Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany & Jack Thorne

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany & Jack Thorne

I made the mistake of thinking Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was written by J.K. Rowling. It is not. And even though it’s supposed to have been based off a short story by Rowling, and it appears she has sanctioned this play, I was very disappointed in this book.

Some Background

My husband and I are both HUGE Harry Potter fans. We read the series out loud together early in our dating life (and then later when the last book came out), and we’ve listened to the audiobooks numerous times since then – together and apart. (I’d previously read the first 3 books in the series in college and re-read them all as each new book came out.)

When this play was announced, I originally wanted to go to London this summer for one of the early shows. Knowing that was a little crazy, I instead pre-ordered the script when it was announced. I knew we’d have to read this play together – just like old times.

The Format

The play itself isn’t hard to read. It’s mostly dialog which is my favorite part of many books anyway. It was a little tricky to read aloud because unless my husband was looking over my shoulder, I had to read the character names before reading their lines. I don’t do voices.

The Good

There’s very little I liked about the play. In fact, I’d like to pretend I never read it. I am going to treat it the same way I treat the one fan fiction book I read a couple of years ago, like just that – fan fiction. Even though Rowling gave the idea for this story, I am not going to treat it as canon.

That being said, I was happy with the jobs that Harry, Hermione, and Ginny ended up with. Ron, not so much. One of the additional things I wanted from the epilogue at the end of book 7 was to know what careers the main characters ended up in.

And Albus and Scorpius were really cute. I liked this new generation friendship. Their banter reminded me of Ron and Hermione in the earlier books.

And that’s about it.

The Bad

Without giving anything away, I will say the following:

  • The original characters seemed really out of character. Draco was about the most believable.
  • I hate time travel stories that mess with the original plot line. If it didn’t always happen that way, then it’s not possible. This book changed too many things, too many times.
  • They messed with the way some magical things worked. Time turners don’t need to be touched; they need to be around the people’s necks. Polyjuice potion isn’t brewed overnight, and it requires a hair of the person you’re transforming into. For me, Harry Potter has always been about the details, and they messed with the details with this play.
  • Harry is married to Ginny now. Hermione to Ron. Ron and Ginny should not have been on the outside of all of the action. Their marriages were too flat.
  • And the big reveal about Delphi? No. Just no. I didn’t buy it.

Conclusion

This play probably makes a better play. If I’d seen it live first, I think I would have just loved seeing the characters brought to life – new and old. I wouldn’t have cared so much about the story (maybe). But reading it as “the eighth Harry Potter” book was just a mistake. Sadly, that’s what I did, and my opinions and rating reflect that misconception.

Rating: 2 Stars

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two
Harry Potter #8
John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
Young Adult Fiction
Little, Brown UK
July 31, 2016
Hardcover
343

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

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.

You may also like

10 Comments

  1. I liked it, but I totally get where you’re coming from, too. I would add the weirdness of the Trolley Witch to the bad list, as well as the fact that some huge characters get left out (Neville! Luna!). I think I ultimately went with four stars because I can imagine that this would be really amazing on stage, even if it doesn’t read as well in print, and probably because I have a hard time being truly objective when it comes to anything HP-related. Does your not so stellar experience with Cursed Child make you less excited for the Fantastic Beasts movies?

    1. Yes, Grace, I forgot about the Trolley Witch part. So weird! I think Neville was mentioned, but I agree if there goal was to include the old characters, he and Luna should have been in it. I also thought it was weird that James wasn’t in the story at all, except at the beginning. He was at Hogwarts too – as were Lily and Rose’s brother (whose name I cannot remember).

      As for Fantastic Beasts, let’s just say that I am a little more apprehensive about it. I am definitely going to see it, and luckily I don’t have 7 books to compare it to since it’s a prequel. But I am nervous. How about you?

      1. Yeah, I’m kind of nervous… I know that JKR did the screenplay, so that’s encouraging, but some of the Pottermore content released about American wizardry has me wondering what to expect. I know nothing will ever come close to the originals, and that’s okay. I’m like you – I’ll always be re-reading the books and re-listening to the audiobooks again and again.

        1. Yeah. Because this new movie series will take place in America, I think I’ll be OK if it doesn’t meet my expectations. She won’t be messing with the original characters at least this time. We’ll see in 2 months! 🙂

  2. I think fan fiction is a pretty fair description of it. The number one rule of fantasy world-building is to make your world logical. It has to make sense. You can’t just change the way things work (like Time Turners and Polyjuice Potion), and expect readers (especially huge fans, like most HP lovers) to not notice. I also totally agree that I probably wouldn’t have noticed any of that to begin with if I had seen it as a play first. And I’m really curious how they pull off some of that stuff in a play! Lastly, I loved Scorpius! He’s a very welcome addition! 🙂

    1. Yes, great explanation, Julie. I’m sure the play is better. And, I also loved Scorpius. I wish it had just been a fun story about him and Albus going on their own adventure – not at all related to what happened in the original series. Oh well.

    1. I’m curious to know what you think not expecting as much as I did. My sister loved it – 4 stars, but she’s not quite as huge of a HP fan as Jim and I are. 🙂

  3. My husband and I are also big HP fans – we saw Deathly Hallows Part One on our first date. He outright refused to read the play, however – and I think he was probably smart to avoid it. I agree that the details are the best part of the series, and that the play was much less careful with those.

    1. I think Jim might have passed on the play too if I had given him the choice. Pretty much from the first scene, I wanted to stop reading, but I couldn’t help myself. I needed to know – and experience it for myself and not just read a review with spoilers. Oh well. I’m not going to let it affect my love of the series.

      How fun that you and your husband are also huge fans. I loved that Deathly Hallows was your first date. Awesome!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge