As a Harry Potter fanatic, I was thrilled to receive a copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for my birthday. It arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon and I finished reading it in one sitting.
While I know that fans of Harry Potter everywhere rejoiced when this book was announced, I think there’s some very important things to keep in mind before reading it. First: this is not a novel, it’s a script. I can hear you now, saying ‘Of course I know that, everyone knows that’. But here’s the thing: unless you’ve read a script before, you’ll probably be surprised to learn that %95 of it is entirely dialogue. No sweeping descriptions of castle grounds, or magical creatures, or Quidditch games. This entire thing is people talking to one another.
Another thing to consider: J.K. Rowling didn’t write this. Contributed to the story concept, yes. However, the script itself was written by Jack Thorne, and I think that he did a respectable job.
Finally, as an avid reader (and writer) of fanfiction, I can honestly say that most of the plot elements of this script read like a trope-filled fanfic.
For more of my review, read on. Be warned that there lie spoilers below the cut.
Yes, this reads like bad fanfiction. The stuff that you’re kind of ashamed of liking but stay up to read until two in the morning anyway.
Time-travel? Check. Voldy and Bella’s secret love child? Check. New female character with ‘original’ name and unnaturally multicoloured hair? Check. Bizarre moment with sinister character out of nowhere? Check.
Unashamedly, I loved this script.
While time-travel is a bit trope-y for my tastes, it was previously established as possible in canon. It was well-executed in the script, showing the vast and often unexpected consequences of meddling with time. I read voraciously through those pages and fervently wished for more. While reading I couldn’t help but imagine how brilliantly these scenes would play out on a theatre stage.
I loved Scorpius Malfoy’s character immensely. He’s a very likeable and relatable fellow, and a saint when it comes to his patience in putting up with Albus. It was his dialogue that I enjoyed the most – I would gladly read a Scorpius-centered novel or script.
Albus is kind of a pain in the bum. Full of teen angst, he’s very reminiscent of fifth-year Harry, lashing out at those around him. The difference being that Albus grew up in a happy home for eleven years and still persists with his ‘woe is me’ attitude. Overall he’s far less amiable than his best friend, who definitely has things far worse than he does.
Really though, the star of this script is the friendship between the two boys. As they grow older, they grow closer and learn valuable lessons from one another. As the script moves on, I even thought there may be a possibility for a romance between the two in their futures. (Those hopes dashed, of course, by Scorpius apparently fancying someone who had prejudicially hated his guts for years? Of course.)
While on the subject, Rose Granger-Weasley seems to be the sum of the worst of both her parents. Narrow-minded and prejudicial, she abandons her cousin when he makes friends with a boy she thinks is evil based solely on his parentage and sorting. She only approaches Albus when forced to by family or if she wants something.
We do get glimpses of adult Hermione, Harry, Ron, and Draco throughout the script as well. They’re certainly grown up now, sometimes with attitudes that may be seen as out of character for their younger selves. I wasn’t bothered by that, as ultimately, they’re not our heroes anymore – and like the adults in the original HP books, often act to stop our heroes with an ‘it’s all for the best’ attitude.
I said earlier that this read like bad fanfiction, and I stand by that statement. However, I loved every minute of this script! Will I re-read it? Yes. Will I illustrate my favourite parts? Yes.
Will I recommend it? Yes.
As long as you keep in mind those important points from earlier.