The Cursed Child
Author: Jack Thorne
Publisher: Little Brown
Synopsis from goodreads:
“It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.”
This book review will be a little bit different from my normal reviews because I have very conflicted feelings for this book – ahem, script – and I just don’t know how I feel about this story.
Harry Potter. Seven magnificent books and eight amazing films. Can it get any better? Maybe, maybe not but I am a believer of going out on a high and if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it. Yes we’d all love for certain series to carry on going or wish they had done just one more series or one more book. HP and the Deathly Hallows was perfect – some characters died yes, but it made it all the more real and in the end Harry defeated Voldemort and all was well.
ALL WAS WELL.
The last two lines of the book were: ‘The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.’
Just saying, those were two beautiful and perfect lines.
The Cursed Child is set 22 years later and after a few quick scenes of Albus getting on the train to Hogwarts, meeting Scorpius and another few snippets of his life in his first few years at Hogwarts, the story settles on Albus in his fourth year at Hogwarts and a rift is growing between him and his father. Harry and Albus don’t get on and the story shows their relationship struggle and Albus get into a considerable amount of trouble, supposedly because of this.
So far, I’m hopeful for the story. I’m thinking it will be interesting to read about the trio grown up because I loved the ‘nineteen years later’ bit at the end of Deathly Hallows where we learnt what became of them, so I was intrigued to see what jobs they had and if we’d see more of Draco, Neville and the other Weasley’s etc.
I was wrong. The entire story is based on just Albus and Scorpius happens to be there, so we see only Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione and Draco with the odd appearance of Professor McGonagall.
Amos Diggory makes a random and unexpected appearance and it’s from here the story takes a very unanticipated direction.
I warn you now that spoilers will be mentioned from here on so don’t read if you don’t want to see them!
(River Song in this gif perfectly demonstrates how I felt after reading this book.)
The story is essentially Albus wanting to bring back Cedric because he only died as he was in association with Harry and Albus blames Harry for his death (because I’m sure Cedric meant a lot to Albus, having met him only… never).
So off Albus goes to get a timeturner that the Ministry found (bringing them back after they were all destroyed are we?) and we see him take Polyjuice potion to get into the Ministry (because that hasn’t been done before) in order to retrieve the timeturner and him and Scorpius travel in time back to the Triwizard Tournament.
They decide to sabotage the tasks so Cedric will lose and ultimately fall out of the competition so he can survive and Amos can have his son back. You know, I was really taken aback by how much these boys care about Amos having met him only once and how much they desired to bring back his son. It works, and they go back to the future where Ron and Hermione haven’t married and they’ve messed up the future just a little bit.
But that’s not enough, so they go back to mess it up even more and before you know it, there’s a Voldemort Day and Harry lost the Battle of Hogwarts and Albus doesn’t exist and basically they have just totally screwed everything up, and for what? To get Cedric back? Don’t they know that time cannot be tampered with??
Scorpius is left to clean up Albus’ mess and we see a little appearance from Snape (which, I admit was quite nice) and he helps correct the whole thing and we are back in the present with everything all normal again. Yay!
But then Harry’s scar hurts AGAIN because Scorpius kept the timeturner he said he had lost so he and Albus can destroy it because they ‘don’t trust the Ministry’.
DESTROY THE BLOODY THING!
Here’s where Delphi comes in because she was sort of random and irrelevant for the first bit of the story – a character invented to just annoy the hell out of everyone because she has nothing to do with anything but oh is apparently Voldemort’s daughter.
I’m losing the will to live now.
Voldemort and Bellatrix had a daughter (gross) and it’s name is Delphi and all she wants to do is bring back Voldemort.
Oh great, another weird plot twist of a child and father messing things up because that’s what this book lacks.
So she grabs the timeturner and travels back to the day it all started – 31st October 1981 with the aim of stopping Voldemort from killing Harry. Everyone else goes back in time with ANOTHER BLOODY TIMETURNER THAT WASN’T DESTROYED and they solve everything.
Back to the present and everyone is alive who should be. Harry takes Albus to Cedric’s grave because apparently he goes every year because THIS is the death he cares the deepest about – not Lupin, Tonks, Fred or Dobby – all of which he sort of caused by not going to find out Voldemort in the forest sooner (obviously none of them are his fault because it’s the killer whose fault it is, but still he surely has more of a weight in their deaths than Cedric’s???) but Cedric, when all he did was offer to win the cup together having no idea that it was a portkey, is the death that affects him the most.
Cue end of script.
Well thank god that’s over.
I just can’t.
The story was not good at all. It used so many aspects from the seven books like Polyjuice Potion and timeturners when they could have introduced something new and exciting – the only good thing about it was Scorpius. I liked his sort of innocent character but I found Albus to be an annoying brat that says he doesn’t like all the attention his family gets for simply being ‘Potters’, but then he goes and seeks out adventure and danger for no real reason whereas Harry had all that thrust upon him and he had no choice but to save the world over and over. None of this would have happened if Albus had just not been an idiot.
Albus is just stupid and selfish and wanted some of his father’s limelight and he dragged Scorpius into it simply because he is his friend. Also, why was Scorpius rumoured to be Voldemort’s son? Sorry but what time did Voldemort have to procreate when he was busy planning to destroy the world and kill Harry?
Which brings me to Harry – the best character suddenly turned horrible. He says he wished Albus wasn’t his son, makes a comment about Professor McGongagall not having any children so she wouldn’t understand how he’s feeling and basically just behaves exactly the opposite to the character we came to know and love. Why change his character?!
In the end I decided to give The Cursed Child two stars purely because of the storyline and the weird direction it went in. The more I think about this story the more irritated I get and how it has ruined the Harry Potter universe. Why couldn’t they have done a play just based off the world and had completely fresh characters we didn’t know and have it be all about the magic? Why include this going back in time and messing everything up thing and having Harry say such horrible things to people he loves?
I imagine that the play is truly stunning to watch and yes I would love to go see it, just for the drama of theatre and not for the actual story that seems to have been conjured up from no where. I know there are people out there that probably absolutely loved the story and will take anything Harry Potter related and treasure it, but for me the story ended with ‘all was well’ and no amount of play scripts or even further book releases will change that.
The Cursed Child certainly isn’t a book I’ll cherish, but glare at and keep it well away from my beloved Harry Potter books. It seems to me that all these sudden things going on in the Harry Potter universe: The Cursed Child play, Fantastic Beasts and the release of its script also (just why?) is more money orientated than story-telling.
Having ranted my feelings on it, I will say this – it was great to be immersed in the magic again for the first time, but if they really want to extend the HP universe, then why not focus on the past that can’t change the lovely future we all had imagined up for the trio? The Cursed Child has ruined any sort of ending you as the reader conjured up to satisfy your coming to terms with the end of the series. I just wish they had been more imaginative when they wrote this script and not relied on past ideas to use. Also, I didn’t like how Scorpius’ mother died and it was really glazed over like he didn’t seem upset or anything and Albus didn’t seem to give two shits that his friend’s mother died.
The Cursed Child was not a triumph, nor was it good story-telling. And one last thing – why is there a kid sat in a snitch made out of twigs on the cover? And what is with all the twigs in the script??? Surely I’m the only one wondering what’s with all the twigs.
Let me know what you thought about TCC and whether you agree with anything I’ve said – let’s discuss!!
“When spares are spared, when time is turned, when unseen children murder their fathers: Then will the Dark Lord return.” – Jack Thorne and crew, The Cursed Child
Because why not add another prophecy? It hasn’t been done before.
“there is never a perfect answer in this messy, emotional world. Perfection is beyond the reach of humankind, beyond” – Jack Thorne and crew, The Cursed Child
That is a good quote though.