ADD A SPOILER SECTION APART FROM THE NON-SPOILER SECTION. I AM NOT TRYING TO BASH ANYBODY IN THIS REVIEW, I AM JUST SAYING MY HONEST OPINIONS. READ ON.
When I first heard about this book I was freaking out, but then I became wary once I heard that it was going to be a play. Once I got my hands on the book, I was over-the-moon excited and started it almost immediately. Harry Potter is my favorite book series of all time, after all. I started the book and I enjoyed it at first – and I started shipping Albus and Scorpius almost immediately – but then it went a bit downhill. The characters all talked strangely and I knew Rowling didn’t write this book, or it would’ve been a masterpiece from the get-go. But it wasn’t, and that’s when I read the cover a bit more closely, uncovering the truth: THIS IS NOT WRITTEN BY ROWLING. I was shocked and disappointed to say the very least. And now I know why everybody is saying you should read it as a fanfiction. But let me say something: I’ve honestly read fanfictions better than this book. It pains me to say it, but I have. I am being completely honest here and it pains me to even criticize this book, but I started this blog to write my honest opinions on the books I read, so that’s what I’m doing.
Jack Thorne is one lucky duck. He gets to write a story within the world of Harry Potter, with a story already developed by Rowling herself, and then he gets his play in London that must’ve sold out in seconds, and then the most pre-ordered book in the history of pre-ordered books. But the only problem is, The Cursed Child made me feel like it was written by a rubber duck, causing me to ask the question that Arthur Weasley so brilliantly asked in The Chamber of Secrets – what exactly is the function of a rubber duck? I know, this probably doesn’t make any sense to you, but I will try and explain my insanity to you guys for easier comprehension. The world that Jack Thorne developed in this book-play thingy was not the real Wizarding World that we have all grown to love and think of as our second home. His version of Rowling’s brilliance is a fake version created to look like the real version, but I am able to see through it clearly like glass. The world and characters in The Cursed Child are not the ones we have grown to love or hate, they’re just replicas, knock-offs, if I may say, of the real thing. They’re the rubber ducks, and so I ask the question again, hoping you’ll be able to understand the metaphor I am trying to convey: What exactly is the function of a rubber duck? They don’t live and breath like the original, and they are not even close to their real counterparts, but they try to be, floating above the water like nothing is different between them.
I thought this book was a bit rushed at times, but at other times it seemed a bit slow. It was all over the place, really, but the plot was good and the characters seemed to have a good-enough motive. But let’s face it, Albus is one stupid child. Cursed with stupidity, you may say. But also, Harry was not a good father to him by any means. I think Draco might’ve actually been a better father to Scorpius than Harry was to Albus. On the topic of Scorpius, he is my new favorite character in the Harry Potter world (or at least my favorite character that isn’t deceased). He is just a little smart, cute cinnamon roll that needs to be protected at all costs. And Albus would be a good friend for him, if he wasn’t so arrogant towards him (I honestly think he gets that from his father). This is something I hated about the book: the way Jack Thorne wrote the characters. I don’t have anything against his writing, at times it was quite good and had me laughing and almost in tears, but when it was bad, I was cringing.
Harry Potter is not my favorite character in the series by any means, but that doesn’t mean I dislike him, but in this book, I grew to favor Draco over him. I mean, I know a lot of people prefer Draco over Harry, but that’s mainly due to Tom Felton *swoon*, so favoring Draco over Harry in this book means that the author did something both wrong and right. How is that possible, you may ask? Very possible, actually. Draco was considered the bad guy, the bully, in the entirety of the Harry Potter series, until the end where he is redeemed slightly, and is shown to be a tortured soul. Harry is the hero and quarrels with Draco nearly every time they look at each other (which Jack Thorne did pretty well), but Harry comes across as a total and complete git, while Draco is the level-headed one. Harry was written so badly in this, I think, that I had to remove a star just for that. It may seem unfair to you, but Harry is a brave, courageous, selfless hero, and despite his many flaws, he always comes through and never makes me angry to the point where I want to shout Avada Kadavra at him, until I read The Cursed Child. You know something is wrong with the book your reading if the main hero is making you so angry you want to use a killing curse on them multiple times throughout the book.
Now the actual plot and storyline of the book was interesting enough and I was curious about how it was going to end. I was a bit angry and frustrated at times due to the stupid choices made by certain characters I’m not going to name *cough* Albus *cough* Potter. The characters and how they were written was the main downfall of this book for me. I think that’s the same with a lot of people who read this book as well.
I rate this book 3 stars despite my many problems with it because, after all, it is Harry Potter, so I can’t bring myself to rate it any lower.
This is the spoiler section of the review, you have been warned.
I thought it was so weird having Voldemort conceive a child. It was also kind of a dumb idea… Not completely, but I didn’t like the twist much at all. And Delphi didn’t seem to have much motivation for what she did aside from ‘wanting to know her father’. But when your father is Lord Voldemort, I think it’s best you don’t meet him. It would have been nice to see a villain that is not involved with Voldemort in any way whatsoever. Voldemort was a great villain, yes, one of the best ever actually, but I wanted something fresh and new and different. This story does take place 20 or so years after Voldemort’s death, after all, so it only makes sense for somebody else to take the reins as the baddest bad guy of them all.
It would’ve been great just to read about Albus and Scorpius navigating through Hogwarts together. If the book was about that, I don’t think a villain would’ve even been necessary, honestly. Albus and Scorpius and their relationship (platonic or not) are interesting enough to fill a book or two on it’s own. What The Cursed Child missed was Albus and Scorpius actually in Hogwarts going to classes, Quidditch games, and Hogsmeade. That’s what I wanted to see, not the Ministry and the older versions of beloved characters who don’t even act like the characters we know and love.
Another big problem I had with this book (I know, the bad is currently outweighing the good, just stick with me here) was the lack of big characters such as Neville or Luna or even George were mentioned. Ron is apparently running the Joke Shop, so where does that make George? Is he dead or did he not want a constant reminder of his twin every day he went to work? I didn’t need them in this story, but it would’ve been nice of them to at least mention them. Arthur and Molly Weasley weren’t mentioned either, it’s as if they dropped off of the face of the earth or something.
In a short summary, this book is read as a fanfiction taken place in some sort of Alternate Universe 20 years after The Deathly Hallows, with a lot of missed opportunity. On the good side, there was a plot that was interesting enough and the friendship between Albus and Scorpius is worth the time itself.
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