Thursday, 1 September 2016

Review: The Cursed Child by Jack Thorne & John Tiffany

The Cursed Child by Jack Thorne, John Tiffany & J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Publication Date: July 31st, 2016
Pages: 320
Series: Harry Potter #8
Source: Purchased
Rating: 2/5
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The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

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.

Like the rest of the world, I was counting the minutes until this next chapter in the HP universe was released. Went to the Midnight party, and stayed up into the wee morning hours devouring this play. As I was reading my thoughts were more along of the lines of !!!!!!!!. I finished and was like not amazing but great. And then I came out of my HP haze and was like nooooooo. So much terribleness and my good mood plummetted. This is why I had to let myself sit on this for a month before writing a review. I think I could have been really harsh after I did that emotional 180.

Any new Harry Potter is always going to make my life; having it connected to JK Rowling in some way, her being involved is like having your cake and eating it too. But at the end of the day, this isn't Rowling's work and it is NOT the 8th Harry Potter story. 

I have no doubt that seeing this on stage will bring about stronger emotions than just getting by with your imagination. Reading a script is easy but it doesn't give you the narrative an actual novel will. That really comes across when, like me, you know the original source material better than anything else in life. But I will admit just seeing the trio interact as adults are literally everything my heart desires. Draco and Ginny, of course, add to that dynamic. Being a parent and overcoming the past that won't leave you alone was never going to be easy for any of them.

Most importantly, McGonagall is still queen. #slay

Albus and Scorpius are definitely the show's stars(of course, I'm basing that off of a script, but I doubt I'm wrong) and by far really the only thing I liked about the script. Their friendship is glorious, which just adds to their complex characters. I love how they don't let their parent's old prejudices and history taint their first meeting. They are instant friends. And for both of them, living in the shadow of their parent's history, it's something they so desperately need. There isn't much to have to overlook when it comes to Albus and Scorpius's characters; they are sweet, endearing and really just trying to become their own selves.

As for the others, the ones we know and love, well I didn't love them here. This is 20 years later and they're still children. The flaws and immatureness they had as teenagers are still there. It's obvious that the writers just changed their age but didn't actually age them into adults. Harry is still rash. I mean he says some things to his child that is pretty much inexcusable. Hermione is Hermione as Minister of Magic, which isn't believable because she's making big mistakes and bowing down to people that shouldn't be. And if she was portrayed as a 40-year-old, instead of a 17-year-old in a 40 years old body she'd make a perfect Minster. And then there's Ron. My Ron. The Mr. Mom. The goofy comic relief. I will admit to laughing to some of his one-liners. But c'mon, this is not adult Ron we all imagined. He would not be okay with sitting back letting his wife be everything well he sits ideally by. Wasn't that the whole problem throughout the series? Remember Deathly Hallows? It's just glaring obvious that this isn't really the trio I love so much.

Unfortunately, the flow is a little wacky. It's pretty obvious that Rowling didn't write this. Honestly, the script is really poorly written. It's so simple; the dialogue. It's just not the same. It feels like a whack of fanfic tropes thrown together in one big mess. I don't care if Rowling came out and said this is canon. Has she forgotten the world she created? The characters? I refuse to take this for canon. The plot is sloppy and unbelievable. So much of the plot devices are head scratchers and just whys. The big one? WHAT THE HELL EVEN? I can't get behind it because it's unfathomable for a whole whack of reasons. Who would even think of that? It's gross.

My biggest issue is the missed "opportunity" at the end. I was honestly shocked and let down because I thought for sure I spotted all the signs of something that was being built up to be brilliant and wonderful. And then disappointment. Obviously being scared of what a few idiots would say kept the creators from exploring/adding something the original material is missing. This was something I was rooting for and very excited for as it was very clearly being developed throughout the script. I'm just really sad.

Of course, Harry Potter and nostalgia ultimately win. This is bittersweet. There's a part of me that wished I never read The Cursed Child. But I was also not going to. At the end, the release of this script was a cash grab. The smarter thing would have been releasing the play on DVD along with the script. I have no doubt that would have made me enjoy and appreciate this story a little more. 

Happy reading!



  1. I like your idea of releasing the script with a DVD of the performance. That would have been amazing! That's too bad this ended up being such a disappointment. I can see how a script would be a little flat and then it not being a JK Rowling book it just not feeling the same.

  2. Oh boy. Reading this makes me glad I had no desire to read it. Because I'm sure I would have been disappointed. I like the fact that Albus and Scorpius form a strong friendship despite the parents history but everything else sounds kind of lame. And I really don't understand how this is considered the 8th HP when JKR didn't even write it.