I was actually going to name this review “Five Reasons why I Hate Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”, but there are one or two things I also like, so the title would have been too long. Let me start with this… JK Rowling, I love you. What the hell happened here? Yes, I know that this play (good thing it’s not a novel, I don’t enjoy hating novels) is also written by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, so I have to wonder just how much of this mess is Rowling’s work. By the way, I’m not actively trying to avoid spoilers, so keep that in mind if you’re going to read the review.
“The epilogue of the seventh book is a very clear pointer as to where I was interested in going. It’s very obvious from that epilogue that the character I was most interested in was Albus Severus Potter. And you see Scorpius on that platform.” (source)
Before we move to those reasons mentioned above, let’s see what this “wonderful” story is about. It opens with bits and pieces from the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and, although I’ve never been particularly fond of that part of the series, I felt a bit nostalgic while reading certain lines. Most of the story revolves around two teenagers, Albus Severus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy, focusing on their friendship, their struggle to fit in, and their adventure. This is where the “cursed child” from the title appears. Voldemort had a kid with one of his followers before the final battle. Yes, apparently someone actually thought that something like that was possible. But I felt like this detail fell into the background, that it was just another plot device.
There’s so much wasted potential that I can’t even understand why some people compared The Cursed Child to fanfiction. Darling… don’t insult fans who actually know what they are doing. Anyway, I intend to focus on the things I didn’t like, but there are bits and pieces which were quite nice, so I don’t want to overlook them. For instance, I appreciate the fact that we see Severus Snape alive, even if only briefly. I loved that character, so it was nice to see him one more time. I also liked the fact that we get to know Albus and Scorpius. I can’t say that I was fond of them, but their friendship does play a crucial part in the story. This is something that interested me much more than uncovering the identity of the Dark Lord’s heir. Other than that, nothing else brought back significant memories or the feeling that yes, I could re-read this text someday. This isn’t canon and it’d rather forget it.
Now let’s turn to those five things I hate about this play. Number one: poorly written lines. I felt nothing but annoyance more often than not. There’s no satisfaction while reading them, even if you’re turning the pages faster than you might expect. They sound flat and there wasn’t a single moment when I thought that I’d love to hear actors utter them. There was so little emotion reaching me that I wonder where the rest of it went. What happened? Everything is fast-paced, but this shouldn’t bring with it lack of depth.
Number two: the plot. It could have been wonderful, but it turned into an example of what happens when a good idea goes to hell once the rest of the story is built on it. We have time-travel, alternative worlds, characters we know and love… but it’s not enough because it’s all too rushed and superficial.
This can be tied with the third thing I hate: the way the characters are presented. I don’t recognize them. They are adults now and yet they make stupid decisions and fail to truly be there for their children. This Hermione is like a shadow next to her adolescent self, Harry needs to be smacked and then taught what NOT to say to his child, and Ron and Ginny are just there. I couldn’t believe it, these two characters are turned into borderline useless voices from the background.
You’d think that a new, original character would be better developed. No. This brings me to the next point: Delphini Diggory. Let’s pretend that we don’t realize almost immediately who she is. She is powerful and cunning, but she is not used to her full potential. Why introduce a new character if you’re not going to use her properly? I would have liked to see a more mysterious touch, but everything fell flat in the end.
The ending itself was the fifth thing I hated. In one word, it was disappointing. We know that the story goes on, we see that there is hope for better relationships, but as a reader you don’t feel sadness that you’ve reached the final page… nor do you feel joy. Unless, of course, you’re glad that you’ve turned the final page. As for me, I look forward to re-reading the series at some point. And right now I feel like watching one of the Harry Potter films; I’ll see what I can do about that.
If you’ve got any questions or if you want to tell us what you think about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, leave a comment here. I’m curious to see how other readers feel about this play. Until next time!
by Elena Atudosiei