I finally read and finished Harry Potter & the Cursed Child a few weeks ago. I managed to avoid reading other peoples’ reviews of the play for the most part but did read a few Facebook statuses of friends. My one friend who did read it that I talked to in person had expressed that it was bad so I didn’t have high hopes. I don’t think I came across a single person who said they loved it.
Trying to stay optimistic, because how could anything involving Harry Potter be bad, I read it anyway.
So what did I think? I did not think it was good. It wasn’t horrible, but it definitely wasn’t great. I would say the best way to describe it is – disappointing. The characters didn’t seem like themselves, Harry’s son – Albus – is whiny and annoying, and Harry is hardly winning Father of the Year awards with this portrayal. When people (mostly students) asked me what I thought of the book so far (while I was still reading) I would respond with “It’s okay” and quickly follow it up with “This is what I feel best represents how “good” this book is. The best characters in the play are the Malfoys.” And that’s completely true, in my opinion. Draco is actually normal and seemingly a better person than any of the others. His son, Scorpius is actually a really good kid and when you compare him to Albus Potter, it’s really clear that he’s the superior character.
I remember reading one of my friend’s Facebook statuses saying she thought the book was okay and it was at least nice to be back in the Harry Potter/Hogwarts World. I would be happy with that, if it were true. I felt that because Albus was such a sulky kid who hated everything about living in the shadow of his father and older brother and couldn’t stand his time at Hogwarts, the readers were cheated out of experiencing what Hogwarts is like 20 or so years since Harry and friends were students there. If you haven’t picked up on it now, Albus was not a likable character to me. In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Albus seemed nervous in the epilogue, but J.K. Rowling never hinted at the fact that he was the broody, sullen, miserable type let alone the type of kid who hates his father. Harry has trouble connecting with his son and doesn’t seem to be trying very hard. The whole thing was a bit bizarre and the characters just seem off.
Now, it wasn’t totally a wash. The play was quick to get through and it was nice to see the Malfoys get their turn as the “good” people. By the middle of Act 3, the storyline started to pick up and luckily Albus was becoming less whiny and annoying.
As the play is not that long I don’t want to go into great detail about the plot and give anything away. But basically, Harry’s middle child – Albus – begins Hogwarts and the play kinda fast forwards through a few of his years there. He is unhappy and finally decides to embark on an adventure or task if you will that could change his and his family’s life forever.
As with most of my book reviews, I’ve picked out a few quotes and passages to share.
I’ve mentioned how the Malfoys were the best characters in this play and Scorpius was way better than Albus. Here is something Scorpius says to Albus when he’s just sick of hearing Albus complain:
“Can you even slightly imagine what that’s like? Have you ever even tried? No. Because you can’t see beyond the end of your nose. Because you can’t see beyond the end of your stupid thing with your dad. He will always be Harry Potter, you know that, right? And you will always be his son. And I know it’s hard, and the other kids are awful, but you have to learn to be okay with that, because – there are worse things, okay?”
At least McGonagall was there to save the day with her biting wit and straightforward talk:
“And it does sound as if you were brave, Scorpius, and you, Albus, but the lesson even your father sometimes failed to heed is that bravery doesn’t forgive stupidity. Always think.”
And finally, there’s Dumbledore (of course, just his portrait) to share his wisdom as always:
“Harry, there is never a perfect answer in this messy, emotional world. Perfection is beyond the reach of humankind, beyond the reach of magic. In every shining moment of happiness is that drop of poison: the knowledge that pain will come again. Be honest to those you love, show your pain. To suffer is as human as to breathe.”
Leave it to Dumbledore to steal the show , even after he’s died!
So overall, I didn’t hate the book, but honestly it wasn’t satisfying. I wouldn’t say it’s a must-read if you’re a Harry Potter fan, but it doesn’t hurt to read it. Well, for some of you die-hard fans it may actually hurt.
I’m glad I went into this without high expectations so I think that helped. I do however have high hopes for the Fantastic Beasts movie that comes out next month. The trailers look amazing! I’m so excited for that and you can be sure I will be watching it and writing about it here!
Did you read The Cursed Child? What did you think?