Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a play by Jack Thorne, John Tiffany, and J.K. Rowling

Hello readers!

First of all I know this is SUPER late considering when this book came out in July of this year.

Second of all, wow.

As someone who grew up reading and cherishing the Harry Potter series, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from The Cursed Child. As it turns out, the play is short, snappy, and uses wit like a fine garnish on your favourite dinner. The characters are more or less as I remembered them, so it was almost like visiting old friends who’d grown up rather a lot.

As far as the plot goes, it’s easy to follow and keeps your interest. I managed to get through it all in the equivalent of a day, which is record breaking in terms of speed for me. It explored a lot of facets that the original series didn’t quite get the chance to cover – most notably an alternate world where Voldemort’s forces prevailed during The Battle of Hogwarts – , and it was definitely refreshing to get the take of other writers. The Cursed Child wasn’t written purely by Rowling, although she did have major say in how the play was not only performed but constructed. Tiffany and Thorne are both prolific playwrights and directors, and their experience really shows in the way that the characters are delivered to the stage. The humour is emphasised, expressiveness is key, and their skills combined with Rowling’s familiarity with the world and her characters makes for a spectacular combination to bring everything to life. I found myself laughing at the wit of Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy, following the two unlikely friends through their world almost like I had their parents, who had grown into fine adults. It’s that sense of magical charm and wonder which has been so carefully preserved that makes The Cursed Child so enjoyable, and the same reason I’d gladly read it again for many years to come.

All of that said, though, a few things still niggle at me when I think back on it. First of all, Ron. Something seemed a little off about him and I wasn’t quite sure what it was. He always seemed too eager to be funny, trying too hard to fit into a world where he already belonged. That had never quite been the case with his younger version, even after the events of The Half Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows. Harry seemed perhaps a little too neurotic, too. Of course it’s to be expected after what happened during the series, but there’s only so much creative liberty you can take with a set of characters which are so well established in the minds of their fan base and readers all across the world. Finally, the method of scene presentation – the constant jumping between time periods, the lack of a linear flow, and multiple use of flashbacks – was a little jarring for the purposes of the play, and perhaps could have been handled with more fluidity.

The Cursed Child is definitely getting a permanent home on my bookshelf next to its brethren. It’s a solid read with a fast pace, a gripping plot, and – I won’t lie – just a hint of nostalgia which is more than welcome in these post-Potter years. If you’d been dubious about reading it because of stage reviews, throw caution to the wind. It’s worth the time.

That’s it from me for now, until next time!

AdmiralCarter

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