Book Review | Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by J.K. Rowling
This post contains spoilers for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. You’ve been warned.
(obviously spoken in a British accent)
Just thinking about this series of books and all the characters within makes me happy. I read all the books growing up, saw all the films in theater, went to the midnight bookstore release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows while in college, and my partner and I both have Deathly Hallows tattoos as our “couples tattoos.”
So when I heard about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child being performed, I was bummed I would never see it. Everything about it sounded amazing! And casting a black actress as Hermione? YES! All the yes.
When it was FINALLY announced that they would be publishing the play and the Muggle world (I’m just not on board with whole Non-Maj thing yet…I’m a Muggle, through and through!) would get to read it on July 31st, I was so excited! Even better, Powell’s was holding midnight release parties at three of their locations, with activities for people standing in line starting earlier that evening.
“Sweet,” I said to myself. “Midnight release, here I come!”
…But I forgot how old I am inside.
I no longer have it in me to stand in line for two hours, no matter how many HP trivia questions were asked. I own HP Trivial Pursuit and for all my love of Harry Potter, I fail dismally at recalling trivia bits. Sigh.
So at 12:10 am we got in the car and headed to Powell’s, hoping the line would be short.
There was still a sizable line, but it was moving quickly! There was some really great cosplay going on, including an awesome Ravenclaw student who looked fierce in her heeled boots that matched her cloak, and a Powell’s employee who was done up perfectly as Professor Trewlaney. There was a witch sitting outside with a trunk full of free cookies for any and everyone, and a giant poster where you could write down how HP has impacted your life. They had cutouts from the Daily Prophet that you could use for photo ops, and even a Harry Potter who was happily signing books for kids.
It was great!
We paid for our book (and for a chocolate frog, of course) and headed home since we both had to work in the morning. My partner blazed through the book first, since I was reading two other books, and then, two days later, it was my turn.
I started reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at 9am on my day off, and I was done by 1pm. Now I used to do theater in high school and college, so I’m totally down with reading plays. However it seems like a lot of people failed to realize that this was a play, not a novel. Sorry, not sorry- plays are awesome! And I LOVED it! But you can love something fiercely and still notice it’s flaws.
SPOILER ALERT: TURN BACK NOW IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT!
BUY IT, READ IT, AND THEN RETURN TO THIS PAGE AND CONTINUE READING!
First: I am SO happy that Harry has to deal with an angsty teenage son. And that Draco finally gets to be a good guy! (It’s not all about you, Harry!) Let’s not forget how freaking angsty and whiny Harry was while at Hogwarts, all “I’m the Chosen One,” and “no one understands what it’s like to not have parents! Well maybe Neville but I never give him his due!” and “I’m going to risk my life even though a bunch of people have died protecting me!” I mean, I love you Harry, but you were SUPER EMO sometimes. You’re lucky Albus found Scorpius, the true hero of this book, because without him he’d be lost. Just like without Hermione you’d totes be dead.
Which brings us to: what the fuck did they do to Hermione? Initially reading it I was all “heck yes Hermione is the Minister for Magic! Duh!” This makes perfect sense! And for being such an oddly matched couple, this play makes her and Ron’s life together seem to work. But then oh, stupid kids playing with Time Turners eff everything up, and when we meet Hermione again she is now the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor at Hogwarts. Which, okay, she would totally excel at! Yet she is not married to Ron in this version of history, and instead, she “really is quite mean” and takes points from Gryffindor immediately.
Because Hermione doesn’t marry Ron, she becomes a mean, nasty woman who seems to hate her job and her students. NOPE. Nope nope nope. Our Hermione would never become a jerk, especially not because she chose to stay single and be the first good Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher Hogwarts has, possibly ever, had. I OBJECT!
Next: the timeline is wonky. I didn’t put it together until after I read it and was discussing it with friends, but the whole bit with Hagrid getting Harry after his parents are killed-it doesn’t work because we know that Sirius was already there, right? I mean Hagrid has his bike! And when did Voldemort have time to sex up Bellatrix and make her his baby momma? Did she really give birth to his child before she was killed at the Battle of Hogwarts and she didn’t taunt the world with this knowledge that Voldemort had an heir? I think she would tell EVERYONE, even if it was with her dying breath! She would take great pleasure rubbing it in their Muggle-loving faces that a Lord Voldemort 2.0 existed.
And lastly…if you can transfigure into someone…why the fuck didn’t anybody use that handy trick in the entire series? It always came down to Polyjuice potion. WHEN DOES THIS BECOME A THING WIZARDS CAN DO?
However, a few of my friends who have read Cursed Child have hated the fact that Cedric, in one alternate past, becomes a Death Eater. “He would never!” they protest.
But I thought it was BRILLIANT!
All it took to change a popular jock (he’s much more than that, I know, but I’m simplifying here) to a Death Eater was being thoroughly and publicly humiliated? I feel it was pretty insightful. Think of all the “lone wolf” gunmen we have in the US who commit terrible crimes because they were rejected by women, or fired from a job, or felt they were never taken seriously. This hit home to me. Kudos, Cursed Child!
All in all, regardless of plot holes and their ridiculous portrayal of Hermione at one point, I honestly LOVED Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I can’t wait until the play itself tours and I can see it performed!