I know this is probably going to piss off a lot of people but let’s remember it’s just one person’s opinion and opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. There will be spoilers so if you haven’t read/watched Harry Potter and the Cursed Child yet and don’t want to ruin it for yourself then STOP. I’m serious. I’m going to spoil the shit out of this play.
I’ve watched the Harry Potter movies before reading the books but I love them both (but yes, the books are better). I like the movies because they bring the magic to life but around the third film they start to deviate from the books. The books only got more detailed and complicated in their plots so I understand that not everything could be included. I had an account on Pottermore and was sad when they changed it to what it is now. For me, it’s not as enjoyable. I’ve been to the Harry Potter area of Universal’s Islands of Adventure and have made Harry Potter crafts. I’m currently reading Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and will eventually see the movie. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m a Harry Potter fan and have my own relationship with the brand and its characters.
Of course I was going to read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. The play in London is sold out for until the end of time so that has be something right? My curiosity wanted to know if it was sold out because it had “Harry Potter” in the title or if the story was good. I knew right away I wouldn’t be purchasing the new title and and I was in no rush to read it. For one, I’ve never been one to stay up until midnight for a book release. Two, I had my reservations.
- It’s based on a story created by J.K. Rowling , Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany. Having co-authors could make it easier to come up with new ideas but all of the other books are solely by Rowling. Why bring in others to help write a story for characters you’re intimately familiar with? “Based on” is the equivalent to “inspired by” in my opinion.
- It’s a play. Rowling said she “is confident that when audiences see the play they will agree that it is the only proper medium for the story.” Plays are meant to be seen so you’re not going to get the full feeling just by reading it.
- It feels like a cash grab. With more books and movies from the Potter Universe coming out and the change in Pottermore, it just feels like she’s trying to milk the cow for every last drop and then make leather out of its hide.
Did any of the above stop me? No. I placed a hold at my local library and waited. I was number 70-something in early August and without knowing the speed of the patrons ahead of me and with checkout being 14 days, I settled in for a long wait. I waited just under a month for my turn at Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and in the end I thought the whole thing was unnecessary.
I’ll admit that it’s been a while since I’ve reread the Harry Potter series but the impresions those characters make are lasting. The Cursed Child focuses more on the children of Harry and Ginny, Ron and Hermione, and Draco and Astoria Malfoy. I got a good impression of their children but it’s not them I had an issue with. It’s with their parents — the aged heroes.
Every time I read a part with Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione, or Draco I didn’t feel like it was them. Sure, they have gotten older and changed but shouldn’t there be some familiarity? I didn’t feel it. I felt like they acted so different than the characters I know that they could have been completely new wizards and that wouldn’t have made a difference.
- We’re told that Harry is now the Head of Magical Law Enforcement and that he has work piled up on his desk. Having gone through all the shit he’s gone through, shouldn’t he know the importance of keeping up with the reports to know what’s going on? Not to mention that as the head of any department you shouldn’t be behind in your work. Don’t be a shitty Head of Magical Law Enforcement, Harry!
- Maybe it’s just me but I never got a sense of who Ginny is from the books and I didn’t get a better sense from the play. So she’s a supportive spouse and loving mother. How very generic. She came off as very plain, boring, and almost unnecessary.
- Ron apparently helps run Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. Which is fitting because not only does he run a joke shop but he is a joke. He may not be my favorite character but Ron is a capable wizard who used to be an Auror. In Cursed Child we see him downgraded to this silly person who I would pick last for my army for the Battle of Hogwarts. During the timeline when he’s married to Padma he’s a spine-less character. Why did they have to make him so weak? I know he’s not the best wizard but damn. Leave the man his balls.
- The HBIC is Hermione as Minster of Magic. Honestly, that wasn’t a surprise given her driven, know-it-all personality but she came across like a workaholic spouse and mother. I think Ron would have totally called her out for spending too much time at work or bringing it home. I absolutely hated her character during the alternate time line. Without Ron she falls apart and becomes a spinster? No. That’s not the Hermione I know.
- Truthfully I think Draco is the only character I didn’t really have a problem with. He was always a jerk and still is but now he’s a jerk with a soft side and that was interesting. He was the only parent of the bunch that felt like a real parent to me because the others were either flaky or concerned about work.
- First and foremost, what the fuck is the obsession with Cedric? I get that they needed something as the catalyst for the plot but I think the hunt for the time turner might have been more adventurous than a giant “what if” story.
- His relationship with Albus is a damn mystery to me. It’s strained, Harry feels distant, and they don’t connect. I don’t believe Harry would have been this kind of father. This doesn’t fit my idea of what kind of husband and father would have grown to be. Harry lived with relatives that didn’t hide the fact that they didn’t like, love, or want him and he felt that. I believe he would have made sure to shower his children with love and affection and to connect and support them.
- I literally thought Delphi was a ghost. She seemed to pop into scenes without any real reason or introduction. Knowing Rowling and her love of foreshadow I knew Delphi was going to play a larger part. It was obvious but I seriously thought the chick was a ghost. Unlike Rowling’s usual organic foreshadowing, Delphi seemed forced and out of place.
- The candy witch? Were they high or something when they came up with that? Oh, she prevents students from leaving. Well, she should be fired because she failed miserably. Wouldn’t it be easier to place a charm or spell on the train that only allows students to leave when they’ve reached their destination. What is this candy witch bullshit?
- Voldemort and Belatrix. Are you fucking serious? Voldemort would not have sex, not for love and not to produce an heir. Why? So he has a legacy? Isn’t that why he wanted the Philosopher’s stone? Even as a backup, I think he would try to magic a baby into someone instead of having to be intimate with them. An interesting theory was suggested by my friend who said that his penis fell off with his nose. No penis = no baby. However, all of this baby nonsense is contingent on the fact that old Voldey get over his parental resentment.
The Elephant in the Room
Rowling has said that the play will be new and won’t be a rehashing of previous plots (‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’: Everything you need to know). Sorry, the Triwizard Tournament, Cedric, and Voldemort are all previously explored. Taking us back to those events even if it is with different characters to see them from a different perspective is rehashing.
The play is used as a vehicle to explore a bunch of ‘what if” questions. What if Cedric didn’t die? What if Voldemort won? What if Ron and Hermione didn’t get together? Let’s take all these fan questions and work them out. Let’s show them that the original ending is the only possible ending. The play is a giant fucking what-if rehash!
Curiosity Killed the Cat
I said at the beginning that i was curious to know why the play was sold out. Was it because it had “Harry Potter” in the title or was it legitimately good. If you couldn’t figure out by now how I feel about The Cursed Child then this will come as a surprise. I think it’s popularity is solely due because it’s stamped with Harry Potter.
These characters and plot could have used anyone and anything. They simply used the characters from the series to gain an instant following. The only thing familiar were the names and the setting but I don’t feel that the motives were those of the characters that we know. It’s a bad sequel.
The Wrap Up
It’s a short read. I read it within a week, maybe three days. A friend took over a month to finish it and only finished it because of me. Why? Because I kept texting her my reactions and she wanted to know what they were for. Mind you my reactions were mostly of the “ugh” and “wtf” variety.
Despite my aversion to the play I am likely to see it should it ever come to the states. Plays are meant to be seen and I know I missed something by reading it. Maybe it makes more sense seeing it. Maybe all the special affects help to cover up the unfamiliar characters and odd plot. Maybe.
I read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and didn’t like it because the characters felt unfamiliar, Voldemort had a kid with Belatrix (I am still confused with this decision), and it was giant “what if” story. And yet, I’d still go see the play.