Well, this review is beyond late! I read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child over a month ago, but kind of kept putting off reviewing it because it gave me a lot of feelings, both good and bad. Obviously, lots and lots of spoilers await.
“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.” – via Goodreads
First, let’s address the issues I’ve heard. The first being that somehow people weren’t aware this was a script. The book seller at the shop I bought this from specifically asked me, “You know this is a script, right?” To which I basically said, “DUH” but apparently she’d had so many calls and upset customers over this fact. I don’t get how people didn’t know this. I expected a script, so that was not a problem for me. (Sort of. We’ll get to that.)
The second thing I’ve heard all over the internet is that this ‘reads like fan fiction’. To which I also want to say “DUH” to. This was not written by J.K. Rowling. It was based on a story she penned, yes, but she did not write this script. So really, in a sense, this IS fan fiction. Sanctioned and published, yes, but still, to some degree, in the realm of fan fiction right? I guess knowing that J.K. didn’t write this lowered my expectations. I expected it to feel a bit fan fiction-esque, and it did. There were a few character choices that felt a bit fan servicey, but I was okay with that.
As for the plot, I thought it was wonderful! I loved how focused it was on time travel, and the incredible ramifications messing with the past can have. I loved that Albus Potter was a bit of a black sheep for his family both in ending up in Slytherin and befriending Scorpius Malfoy. I loved seeing Harry try and navigate being a parent, and the struggles he went through. I hadn’t previously considered the fact that he never had really any form of father figure role model, and I can only imagine the difficulty of raising a child without much personal experience to look back on. I loved the interactions between Harry and Draco both as concerned fathers and old rivals, and trying to make things work for the greater good of both their families. Overall, there was a ton that I loved.
Unfortunately, there is a but.
This book, this script, left me wanting. Incredibly so. I enjoyed this book enough. I really did. But I really, really just wanted this to be a fully fleshed out novel. I knew it was a script going into it, so I fully expected it to read the way it did. But I didn’t expect it to leave me feeling unsatisfied and wanting more out of it. Reading this felt incomplete; it didn’t feel full and rich and wonderful like I wanted it to. The story itself was quite compelling, and had so many elements I really enjoyed. But it felt like reading a skimmed down version, and I really wanted the full richness that a novel brings.
What are your thoughts on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?