(Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Book NO SPOILERS REVIEW)
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two, Special Rehearsal Edition Script is the name of the so-called eighth Harry Potter story.
But I wish they hadn’t marketed it that way.
I’ve been a Harry Potter fan since I was eleven and when they announced that the mysterious new play would be accessible to anyone in form of script, I was so happy I could have produced a corporeal Patronus.
I got the script book the day it came out and read it with an open mind, aware that this was not going to have the quality of a full novel. But even though I lowered my expectations, this story still failed to meet them.
Because, again, they sell it like it was the next Harry Potter book in the series. It seems like they weren’t aware of how excited fans of all ages would get. And that’s what made The Cursed Child a disappoinment, even if an enjoyable one.
I did my waiting, nine years of it
in Azkaban. And I was ready to read a new exciting adventure, short but with heart. Instead I got what felt like a Harry Potter Christmas Special. Have you seen those episodes in your favorite series? They’re so fun to watch, even if most of the time they don’t make sense. The tone is always different and the characters are almost caricatures of themselves, but you still enjoy them because you get to revisit a universe you love. And it’s easy to have a laugh if you don’t take them seriously. That’s what The Cursed Child was for me.
I was expecting something like an abridged Philosopher’s Stone. And Part 1 of the script almost gave me that feeling. I felt like a Star Wars fan watching The Force Awakens: I got new lovable protagonists, cameos of old favorite characters and a plot that brought nothing new to the established universe.
Part one of the play made me wish this was a novel. It starts by introducing Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy and they are honestly the best part of the whole play. They are great and well developed characters and I would love to read about their years at Hogwarts. The pacing of the story is a little too fast and didn’t get to see a lot about them. I can’t complain though, since this is supposed to be a five hours play. It also touches strong and interesting themes as living with one’s decisions and the weight that some parents leave on their children.
Part two, on the other hand, felt like reading fanfiction. The plot starts to feel not only simple, but weak and predictable, and some interactions are noticeable written as fanservice. I would have loved it as a high school play. It’s fun and I bet it would look great on stage, but it feels like it was meant for kids.
I think it was a mistake on my part to expect a fleshed out story, even if it was advertised as the eighth one. I would recommend to any Harry Potter fan to approach this script with caution (as you would with The Monster Book of Monsters). This is not the eighth Harry Potter book. It is a fun spin-off, akin to the filler beach episodes in anime. A bonus side-story that will be hardly accepted as canon.
I read the whole book in less than three hours. I smiled, laughed, got moved, got nostalgic and rolled my eyes. It was entertaining and amusing to get to know Albus and Scorpius, and to read some new details about the world post-Voldemort.
If you want to follow my advice to get a much more enjoyable experience off this book, read it as if the cover said: “A story written by a teenage Harry Potter fan. J.K. Rowling found it so amusing she lent them the rights to make a play”.
Now that I know what this script is about, I will definitely go back to revisit my favorite passages. It is truly easy to get lost in the Harry Potter universe, no matter the type of media. But I’m sure I won’t re-read this one until it falls apart, like I did with the originals.