Welcome back to There’s Always Time for a Book. Today’s blog is on J.K. Rowling’s The Cursed Child which is the sequel (kind of?) of Harry Potter. The book is actually a revised script because the story is a play and not a fully-formed book which made it very new and interesting read. Lots of people seemed to dislike this type of writing and found it hard, but I’m very used to reading scripts and loved the change! Now, before I start the review I need to state that I have NOT seen the play and everyone I know who has read the script said that the show was a gazillion times better so please don’t be put off going to see it (if you ever can, I think tickets are booked years in advance!) just from me reading the play. I know I shouldn’t judge this play on the Harry Potter books but it’s hard not to… I think that may be the main problem that I had with reading it and probably explains my slightly unenthusiastic review. My main point of this review is that although Rowling was obviously present whilst it was being written, it is VERY clear that she did not write the Cursed Child.
I give this play 3/5 for how put-down-able it was. Although the story is new and exciting, it’s actually pretty repetitive and I wasn’t gripped at all to find out what happened. This was very unlike my reaction to Harry Potter and I found that a massive shame.
I give the Cursed Child 2/5 for characters. Initially, I thought it was very exciting to see the Harry Potter lot grown up and have a snapshot of their lives but the end result was… disappointing. As I’ve said, it was very clear that Rowling did not write this and I found this most obvious when reading the characters we know so well. The only main character (of Harry, Ron, Hermione, Draco and Ginny) that I felt was similar was Ron and that’s because Ron’s Ron and he’s not particularly complicated in the first place. Ginny was similar in the sense that she was boring and unnecessary. Harsh, I know, but I’m a huge anti-Ginny person. In terms of Harry, Draco and Hermione it felt like I was reading about entirely new characters! Their language, story line and characteristics were completely unrealistic and unlike they ever were in the original books. I know it’s been 19 years but there is no way that Draco would ever call Harry a friend… I mean, really.
This play gets 2/5 for originality. At first I thought that the new twist on the characters was really clever and exciting. For example and not to give too much away, Harry’s son is in Slytherin and is best friends with Draco’s son. Ooo, I thought. However, apart from the little quirks in the story the whole play is incredibly unoriginal. It’s a classic tale of time-travel leading to mistakes etc etc. We’ve been there and done that so many times and was it really the best story that could be created for the new Harry Potter?
The Cursed Child gets 3/5 overall. I really didn’t enjoy reading this play. The characters were nothing like their Harry Potter selves, the story was boring and overdone and the overall plot line was actually just a bit depressing…
My favourite part was the little quirks that were thrown in such as Hermione being Minister for Magic and Draco being an ever-present character in Harry’s life. I cannot be the only one who finished the Deathly Hallows desperately needing to know more about Harry, Ron and Hermione’s lives after 19 years and the play does deliver a good snapshot (occasionally) into what their lives are like. Hermione as Minister for Magic is top notch.
My least favourite part was that Harry is suddenly a pretty rubbish dad and is constantly depressed. I’m sorry, what? He fought the Dark Lord seven years in a row and managed to have a laugh, so why is he suddenly an average dude who can’t even have a conversation with his son? Nah, sorry, don’t believe it. This dynamic was one of the main reasons that after I’d finished the play I just pretended it was fan fiction that didn’t actually follow on from the original stories.
You may think this review is harsh and I would agree with you, but I really did feel let down. I have a lot of good things to say about it, but it wouldn’t be an honest review if I didn’t say how much it didn’t work. I think that’s the best way to put it actually… it just didn’t work. The characters were too different, the story didn’t gel and overall it was just very average. However, I have been informed that I’m not the only person to think this and that when I see the play (fingers crossed!) my mind will be blown and I will completely change my mind. Here’s hoping!
Credit to https://www.pottermore.com/cursed-child for the photo.