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Book ReviewsHarry Potter

The Cursed Child was fun, but it sucks

(This rant/review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child contains ALL THE SPOILERS. If you want to read a nicer and spoiler-free review, here’s one I wrote the day after the book came out.)

(Click the image to buy it on Amazon. Though I wouldn’t buy it, it’s really bad. But if you end up buying it, I would appreciate getting a small commission)

So, it’s been six months since I read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the nostalgia glasses have stopped working. They stopped working months ago. Like a week after I read the thing.

And with every day that passes, I hate it a little more. I actually never completely liked it (as you can read in my original review) but I thought it had some fun things and nice characters. I really fell in love with Scorpius and Albus. But most of all, I was in love with the idea of battling my Harry Potter withdrawal.

But now, of course, I know better. The Potterhead in me has learned to live a life without new Harry Potter content. And that’s okay.

Now I’m ready to talk about the horrible things in The Cursed Child. And I solemnly swear that I am up to no good,

1. Harry is a terrible person. He’s not only a horrible father, but he seems to have the same level of maturity he had as a teenager. Readers expect him to have the same personality, not to be EXACTLY THE SAME person twenty years later. He’s supposedly disappointed on his son Albus because he’s unpopular and bad at school (and he’s a Slytherin), but why would Harry feel like that? Harry himself was unpopular and an average student. He was bullied and felt isolated for years, and he relied on his friends a lot. He would never resent his son or forbid him to be friends with Draco’s son. Also, I refuse to believe that Harry Potter would say this to his son: (What kind of father would say it, anyway?)

ALBUS: I just wish you weren’t my dad.

HARRY (seeing red): Well, there are times I wish you weren’t my son.

2. Hermione could never be a strong independent woman. She NEEDS a man. She needs Ron, because without him she would turn into a bitter and cruel person. Or at least that’s implied when Albus uses the time-turner to visit an alternate universe where Ron married Padma Patil. (Apparently wizards and witches who lose their true loves turn into mean teachers at Hogwarts. Also see: Snape). Why would Hermione, defender of the house-elves, turn into a Snape?

ALBUS: Can I just say —

HERMIONE: No, you can’t. Just keep quiet, Potter, otherwise you’ll lose what limited popularity you already have. Now who can tell me what a Patronus is? No? No one. You really are a most disappointing bunch.

HERMIONE smiles a thin smile. She really is quite mean.

3. Ron is just a clown. I can’t even quote specific parts of the book because Ron has not a role in it. He’s just shown tripping on things, stammering, putting Hermione on a pedestal and looking dumb in front of an audience. And, by the way, he’s so stupid he gives his nephew a love potion as a gift (without any mention of the time Ron accidentally drank one himself and felt horrible). Also, this is so uncomfortable:

HERMIONE: And your wife doesn’t need you fighting her battles for her.

RON: Fine. But if you say one thing about her or me…

DRACO: You’ll do what, Weasley?

HERMIONE: He’ll hug you. Because we’re all on the same team, aren’t we, Ron?

RON: Fine. I, um, I think you’ve got really nice hair. Draco.

HERMIONE: Thank you, husband.

4. Draco was written by a fangirl (and she clearly shipped Draco-Hermione). I liked the idea of Draco Malfoy turning into a better and more open minded person. But this ‘book’ turned him into a romanticized and unrealistic version of that. Exhibit A:

DRACO: Hermione Granger, I’m being bossed around by Hermione Granger. (She turns towards him. He smiles) And I’m mildly enjoying it.

(This paragraph is just missing the part where they kiss).

Exhibit B:

DRACO: I always envied you them, you know — Weasley and Granger. —
You — the three of you — you shone, you know? You liked each other. You had fun. I envied you those friendships more than anything else.

(Yeah, riiiiight. If this isn’t fanfic I don’t know what it is).

5. And Snape also came back as a fan-service device. When Scorpius goes to the Voldemort-won-universe he meets Snape and he’s such a nice guy! He’s such a brave man, bravely fighting along Hermione and being brave BFFs. (Without a trace of the bully teacher/bitter man we thought him to be. Because now we know it was ALL part of the facade! He needed to be horrible all the time to convince Voldemort he was a Death Eater at heart. But he’s actually a saint. *sarcasm ends*). I’m starting to think that the dumb time-turner plot wasn’t that dumb at all. It was the perfect plan to bring Snape back as a hero. Example:

SNAPE: Strange, isn’t it? What comes from within. You need to run. I will keep them at bay for as long as I can.
SCORPIUS: Thank you for being my light in the darkness.
SNAPE looks at him, every inch a hero, he softly smiles

(ME reading this, every inch disgusted, I softly puke)

Extra bonus: Snape and Hermione being friends and making fun of Ron

HERMIONE: I’m sorry, Severus.
SNAPE looks at her, and then swallows the pain. He indicates RON with a flick of his head.
SNAPE: Well, at least I’m not married to him.

6. But not only the main characters were transfigured into something completely different and worst. We also have Cedric Diggory turning into a Death Eater because he failed a test at the Triwizard Tournament and people laughed at him. This might be the dumbest reason someone ever had to turn to the dark side. Poor Cedric.

7. There’s that one scene with the Polyjuice Potion and Albus repeatedly kissing aunt Hermione.

SCORPIUS: I don’t know whether to high-five you or frown at you for kissing your aunt about five hundred times!

(ME, cringes)

8. The Trolley Witch is an ancient creature with spears instead of hands and she can transform her cakes into weapons. (What did I just write?)

TROLLEY WITCH: She picks up a Pumpkin Pasty. She throws it like a grenade. It explodes.

9. WHY IN THE NAME OF MERLIN’S BEARD DID VOLDEMORT HAVE A DAUGHTER? I can imagine hundreds of Harry Potter fans, of Voldemort fans, writing spicy fanfic about Voldy/Bellatrix having Death Eater fun. I can imagine how it would be fun to write about Voldemort’s heir. Because fan fiction is about exploring ridiculously impossible scenarios, starring your favorite characters. But The Cursed Child was not sold as fan fiction. It was supposed to be part of the Harry Potter canon (I say ‘was’ because I’ll never accept it as canon). And making the main villain Voldemort’s daughter is DUMB. Fan-fiction-dumb. It’s so dumb I almost didn’t finish the book. I have no idea what was J. K. Rowling thinking when she approved of this. Did she really believe that Voldemort and Bellatrix would try to conceive a child? He never cared about anyone but himself! He wanted to live forever, not to have an heir. (Delphini’s name should have been Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven if this was supposed to be fanfiction satire *sighs*)

10. And last but not least: The use of time-turners. I get why it would look cool in a play: that way they get to revisit beloved characters and locations and to show cool stage effects. But as a story device a time-turner feels cheap. Travelling to the past is used to make the reader feel nostalgic (and to bring back Snape as a hero). It is used to tell a 343 pages story while bringing NOTHING NEW to the Harry Potter universe. It is used to bring back Voldemort because they couldn’t create another cool villain. It is used to re-tell fragments of the original series and make the whole adventure feel repetitive. It is used, even if it shouldn’t, because all the time-turners were destroyed in Order of the Phoenix.

Let me know what you think about The Cursed Child! Did you like it? Do you still like it? Do you wish you could use a time-turner so you could unread it? (Though all the time-turners might have been destroyed. Or not. They could magically come back again, who knows!?)

This article has 5 comments

  1. Jessica

    Out of mild curiosity, what is it with publishing companies actually publishing fan-fiction based stories? I can understand their innate desire to continuing cashing in on a story that has made them millions, or is it billions? I can also understand basing characters in your writings on the traits of your favorite celebrity/character – but somehow convincing the creator of that character to say it’s a good idea to publish such a thing? I honestly cannot believe that J.K. Rowling actually read the entire thing, or even the majority of it…because as I was reading over the parts that you shared, I said to myself – Harry would never say something like that to his child or after the exchange with Draco, Hermione would have been utterly disgusted with herself. And I just realized that I’m rambling, and I apologize…but I’m so glad that I now have a book that I can take off of my To Read List.

    • Celeste

      Hahaha, I have no idea how this book got published. But I’m glad that someone else thinks these fragments of the story are horrible!
      I’m glad my little rant helped you get one book off your TBR list :D!

  2. Anonymous

    I agree with all of this! I liked it when I first read it because I was blinded by how much I loved Scorpius and Albus and Draco’s sort of redemption arc, but now I just keep seeing more problems.

  3. Celeste

    The same thing happened to me! Albus and Scorpius were adorable and I would have loved to read more about them…

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