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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Book Review

Aug. 10, 2016
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The Eighth Story: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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.” 

This book was one hell of a roller coaster. That’s really the only way to describe it. So many feelings. There were ups and downs, good parts and bad parts. Overall, I’m actually quite happy with this book; I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. There’s something about the Harry Potter books that’s hard to put into words. To me, reading these books has always felt like coming home. It’s such a beautiful feeling and it was so nice to be immersed in the Wizarding World once again, even though it was in the form of a stage script rather than a book.. 

Like many of the others who read this book, Part 1 was by far my favorite. Up to that point, the plot points were connecting nicely, and I could really understand what was happening and where things were going. 

I loved Draco in this script. I’m a huge Draco Malfoy fan, and I love that he got a bit of a redemption arc, and that he and the trio managed to move past their differences to help their sons. I also especially loved Harry and Draco’s relationship. I think they really grew up as adults and worked well together. There were some truly heartbreaking scenes between the two of them, but honestly it just warmed my heart to see them working together. 

I didn’t, however, like the way Harry treated his son, Albus, but I understand how it came to be. Harry didn’t have parents and grew up in an abusive household; he didn’t have a figure to look up to or try to be. While I didn’t like it, I can respect that. And Harry learned his lesson throughout the script, so that’s a good thing. There’s also the fact that Albus wasn’t being very respectful to his father either, so there are problems between the two on both sides. Throughout the script, the two work on it, and I’m glad to see that by the end they had gotten through many of their issues. 

The entire plot of the play was a bit wonky, in my opinion; it didn’t really make much sense. The idea that Harry Potter’s son would go back in time to save a boy who died over twenty years ago doesn’t sound entirely plausible. For one thing, Cedric’s Dad, Amos Diggory, should have coped with his son’s death. Yes, it was awful and shouldn’t have happened, but it was also twenty years ago, and it led to Harry Potter killing Voldemort. Cedric gave Harry the strength and courage to continue and fight Voldemort in his fourth year. For another thing, Albus and Scorpius should have had more sense than that. They should have realized that an event as important as the end of the Triwizard Tournament would have a significant impact on the turnout of the war. For yet another thing, there were hundreds of other innocent lives taken, not only Cedric.

That said, after getting past the time-traveling inconsistencies, I really enjoyed the alternate realities the two boys encountered. The one that struck me the most was the one in which Voldemort had won the war. Harry Potter had been killed and Snape was working undercover with Ron and Hermione. The fact that in that alternate reality Snape was helping Hermione really, really got to me. I love Snape and I love that we got to see that he could have been a better man. 

I loved Albus and Scorpius’s relationship. I feel like their friendship was really tangible and realistic.  The way they met in the beginning and really just became friends because they were both hiding behind the shadows of their fathers really hit me. Albus is the famous Harry Potter’s son who just got sorted into Slytherin. He is not okay with it at first and is having a lot of troubles coming to terms with it, and everyone is constantly comparing him to his father. It really takes a toll on him and his confidence. Then there’s Scorpius whose father is Draco Malfoy, the famous Death Eater. People are afraid of Scorpius because of that and don’t want to talk to him. They tease him, mock him, and bully him for having a father whose family was so big on the Dark Arts. Even though the great Wizarding War ended many years ago, there is still the stigma that all Slytherins are bad and that Death Eaters never change. That is an idea that both Scorpius and Albus are affected by, and I think it is what brought them together initially and really started their friendship. They understood each other and I really enjoyed that aspect of their friendship. 

The last plot point where we find out the Delphi is Voldemort’s daughter was one I really had a problem with. In my opinion, it made no sense and wasn’t relevant to any of the characters. J.K Rowling has said that Voldemort isn’t capable of love, so it doesn’t make sense for him to have a daughter. The fact that he doesn’t love doesn’t have anything to do with him producing a child, but I still don’t think he would do it, especially with someone like Bellatrix Lestrange. 

Again, this book had many flaws and things I didn’t agree with, but there were also things that I loved, and we got another Harry Potter story, which is still something to be grateful about. Let’s end this with a beautiful quote from Dumbledore to Harry near the end of this book: 

“Perfection is beyond the reach of humankind, beyond the reach of magic. In every shining moment of happiness is that drop of poison: the knowledge that pain will come again. Be honest to those you love, show your pain. To suffer is as human as to breathe.”

Rating: 3.5/5

Cover Image by Jodeci Zimmerman