I told myself that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was beyond the capability of being rated or reviewed, but the more days that go by after I finished this the more I can’t help myself.
A couple of things. First, I never wanted to read what is being called “the eighth Harry Potter story.” I like to think of myself as a Harry Potter purist. I read the series roughly once a year, although occasionally I skip a year here and there. I genuinely went through a multi-year grieving process after the seventh book was released after Rowling repeatedly said that Harry was finished. And, when it felt like I had finally come to terms with things being over, this happened. Not cool. Second, I had to completely dissociate the “eighth installment” from Harry Potter as I know and understand it before I felt ready to pick up Cursed Child. Like I said, I had no plans to read it, but a friend of mine mailed me a copy – so how could I not.
Here is a brief plot synopsis without spoilers: Harry Potter’s middle son Albus Severus sets off for his first day at Hogwarts where right off the bat he befriends Malfoy’s son, Scorpio and gets sorted it into Slytherin – oh damn. Interesting detail: Scorpio is the rumored secret child of Voldemort – yes, THE Voldemort – somehow the product of a love affair conducted via time turner. Not sure on the details/practicality of that, as they were not explained. Albus and Scorpio pursue a fast and isolated friendship that feels very similar to Snape and Lily’s. We fast forward a few years to when the boys are 14. Both are unpopular at Hogwarts, not great at lessons, and not good a sports; Albus has a rocky relationship with Harry. Meanwhile, one sole time turner is rumored to have survived, and is in Hermione’s possession. Albus, for motives that were not entirely clear to me, is hell bent on going back in time to save Cedric Diggory from dying. Rookie mistake. Remember Nearly Headless Nick’s v. serious conversation with Harry after Sirius died, anyone???? What ensues is, ultimately, an entirely pointless drama of time travel.
Sounds ridiculous? You should read the entire thing.
I have a lot I could say/complain about, but I will limit it to one main thing: these didn’t look or feel like the characters that I’ve known for the past 17ish years of my life (wow i feel old). A lot of developments in the 19 years between the Battle of Hogwarts and Albus Severus on his first day of Hogwarts seem pretty implausible. I don’t buy that Hermione would want to be Minister of Magic, let alone work for the ministry at all, for example. Ditto for Harry. Ron is kind of a blundering idiot and for some reason running the twins’ joke shop? Nope. The behavior, dialogue, etc. of Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Malfoy, etc. didn’t at all feel authentic to me. I think that was most disappointing to me that was I felt like if I was going to go there, I wanted to feel like I was reconnecting with old friends. Obviously Rowling didn’t write this, but I guess I wish it had felt like her even if it couldn’t be her.
Also, I just want to say, Albus did not act like a fourteen year old in the SLIGHTEST. More like forever eleven.
Here’s what I will say. I agree with most reviews that say this is like fanfic. If you’re a HP purist but you’re curious, go for it. It won’t ruin you and it’s sort of entertaining in an omg-can-you-believe-this way once you separate it from it from the Harry Potter that you know.