Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (#8) by J.K. Rowling and Jack Thorne
Here it is!!! Finally – my review for “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”!!! Now, I’ve
definitely heard some major amount of mixed reviews for this, so I want to start by saying that this review is entirely my own opinion. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and you are more than welcome to disagree with mine. That being said, let’s keep the comments section full of friendly dialogue/debate, rather than not please 🙂
I wanted to address my rating. Yes, I rated this 5-stars and yes, as you read my review – you will see that that may not feel like it aligns. I rated this based on what it is: a SCRIPT BOOK, rather than a novel. Just like I will rate graphic novels a little differently, I feel that this deserved the same system. This is a script book and not a full novel, which I made sure to constantly remind myself before receiving it in the mail. It being a script book means that there will be a number of differences and it won’t read like a regular novel. For what it was, I very much enjoyed it and had so much fun! I cannot wait to actually see it in play form because I am excited to see how it plays out (hehe, yes…that pun was totally intentional, hehe).
Overall, I had a lot of fun – it was definitely wonderful to be back in this world that I love so much. I grew up reading Harry Potter – I was about 10/11 when the first book came out, so I definitely got to grow up with Harry which makes this series mean so much more to me. I honestly wasn’t expecting greatness with this story, as it wasn’t a full novel, so for what it was – I had a lot of fun and I enjoyed it.
There will be a bunch of spoilers throughout the rest of this review, so I urge you to not to read on, if you haven’t read this yet. I don’t want to ruin it for you and I want to #KeepTheSecrets because I really do want everyone’s experiences to be their own. So, if you’ve read this, read on! If not, GO READ IT!!
Now, let me begin at the beginning! Duh. I loved that this left off right where the 7th book ended, with the cast that we know dropping off their kids at the Hogwarts Express. I love that we get to immediately meet this new cast of characters and start to see similarities to our cast, but also major differences.
We start with our protagonist, Albus Potter, who is clearly feeling uneasy about his journey to Hogwarts. Albus’ older brother, James, seemed to have followed quite nicely in their fathers’ footsteps, but Albus is feeling a little off, which I actually really dug. While their relationship was so difficult to read because it pained me, I really appreciated the difficult relationship between Harry and Albus. I’ll get into that more though. On the train, we also get to see Rose Granger-Weasley, who truly embodies the lovely Hermione, and we get to meet Scorpius Malfoy. I have to address the elephant in the room – at first, I actually hated all of the childrens’ names…hahaha!!! It felt like really bad fanfiction to me, at first. They all grew on me, though, as I continued to read.
When we meet Scorpius (who is freaking adorable, by the way!) we learn a most odd backstory about him and his family. We immediately learn of a rumor that Dracos’ wife, Astoria, went back in time and had a child with Voldemort…? Yep. If you’re reacting in the same way that I did, you are most certainly NOT ALONE. I was immediately taken aback by this addition to the story and didn’t understand how it made sense? Or why it was even necessary? Apparently, Astoria was sick and therefore, had to go back in time to have her child with Voldemort because she potentially wasn’t going to make it in the present time? It’s all very odd and it makes it feel even more like weird Harry Potter fanfiction. Aside from that, I loved Scorpius’ character – I loved that Dracos’ son was very opposite Draco when he was young. Scorpius is a little awkward, very shy, and very kind. I really enjoyed getting to see different personalities within the different houses, that we didn’t really see with the original 7 books.
So, we get to Hogwarts and Albus is sorted into……..SLYTHERIN!!!!! WHAT?!?!? I know…I know…I know… Now, was I actually super surprised by this? To be completely honest, no. I had a sneaking suspicion that something like that would happen when Albus was so worried about it at King’s Cross and the vibes that I was getting from his relationship with Harry. Now, we don’t see a ton of their school time which was a bummer, as we fast-forward into Albus’ fourth year. Over the course of the fast-forward, though, we catch snippets of Albus seemingly fall deeper into a darker personality and more distant from Harry. We see Harry truly struggling to relate with Albus and when they have their confrontation of not wanting each other in the others’ life – my itty bitty Harry Potter heart broke. As I mentioned earlier, though, I did appreciate this past of the story as it shows how not perfect our heroes can be. Our heroes are portrayed to be these people who are nearly perfect and have things just handed to them. Don’t get me wrong – I am definitely not saying that Harry was perfect or just had things handed to him, BUT to be the child of Harry Potter has got to be a huge burden that I don’t think Harry really delves into with Albus. Clearly, Albus is struggling to live up to his fathers’ name and Harry doesn’t seem to acknowledge that struggle or validate it. All to say, I wasn’t surprised at their rift and appreciated what it did for both their characters.
Now, the main conflict of this story – this is where things get kind of weird again. Time-turners are now illegal and all have been destroyed. There are a few rogue time-turners out there, which Harry runs out to apprehend. Hermione is the MINISTER OF MAGIC, which I was so super excited about! SLAY! I digress – time-turners are destroyed and illegal, but Harry apprehends one and turns it in to Hermione, who keeps it? Odd, I know. Amos Diggory (yes, Cedrics’ father) shows up to Harrys’ home one day, demanding the time-turner to use to go back and save Cedric. o_0 Yep…that was the face that I was making too. Harry insists that they don’t have the time-turner and even if they did, that he wouldn’t go back. Amos goes on about how unjust Cedrics’ death was and shouldn’t Harry want to go back and right this wrong? While this was a little odd, it definitely got me emotional and brought me back all the Goblet of Fire feels. Amos is accompanied by his niece, Delphie, who seems to operate as his caretaker. Of course, Albus overhears this confrontation and then chooses this as his hill to die on.
Yep, Albus convinces Scorpius to go back in time with him to right his fathers’ greatest wrong and bring Cedric back. Now…do we all remember the rules of time travel and why time travel is such a scary thing to mess with? Yeah…could someone have given these two a lesson? Jeez. Anyways, they team up with Delphie and agree to go back in time to the Triwizard Tournament, to stop Cedric from being killed. The first two times they go back, however, they come back to the most horrible of situations.
The first time, Hermione and Ron aren’t married, which means that Rose doesn’t exist. Harry and Albus’ relationship is even more severed than it is in the present. The second time, Harry is dead and Voldemort won, and we see a world where that could’ve been possible. During this second time, since Harry is dead – Albus no longer exists, which leaves Scorpius to figure things out. This was probably my favorite part of the story. In this altered reality, Scorpius is at Hogwarts where Umbridge is Headmistress and Voldemort rules the land. Scorpius runs into Snape (yep, cue feelings) who is helping to lead an underground rebel group with Hermione and Ron (yep, again, cue feelings). Scorpius’ run in with Snape got me in all the feels as he shared with Snape that Harry names his son after him and all the other great things that became Snapes’ legacy. Got my feels!!! An epic battle ensues and we see Hermione, Ron, and Snape get their souls sucked by the Dementors (again, cue feelings). Scorpius is able to escape, fix what he needs to fix, and get back to the present with Albus!
They come back to the present and tell the adults what they were trying to do. They ask for the time-turner back, in order to destroy it. However, we learn that Scorpius actually kept the time-turner and as the boys were about to go destroy it, they are corner by Delphie who we learn is not the niece of Amos Diggory, but the true daughter of Voldemort!!! -_- Yep…if you made that face, you’re not alone. Delphie was using Amos, in order to get the time-turner to be presumably go back and kill Harry, so that Voldemort would win. We learn that Delphie is the daughter of Voldemort and…get this…Bellatrix Lestrange! Now, while this is all kinds of weird…this also weirdly makes sense. Delphie takes them back in time to the final challenge of the Triwizard Tournament where Cedric actually saves THEM (cue feelings) and for some reason, the time-turner doesn’t take them back to the present, but takes them even further back in time? They end up going all the way back to 1981 in Godric’s Hollow, where we assume that Delphie then wants to make sure that Harry was never a problem to begin with. Scorpius and Albus panic and try to figure out how to send a message to the present to ask for help. They somehow get Harry’s old baby blanket and write a message onto it, and at that precise moment, Harry is holding that same blanket and receives the message? The gang is able to go back in time and meet with Scorpius and Albus. As the story continues, we learn that Delphie doesn’t want to kill Harry, but simply wants to meet Voldemort. Harry then transfigures into Voldemort and presents himself as a decoy to Delphie, when they are able to capture her. Yes…..all this was as weird as it sounds….I am not entirely sure how it worked? I didn’t hate it…but it was definitely weird.
The most feelings part of this story was after this weird Delphie story. After they captured Delphie, they realized that Voldemort was still coming to kill Harry. We watch as Harry has to watch Voldemort kill his parents and can’t do anything about it. Harry stands with Ginny and Albus, as he experiences that night hearing the cries of his parents. It’s heartbreaking and re-captures a lot of the feelings that we have throughout the original story as we understand the hole in Harrys’ life without his parents.
All in all, the story was definitely odd. I acknowledge, though, that it’s not what I know and it’s not my Harry Potter story. That being said, I think it worked? I had a lot fun and I greatly enjoyed being back in a world that is so near and dear to my heart. I am very intrigued to see what this looks like in actual play form and I cannot wait to see it!!!! It’s coming to the States!!!! Wheeee!!! I think as a play, the story may play out better – I think a lot of the story was just odd to read in script form. I wouldn’t have even minded something like this in novel form, if it was more built out. I think there are a lot of cues and things that we miss reading the script and not seeing it acted out.
Hence my 5-star rating. Was it the best thing that I’ve ever read? No. Did it feel like Harry Potter fanfiction? Yep. But admit it – you all love Harry Potter fanfiction too! 😉 I had fun and I was incredibly grateful for another Harry Potter story! 🙂 ❤