Harry Potter and The Cursed Child – Jack Thorne & John Tiffany (J.K. Rowling)
Release date: July 31st, 2016
Publisher: Little Brown UK
Age Group: (Young) Adult
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.
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.
Let’s talk about the most hyped book of the moment: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Sometimes called the eight Harry Potter book, actually the script of a play based on J.K. Rowling’s idea of an adult Harry, Ron and Hermoine. I’ll be honest: I wasn’t planning on buying the book, because it’s not really a novel and I’m not a big fan of reading scripts. I also said goodbye to the Harry Potter universe quite decisively after the 7th book and 8th film. It was the end, I was happy. But there I was at 1am in front of a book store in Ghent, buying 50 copies of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child for the Harry Potter fans who attended our quidditch tournament. It wouldn’t be right for me to walk out of there without a book for myself. So I did buy one. I finished it in 2 days and I am as disappointed as I thought I would be.
Funnily enough it’s not because of the script format. I was surprised to find that it was very easy to read and had a fast paced structure that kept me hooked until the very last page. I might reconsider trying to read some other scripts and see how I like them.
The problem here is the story itself. It all felt very cheap. It started off very well though, it was nice being back in this world I grew up with. It was great to see that Harry still had very realistic, common day struggles that are probably relatable for a lot of adults. Those first 50 pages were sometimes heart-breaking and I was optimistic this could lead to a very emotional, interesting story. I was wrong.
When I read the, by now famous, Trolley Witch scene, alarm bells went off inside my head. Seriously though, I don’t believe anyone sane could have written that scene. I don’t know what happened and I don’t know how the hell it got in the final script, but it shouldn’t have. It was the first real sign of the writers taking it too far. Unfortunately it didn’t stop there. From there on everything went way too easy for the characters. It seemed like everything they needed was miraculously close by and immediately at their disposal. The plot was ridiculously predictable and not imaginative at all.
Don’t get me started on the characters. The only light in that pool of darkness was Scorpius, who was a delightful character. All the others… It felt like all of them were solely based on the stereotypes people who vaguely know about the Harry Potter movies would use. Not only that, but there were a lot of forced interactions that should have provided emotional closure for certain characters, but that felt extremely fake. It pulled some iconic characters completely out of their comfort zone, making them caricatures of the characters that were so beautifully built in the Harry Potter books.
When one of the characters’ parentage was revealed I couldn’t suppress an eye-role. So obvious and so extremely unbelievable.
Conclusion: what started out as a delightful story about Harry Potter’s son quickly turned into a weird experience that I would rather forget. I’m tempted to go and see the play to find out if it makes it any better, but I’m not completely sure yet if I want to spend all the money on it. There was a lot of potential here, but unfortunately not a lot of it was used.