My Review of ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’
WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILERS AHOY FOR ANYONE WHO HASN'T READ IT AND CARES ABOUT NOT BEING SPOILED!!!
IF YOU DO READ IT AND ARE SPOILED, THEN WHY DID YOU DO THAT TO YOURSELF?
<takes out wand>
In short, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child begins 19 years after The Deathly Hallows, picking up exactly where the epilogue of the seventh book left off. Now, if you're expecting a prose-styled format, you will be in for a shock. It's not. It's written out in a screenplay format, as if they took the script of the play (that's what it was initially) and stuck it together and called it a book.
I...don't think I like the format. For starters, there's little to no description of the new characters so I've no idea what they're supposed to look like. For example, I imagine Harry looking exactly as he did at age 17 when he's in his late-30s/early-40s in this book. Nostalgia makes me feel for these characters but if I honestly had never read any of the previous seven books, I probably would not have given a single damned about any of them. Prose-style, like what...99.99% of books everywhere uses lets readers grow to understand and feel what the characters are thinking. Instead all we have are their words and sparse actions. I kind of understand why they're doing it, but I'm not sure if I have any emotional investment in their actions.
The whole theme revolves around the notion of parenthood and trying to come to terms with the actions of the parents. Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy have their own internal battles. Albus thinks Harry doesn't love him and is tired of being the son of the most famous wizard ever; and Scorpius has an even nastier history: there's a rumor that he's really Voldemort's child, not Draco's. The plot kicks off when they hatch a plan to steal a Time-Turner to go all the way back to the events of Goblet of Fire and prevent Cedric Diggory's death at the hands of Voldemort. Yes, you read that right. This isn't a Time-Turner that lets you go back hours, this takes you back YEARS.
Albus' motivation is, as I understand it, that he didn't think it was fair that Cedric had to die as he was “the spare”, so he figured he would correct this one mistake. He drags poor Scorpius into it, so I actually feel for the boy. I actually liked Scorpius more than Albus: Albus came off as your typical whiny “Whaaaa I don't like my daddy!” He actually reminded me of Kylo Ren from The Force Awakens to tell you the truth. Scorpius seemed like an innocent, decent kid with a lot of baggage he didn't ask for. Ironically, he reminded me strongly of Harry from the first book. Albus? I actually wanted Harry to pull a Vernon Dursley and punch the brat.
Speaking of the Dursleys, there is a very touching moment when it's revealed that Petunia Dursley had actually kept the blanket Harry was wrapped in as an infant after all these years. When she died, Dudley found it and gave it to Harry. And it was this scene that really made me wish Harry took a leaf from Vernon's book. Harry is trying to have a bonding moment with Albus by giving him the most important, personal thing second only to the Invisibility Cloak and Albus basically verbally shits on it, throws it against the wall and tells Harry to the effect of, “I wish I wasn't your son!”
At any rate, I was disappointed we didn't get to see Dudley. You'd think with all the theme of parenthood, family, and reconciliation, we'd get to see Dudley. Maybe he invites the Potter family to his house for dinner and we learn what's been happening to him?? Nope, we just get one brief mention of him and we don't hear of him again. GAH! What happened here? Clearly the two reconciled, otherwise Harry wouldn't be speaking so fondly of him. I know they had the handshake when they parted in the seventh book but I wanted to know more! >:C
Back to the plot, the whole “going back in time to save Cedric” basically screws with time. Albus and Scorpius accidentally create alternate realities where Hermione is a professor at Hogwarts, or a darker reality where Voldemort won and a new age of Darkness has dawned. It's explained that because they intervened and made Cedric lose the first two tasks, history changed so it's kind of like the Butterfly Effect? I dunno, but I fail to see how Cedric losing the first two matches would change anything. As I understand it, Cedric was never meant to grab the Portkey that got them to the graveyard so even if he lost, things would play out the same only Cedric wouldn't be dead.
As for Harry himself? Well, I can understand his stress because his own son's missing (note: the subplot is Harry and the other characters we've known from the main series trying to find Albus and Scorpius) but there were moments I felt he acted way out of character, such as threatening frickin' McGonnagal that he'd use his entire power as a Ministry agent on her and Hogwarts if she didn't use the Maurader's Map to keep track of his kid. I thought, “Who are you, and what have you done with Harry?” At one point, Draco confronts him and basically goes, “WTF?! You go into Hogwarts, threaten two professors, re-arrange school timetables so our sons can't be together...on the word of a centaur??!” I actually agreed with Draco here, even began to sympathize with him when Harry starts implying that Scorpius is dangerous. Wow, good job Harry. Draco's sick with worry over his son's safety, he's trying to quell rumors that his son is the child of the wizard equivalent of Adolf Hitler and you have to pull that? Come to think of it, Draco and Scorpius actually reminded me more of Harry from the main series than Harry himself did! I'm not sure if that was the intent or not but...damn. At times I found myself wishing the play was more focused on the Malfoys rather than the Potters as I felt both Draco and Scorpius had more to lose, not that I'm saying Harry and Ginny's issue of “OH MY GOD OUR SON IS MISSING!!!” is trivial of course. I'm just saying that these two had more issues to work with, what with Draco's dad being a Death Eater, him becoming a widower, and having to deal with the vicious rumors about his son being Voldemort's child.
The finale? Well, this is Harry Potter after all, and the whole plot focused on the kids trying to alter a very important moment in Harry's life so...I'm gonna let you all fill in the blanks. Suffice to say, I...felt kind of let down with the book. I liked Scorpius, but most of our attention was on Albus, the annoying brat.
So...I'm gonna have to rate this book a 5/10. :[
To anyone else who read it, what are your thoughts??
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