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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child review


I think I was the last one on the Harry Potter and The Cursed Child bandwagon. I am ashamed to say I didn't even know it was out until I saw it on shelves and, as you can imagine, almost had a nervous breakdown in the middle of London.

I am a big fan of Harry Potter. I grew up as the books were coming out and I remember making my Mom drive me to Asda so I could go and buy the last book when it came out because I was so excited I couldn't wait any longer for a bookshop to open after I'd saved my money for it. I have read and re-read the books, venturing to Hogwarts and escaping to the magical world of wizardry. Mitch bought me Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as a Christmas present and I was excited to read it, despite seeing mixed reviews!

I'm going to try and write this as spoiler free as possible to give an overview of the book. Honestly, I wasn't really a fan of the book in terms of it being part of the Harry Potter canon. As a stand alone, spin-off style text I liked it but there was a few things that didn't quite click with me as I read it.


I think a lot of people were put off reading it because it is written as a play text, or a screen play, rather than a regular prose novel. You do have to adapt to reading it in a different way and it does take some getting used to. It didn't really bother me - I read plenty of plays at uni but I can see why it might make it a little harder for some people to follow. 

I loved the new characters. Scorpio is my favourite; I found him interesting and the most developed character. You'd expect him to be a typical Malfoy but he is more noble and level-headed throughout than Harry's son Albus. I loved the exploration of father-son dynamics of Harry and Albus, and Draco and Scorpio. Rose is also a fantastic character - the perfect mix of Ron and Hermione and I expect a lot of Potter fans to love her! I found myself warming to the new characters more than the characters we already knew. I thought Ron's portrayal was especially cringey. 

The plot is an interesting concept that, of course, revolves around darkness (i.e. Voldemort and his squad) returning to ruin Harry's life. I found the first part of the play a slow read, but the pace picks up in part two and continues to the end.

My first problem with the play is that it's not really about Harry. The play is set nineteen years after Harry leaving Hogwarts, so all the characters we know and love are adults with  their own families. The majority of the play features other supporting characters, which is fine, but I feel like the writers have tried to cram in all the unexplored details in a play to please readers/an audience and what we wanted to happen after the last book. It feels like it is written to give a nostalgia trip which isn't a huge problem but left me feeling a bit underwhelmed. The best parts are the scenes that focus on the new characters.

What is much more frustrating is the lack of consistency from the original books to this play. Things seem to happen way too easily and conveniently for the main characters and it makes it a little unbelievable. I never felt like they were in danger at any point, even during the more tense scenes which were very predictable. There is a part where the children in The Cursed Child make polyjuice potion. In the play, they whip up a batch really casually like they are making a cup of OJ, but in the books it's a huge epic that Ron, Harry and Hermione have to endure to make the same potion. Harry also automatically hates Scorpio, which I find a bit odd. I know Harry and Draco were enemies but Scorpio gives no reason for Harry to hate him and stop his child being friends with him without evidence other than he hated his dad. It's not behaviour I expected from Harry. Later in the play, there is a major twist in the play that I won't ruin but it is utterly unbelievable in my opinion considering who is involved in the twist. 

I would love to see this play on stage though. I can't even begin to imagine how they would create the spells and magic seen in this play, and I imagine it to be quite the spectacle! This text definitely lends itself to having an audience watch it rather than as a stand alone book. Although I did enjoy this story and it's throwbacks to the originals, I can't say I found it a particularly great book compared to the others in the series. It's such a shame because the story is quite interesting, it just felt like someone else had had an attempt at a Harry Potter sequel. It felt like a lazy attempt, and was not the same standard of other J K Rowling books. I feel like traitor saying it but I just can't accept The Cursed Child as the follow on from the original series. Sorry HP fans!

What were your thoughts on The Cursed Child? Is there something I'm missing? Or is it much better live on stage? Let me know your thoughts!

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2 comments

  1. You need to see the play itself, it's just incredible - the production and atmosphere is stunning. Totally worth it and I imagine adds so many additional dimensions from the play script :)

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