Harry Potter and the Cursed Child | J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne (Review)

Hardcover Special Rehearsal Edition, 330 pages
Published July 31st 2016 by Little Brown UK
ISBN 0751565350 (ISBN13: 9780751565355)
Edition Language English
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.


I’m still terribly torn on what I think of this new installment to the Harry Potter universe. I think part of me really loved it just because it is technically now canon and it’s more Harry and in my book there can never be too much Harry Potter. On the other hand, after reading it and sitting with it for a few days it really felt like glorified fan fiction. There was so much of it that captured the magic that we all loved but at the same time it just wasn’t the same.

In fact it didn’t even hit me until about a month before it was released that it wasn’t going to actually be a novel. I mean that’s what we’re used to and even though in the back of my head I knew that’s not we were getting I kept thinking it was going to be a novel. Then I was like. Right. It’s not. It’s a screenplay. That in and of itself made it so different that it was lacking only because you didn’t get the same in depth emotions and feelings and extended stories that always came with the novels.

I didn’t know what to except as far as the story went and it was completely different than anything I was thinking it would be. Just going off the title and the artwork I was expecting it to be a story of a random child that Harry was helping. Turns out the story centers around his son Albus and the mischief he finds himself in. I enjoyed that Albus was the anti-Harry in a lot of ways and watching them grapple with their relationship and how different they are. Part of me love that we got to see Harry as a father and a husband and just a grown up but on the other hand it sort of felt a little…sad? It’s like seeing your favorite Super Hero out of his costume and working a deskjob 20 years later. Maybe it’s just me but it just felt a bit strange.

There was also a very heavy focus on time travel throughout the storyline and going back to the fan-fiction feel that it had I think that played the biggest role in why I felt that. It wasn’t just time-travel to a time we’ve never seen before but it was time travel back to parts of the story that we already saw. I didn’t enjoy the thought of things that have been canon for so long being messed with. I understood why they didn’t I just wasn’t crazy about it. It felt like a cheap way out of trying to do a new story without coming up with completely fresh materiel.

It’s also worth noting that this wasn’t exactly written by J.K. Rowling. I think she signed off on the storyline and maybe added a little bit of the script but she left it to Jack Thorne to write. And it shows. There’s just a lot of characterizations that are off and again it just feels like what you might find on tumblr. Something that a lot of fans would really love but at the same time most fans would know it’s not canon and know that it could never come close to the real thing.

I was so excited about this and even after I first read it I was excited. I read it in about 3 hours (remember it’s in script form) and I was pretty happy about it. The longer I’ve sat with it though the more disappointed I am. I’m very curious how the play works because there seems to be a lot in the script that would be easy to pull off with the help of CGI but I cannot figure out how they are going to make some of the scenes work on stage.

There’s (rightfully) quite a few disappointed fans out there and I really don’t blame them. I think we were all so excited that we never expected anything less than brilliant because that’s what we’ve come to expect with Harry. This fell short though. It pains me to say that but it really did. I love Harry Potter and I was just so thrilled to have a new story but maybe sometimes it’s best to just let things have their natural end and then leave them at that.

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