Book Review: “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” by J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

Hello! Yes, you read that right. I finally gave into the hype and read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I am sure that you all are aware that some really love this book, others really hate this book, and then there are those who don’t love it and don’t hate it. Initially, I hated this. It wasn’t an enjoyable read for me. However, on further contemplation, I think I am in that last category. There were things I really loved and things I really had problems with. But before I get more into it, you should know this will definitely be a spoiler review, so if you haven’t read this book/play, you should leave, read the book, and then come back because who wants to get spoiled? So goodbye for now!

***Warning: This review contains spoilers. If you wish to not know what goes on throughout this book, read the synopsis and don’t read any other part of this review.***

Synopsis:

“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.”

Characters:

Albus Potter: He is my least favorite character of the whole book. He is the most annoying little shit I have ever read about. He has a blatant disrespect for his own father, baits him to get him angry and to hurt him, and really can be an idiot a lot of the time. He is the reason they screw everything up. He is the leader and that lead even Scorpius into trouble. I just really do not like him at all. But I do love the friendship with Scorpius and I think Scorpius grounds him and keeps him from going completely off the rails sometimes.

Scorpius Malfoy: He is probably my favorite character. He’s funny, sweet, and super nice. He’s an adorable little cinnamon roll that must be protected. The rumors about him being Voldemort’s son were completely ridiculous and it just makes me so sad that he was bullied because of those lame-ass rumors. I just love, though, how much of a rock and how much of a great friend to Albus he is. They really are a force to be reckoned with when they work together!

Harry Potter: While I liked his character, he just seemed a little…off. Sometimes he would act like the Harry we know and love and other times, his actions made no sense to me. But most of the time he is the Harry we know. I just find it difficult to think Harry would ever in a million years tell his own son that he wishes he weren’t his son. That’s just completely out of character for him. It also pleases me, but I also find it ironic, that Harry is the Head of Magical Law Enforcement when he spent his childhood breaking the best of those laws. It is just funny to me.

Ginny Potter: She was pretty consistent with the book series and the play. She’s endearing and funny and caring and I just really love her character. I think J. K. Rowling was using the play a little bit to make up for her saying several years back that she wishes Harry and Hermione would have ended up together instead of Harry and Hermione.

Ron Weasley: Ron is still Ron through and through. He still uses the same phrases he’s used his whole life, he’s still funny and caring and a bit daft at times. Thank God he wasn’t changed in this play.

Hermione Granger-Weasley: Hermione is a mix of both. Sometimes she acts like herself and other times, she does something completely out of character. For instance, sometimes Hermione will be badass and caring and still my favorite character from the series and then she will do something stupid like make the time turner in a bookshelf with a super easy series of riddles. Hermione from the books would never do that. She would have that thing locked in a vault inside another vault inside another vault. It just was a bit out of character for her. Oh, and it pleases me immensely that she is the Minister of Magic!

Minerva McGonagall: I love this woman. She is exactly the way she was in the book series. She’s funny, sassy, sarcastic and just an all around great woman. It appalled me that Harry would disrespect her in the original ripple effect of the first time the boys went back in time. He said she couldn’t understand because she didn’t have kids and proceeded to order her around. It was completely horrific, but that ripple redeemed itself when she went into the library and the boys were under the cloak and she said, “Well, if I didn’t see you, then I didn’t see you.” I just love this woman!

Severus Snape: We finally got to see the good guy that Snape actually is! It was so cool to see him. He was funny and actually not a complete asshole. He really showed depth as a character when we saw him in this alternate timeline. He was touched by Harry naming his son after him and tells Scorpius he is glad he is carrying on his name. It was such a good scene to see him like this.

Delphi Diggory: I hate this bitch and I hope she dies in depair in Azkaban. I was suspicious of her in the beginning because what kind of adult lets too idiot teenage boys get a hold of the last known time turner and use it to change the past, knowing what happens when you change the past? Though I didn’t expect her to be Voldemort’s daughter, I definitely didn’t think she was who she said she was. I am just glad they caught her before she did something catastrophic.

Plot:

Before I get majorly into the plot, there were a few discrepancies that really bothered me, particularly in the King’s Cross scene at the beginning. We all know that was the scene from the end of Deathly Hallows. That’s how they started it, which is fine. In fact, I love that they started with that scene. But in the book, Ron and Hermione’s son is in that scene. Not only is he not in that scene in the play, but he isn’t mentioned whatsoever throughout the course of the play. He needed to be in that scene! Teddy Lupin was also supposed to be in the King’s Cross scene and he wasn’t, so that also bothered me.

James, Lily, and Rose aren’t in the play hardly at all. They are important characters and should have been more actively in the play. We  never see Neville Longbottom, who is the key to everything. He is the reason they defeated Voldemort. Hagrid was one of the most important and one of my personal favorite characters from the series and he wasn’t in the play either, except for that one scene in the past. That really bothered me.

But back to the events of the story, I really hated the pacing in the beginning. The really fast-paced version of the first four years of Hogwarts for Albus went by lightning fast and I hated it. They should have done something better because it was just awful. But prior to this, we see how Albus gets into Slytherin and he becomes friends with Scorpius and they are both looked at like Hitler’s children, which led to Albus being extremely hostile. Like he was another version of Voldemort in the making. (That’s what I was thinking, anyway).

After we meet Delphi, who I was suspicious of from the very start, Albus gets this bright idea that he needs to save Cedric Diggory from dying because apparently it was entirely Harry’s fault. He wants to go steal the time turner, the only one left in existence from the Ministry of Magic, and go back in time to save him. Naturally, he ropes Scorpius in with him and Scorpius doesn’t want to upset Albus, so he agrees, even if he isn’t at all comfortable with it.

So he, Scorpius, and Delphi brew a pollyjuice potion to turn into Ron, Harry, and Hermione. This was something that really bothered me. It took them way too short a time to make that stuff. From the books, we know that potion takes an entire month to make and it seemed like it maybe took them a few days, if that. But anyway, so they get into the Ministry of Magic quite easily and “Ron” AKA Albus distracts Hermione, who is the Minister of Magic, while the other two break into her office and try to find the time turner. This scene was actually pretty hilarious.

He completely blocks her, kisses her (mind you, she is his aunt) and talks about going on vacation or having another baby. It was pretty comical. He distracts her enough that they figure out that the time turner is somewhere in Hermione’s book case. She would never do this and this really bothered me. It just isn’t like Hermione. Anyway, they had to solve a bunch of ridiculously easy riddles and they got the time turner. So they decide that instead of going to Hogwarts, they are going to travel back in time to save Cedric.

The whole scene with the trolley witch was bizarre. She like is going to attack them and is ancient. She creeped the hell out of me. But, like idiots, they do travel back in time and take Cedric’s wand. I was almost screaming at the book in this scene because everyone knows that when you screw with time, it screws with you. How can bringing back one boy ever compensate for everything? They just made things worse. This screws up the timeline so that when they go back, they notice certain changes.

In this new alternate timeline, Harry is a hardass who thinks that Scorpius is the reason everything is wrong with the world, so he orders Ginny and McGonagall around to make sure they don’t allow Scorpius to be anywhere near Albus. Also, Albus is in Gryffindor. Ron and Hermione are not together, meaning Rose doesn’t exist. Ron married Padma Patil. Hermione is the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and she is pretty much the female version of Snape.

And like idiots, they never learn their lesson and they screw with time again by humiliating Cedric so he will lose. This actually caused my personal favorite part of the book. Pretty much, this caused Voldemort to win. Because of the humiliation, Cedric became a death eater and he killed Neville Longbottom who, if you remember, is the reason they won against Voldemort because he killed the snake. In this timeline, Harry is dead, so Albus does not exist (okay, this was only a minor thing that made me like this section. I can’t help it. I still think Albus is the most annoying little shit I have ever read about).

Snape is alive, Umbridge is headmistress, and Scorpius is the most sadistic motherfucker on the planet. Scorpius tries to fix it, so he explains all of this information to Snape about how he loved Lily and made a sacrifice to save them all and all of that. This gets Snape to trust him, who reveals that Hermione, Ron, and a few others are still fighting the good fight. He shows them to him and Scorpius tells them about the timeline situation and they want to help him.

Ron and Hermione sacrifice themselves (they get kissed by Dementors) so that Snape and Scorpius can try to get away, particularly Scorpius. He needs to get back to his own time. Snape tells him right before he is kissed by a Dementor that he is glad Albus carries his name on and Scorpius goes back in time and prevents himself and Albus from humiliating Cedric, thus setting the timeline back (not to the original one).

And like idiots, they want to go back in time and try to fix it (meaning Albus does while Scorpius is super apprehensive). Delphi shows up and, like a moron, Albus hands over THE ONLY KNOWN TIME TURNER IN EXISTENCE TO SOMEONE HE BARELY KNOWS. God, that frustrated me. So we learned she is really Voldemort’s daughter (I wasn’t all that surprised, honestly) and she is trying to recreate the timeline of Voldemort winning, so she forces them to go back in time with her.

Really need to mention another issue I had. We have been told throughout this entire play that the time turner prototype that they have only allows them to stay in the past for five minutes, but that rule seems to be completely out the window, especially in the Voldemort Day timeline. That was a pretty big plot hole.

They end up in Godric Hollow in 1981, the day Harry’s parents were murdered by Voldemort. They think she is going to kill Harry herself, so Scorpius and Albus realize they need to get a message to present day Harry. They put a message on Harry’s blanket and he sees it in present day. Harry, Hermione, Ginny, and Draco all go back in time with a finished time turner and realize Delphi isn’t trying to kill baby Harry. She is trying to stop Voldemort from going there at all so as to prevent the curse.

To stop her, Harry transfigures into Voldemort and after a bit, it starts to wear off, so Delphi figures it out. We learn that she apparently became a thing when some time in between the end of book 6 and the Battle of Hogwarts, Bellatrix Lestrange and Voldemort got together. This is also a plot hole because people would have known if that woman was pregnant. She would have shown. Draco would have known because she practically lived at his house. It just doesn’t make any sense.

Anyway, they end up getting the upper hand on her and she is gagged and put up towards the ceiling with a spell when Voldemort is going towards the house. Harry watches as his mother and father are killed. So Harry and Albus start to repair their relationship and everyone has a happy ending.

In the end, all is well.

My Thoughts:

I have very mixed feelings about this book. There were things that I think could have really improved and things I actually really liked. I had some problems with the characterization. I felt like the characters from the book series didn’t act like themselves at times and they just seemed a bit off. I found Albus to be extremely annoying and I just overall did not like his character. I really loved Scorpius’s character, however, and he was really worth the read. I hated the plot. It had so many plot holes and discrepancies, and it honestly seemed cliched and it just wasn’t a good choice for a plot.

I felt like a lot of things that happened in the play were a bit too convenient (like the time turner in the bookshelf). I really wish they would have put the side characters into this. I feel like James, Lily, Rose, and a few others should have been in this. I would have loved to see Rose’s character more because she reminds me a lot of Hermione and I just really wanted more for her.

I do think this story would have been better off as a novel. This isn’t because I think we deserve a novel. I think that this story would have made more sense as a novel. There were way too many plot holes due to the play format, I believe, and those could have been avoided had this been an eighth Harry Potter novel. There were times in this script when I thought Jo can’t have had any say in the matter because of how they conflicted with the book series and because they just did not make sense.

Overall, I did enjoy this, even if I did have a lot of problems with it. I even am bumping it up half a star upon reflecting on my feelings towards the book. I think this was over-hyped and severely cliched at times, but I still think that you should read it if you love Harry Potter.

6
3.5/5 hearts

And there you have it! That was my review of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. What was your favorite thing about this play? Mine was definitely the Voldemort Day timeline scene. It was really refreshing to see old characters and see the characters we saw in the original timeline act like themselves. And that is going to be it for this review today. Thank you all so much for reading this, I hope you enjoyed it, and I will see you next time.

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” by J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

  1. Great review!
    Whilst I am in the group of readers that I loved this book (mostly because of the nostalgia that is brought), I have to agree with a number of the points that you made. The characters, especially Harry, were sometimes inconsistent throughout the novel. You could see little bits of the old Harry that we love, but this adult Harry was not someone that I could sympathise with.
    I adored the friendship between Scorpius and Albus, but like you said, Albus was not the best main character. Although, I do love the way that these boys balance each other out. Their friendship was interesting to read about, and I’m in that group of readers that I really thought the two of them would get together. There was a chemistry there that I was certain the authors were developing. But, alas, that did not happen. Also, I don’t even want to talk about how often Albus disrespects his father, because that really annoyed me.
    I would definitely say that this is not the best book in the Harry Potter series by far. But to me, it was still an enjoyable read and it was nice to get back into the Harry Potter world. Once again, great review! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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