Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Authors: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
Publisher: Pottermore from J.K. Rowling; Special Rehearsal ed. edition
Publication Date: July 2016
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I’d read a plot summary about the play, but I didn’t have strong feelings one way or the other. Fortunately, that allowed me to be pleasantly surprised upon actually reading it.
Added to my enjoyment was getting to go to a midnight release party with my sister. Because of how and when I really got into HP, I missed most of the releases the first go around. But we had a ton of fun.
So anywho, the book. Well, as most of you know, it’s actually the script to the play. But to be honest, that doesn’t detract from the story itself. The format makes itself known in two major ways: one, the condensed passage of time. Two, the lack of exposition and expansion on various plot points. For example, one of the major conflicts of the book is the relationship between Albus and Harry. But we never really know why their relationship is so strained other than basic teenage angst.
But really, that’s a nitpick. The plot of the story trucks along just fine, and the tension of what’s happening kept me invested the whole way through. It was a fast read (the first time I’ve read a book all the way through in ages) in part because of the format.
We open with the epilogue of Deathly Hallows, with Harry and Ginny sending their younger son off to Hogwarts for the first time. Albus makes friends with Scorpius Malfoy (Draco’s son) on the train, much to the consternation of Rose Weasley. We then see him sorted into Slytherin, and a condensed version of his first two years. This time is mostly used to highlight the differences between Albus and his father.
The main plot revolves around Albus and Scorpius deciding to use a time turner to attempt to save Cedric Diggory from death. It’s a good time travel plot–we see a few alternate timelines, which make sense. The solutions for fixing the mistakes that result from the time travel also make sense. The authors were wise enough to not try to over-complicate the premise.
There’s a rumor in the wizarding world that Voldemort had a child (many believing that Scorpius is that child). Through the story, we get hints that Voldemort might be coming back, via the child. I won’t reveal the payoff, but I didn’t see it coming.
My favorite part of the book was easily Scorpius Malfoy. I wasn’t expecting to like this character, but damn, does he surprise you. He’s sweet, funny, and awkward, and honestly, miles more likable than Albus. It’s a nice mirror to Harry and Draco’s relationship.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a great follow-up to the series. Hardcore fans may be disappointed, just because the characters aren’t like we remember them. But they shouldn’t be. Harry, Ron, Hermione…they’ve all grown up. And I thought that they were very believable. When you take into account Harry’s childhood, his parenting missteps are perfectly understandable.
Is this a perfect story? No. There are certainly flaws. But it was enjoyable, and a little bit heartbreaking. As much as I would like to see the play, I’m a little glad I was reading this–it allowed me to hear the characters like Harry in the voices of Danial Radcliffe and the rest.
Final Verdict: If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, I highly recommend reading the eighth book. Ignore the negative reviews you may have heard, and go in with an open mind.