So. Let’s start with the title, officially christened, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.” This story takes place at the epilogue of the seventh book, 19 years after they defeat Voldy (aka Voldemort for all you punks).
The style of the book is a script for a play, therefore, there is hardly any narration. Obviously in an actual play the visual direction of each scene would (I would hope) fill in for the lack of narration in this book; however, that is not an option for a script. Knowing what is happening in the character’s minds is crucial for me and is just not an option in a script form, so I critique releasing this as a book for that purpose. So I realise my expectation is beyond the limitations of the medium of the story, but it lead to a very disconnected experience, where I did not feel any real attachment to the ideas presented or the characters, especially the main character, Albus Severus Potter.
Potter has some kids. Hermione and Ron have kids but they hardly play any role in the story. The trio does make a comeback but the best part of it by far is that Hermione is Minster for Magic. Love. It.
So, the Potter’s famously-named offspring, Albus Severus, is on his first trip to Hogwarts and becomes fast friends with the progeny of Draco Malfoy who is aptly named ‘Scorpius,’ in line with his heritage. Their friendship is mildly forbidden, as Harry is apparently not over Draco and his role in his school years, despite what we are lead to believe in the seventh book. Plus Albus breaks the Potter and Weasley family traditions and is in Slytherin House. And again, despite what Harry says in the seventh book (that Slytherin would be gaining a great wizard), he certainly doesn’t seem to believe that they deserve that honour.
Once again we find that Harry Potter has some unresolved conflict within him. At least there is nothing new in that respect. The difference is that his son gets part of his anguish now.
Speaking of which, Albus hates his father’s reputation and dislikes that he has been named after Harry Potter‘s epic adventure. He feels he is in his shadow and can’t live up to anything or make a name for himself in anything. He finds solace in his friendship with Scorpius, which is unconventional and not expected.
Things go awry when Albus overhears his father lying to late-Cedric’s elderly father. Cedric’s father wants Harry to go back in time to bring back his son to life, and believes he can do so with a recently-found Time Turner. However, knowledge abou this Time Turner is meant to be hush-hush so Harry denies they have one. Albus, in all his righteousness, believes he can aid the old and ailing Mr. Diggory and bring his son Cedric back through using the time turner. Scorpio happens to have nearly the exact same nerdy personality as Hermione, minus the arrogance, and so he hatches a plan to steal the Time Turner with Albus, and Mr. Diggory has charged his niece to accompany them on the journey.
Needless to say, Pandora’s Box is opened as they try and retry to save Cedric from dying, only to find out in each scenario how crucial it was to their future that he died. In their last foray back in time, they have unearthed (or rather Scorpius has, as Albus was completely oblivious to there being anything wrong with the situation) that Mr. Diggory’s niece is a farce played by a mysterious new and sinister character. It turns out, you see, that Voldemort had a daughter. And her name is Delphi. I admit, that was definitely a surprise.
It is here, my friends, is where my lingering hope for the story faded. Voldemort have a child? He that made horcruxes so that he would live forever? Who was so confident in them that he had no other back up plan?
Not only that, but Bellatrix is Delphi’s (his daughter) mother. Now, I have no problems seeing Bellatrix desiring such an outcome, but as a friend pointed out to me, she would have been shouting it from the rooftops that she was bearing his child. She is, after all, deranged in many many many ways. I doubt anyone could have kept her from sharing that little bit of information that would have made her extremely proud and more narcissistic. She would have been lording it over everyone. Oh! and she was kept a complete secret up until this moment.
However, even more deeper than that, I can’t see Voldemort desiring a child – essentially the child would be someone who would compete with him for power and that, we know, he would never allow. I have a very very hard time buying all this, given the depth of knowledge of these characters Ms. Rowling shared with us over seven books. Am I wrong here?
It turns out that Delphi wants to bring about a world in which Harry, the trio, and Neville do not defeat Voldemort. She wants Voldemort to reign, and if Cedric lives then the current reality will completely dissipate.
The trio and Draco meanwhile figure some things out and eventually save the day again. Draco, in this script, is a completely admirable and mature character. Harry is a disappointing character – he hardly seems to have matured much beyond his seventh “year at Hogwarts” (which he did not actually do, come to think of it).
So my last two critiques are regarding Voldemort having a child and Harry’s immaturity. Ron and Hermione don’t play an extremely huge role in the development of the story (Ron is really just a token character), so it’s hard to know how well they seemed to relate to their character at the end of the seventh book.
And that’s it – the kids go on this adventure that is all about them ‘making things right’ cause no one else is paying attention (hello, HP series, have we not covered this?), go back in time thrice to ‘fix’ every mistake, make it back, and everything is back to normal, nothing really changed except that Albus and Scorpius know that messing with time shouldn’t happen again.
It hardly felt worth it. And as it’s a screen play, there was hardly any character development, so I have no attachment to any of them. I find it a disappointing read and don’t even want to reread it right now. Unless someone wants to pick it apart further with me (cause picking the Potter series apart was a specialty for me).
Did you read it? What did you think of it?