Book Review – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Book Review – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

This summer the bookstores all over the world once more had their doors opened until midnight. On the same night, July 30th 2016, the play, “ Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”, premiered in London. Even in the age of e-book readers, fans all over the world flocked outside bookstores to grab their copy of the script which bears the same name.

If you are born in the 90s and have stayed up all night reading Harry Potter, you are like me. A fanatic who grew up with Harry. I am now in my mid 20s and I felt the same thrill as a 14-yr old teenager experienced waiting in the long queue to get my hands on the new book, as the clock strikes 12. Some things to consider before you delve more into this review. The Cursed child is not a novel, it is a script. This story covers four years in the magical world, unlike the previous Harry Potter books.


The play starts with Harry and Hermione, as middle-aged wizards struggling — professionally as Ministry of Magic officials and personally as parents of teenagers. Ron, in this book is completely different from the Ron, we have known in books 1-7. This Ron makes lame jokes and doesn’t have any significant role. This is the same Ron, who destroyed one of the horcruxes and helped Harry retrieve Philosopher’s stone by playing wizard chess. It felt as if Rowling has lost touch with one of her essential characters

The sorting hat waited longer than usual to sort Hermione, you know why? because the hat couldn’t decide where to put her — Gryffindor or Ravenclaw. That happened only once before, for Minerva McGonagall. The two most brightest witches of their respective generations were depicted as complete idiots in this book. Hermione who saved Harry and Ron from Devil’s snare, solved the mystery of Chamber of secrets and took extra classes by using Time Turner — couldn’t hide a god damn Time Turner.

McGonagall, the strict former Head of Gryffindor house, who never let anyone tarnish her authority was shown to bow down under Harry’s orders. The strong empowering female characters that I adored and admired have cowered and lost their charm in this book.


It is not justified to say, Harry has never witnessed a father figure. He has seen Arthur Weasley, Remus Lupin and Sirius Black. He is a striving to be a better father. A heart wrenching statement like “I wish you were not my son” proved Harry is not the person we expected him to become when he reaches fatherhood. And, Albus Potter, the kid with two colossal wizards in his name. What can I say about him? Whining, peculiar and self involved kid. In colloquial terms an “emo” child.

According to me, Scorpius is the reason you should read this book. He is Albus’s best friend and Harry’s archenemy Draco Malfoy’s son. Scorpius is the most sensible and sensitive character in this book. He befriends Albus on their first Hogwarts train journey. It reminded me when orphan Harry and Ron became friends in Philosopher’s stone. Scorpius stands beside Albus, in thick and thin, through out their four years at Hogwarts. While Albus does all kinds of stupid things, Scorpius is matured and tries to put some sense into Albus’s head. Although Scorpius is branded “Voldemort’s son”, mostly because of his father’s death-eater reputation. Still he tries to make amends with his father. He loves and cares for Draco, even though the Malfoy name is a heavy burden to carry.

The plot of the script revolves around time turners and the spare. Cedric Diggory, the spare, was killed by Voldemort at Little Hangleton at the end of the last task of the Triwizard tournament. This was a painful consequence that Harry had to suffer through, for the greater good. Thorne and co-authors tried to bring this soft spot back to lime light. Time turner played a crucial role in the Prisoner of Azkaban book, but here they tried to show alternate realities using Time Turners. The concept is radical but its implementation is lousy. The play tried to show the alternate realities possible by changing apparently trivial past incidents occurring through out the fourth book.


Lastly, how can I forget about Voldemort’s daughter, Delphi. In my head, whenever I think about nasally challenged Dark Lord, he is asexual. So the image of Bellatrix Lestrange and Voldemort having sex is not a nice one. Delphi was supposedly born just before the legendary war at Hogwarts, but through out Deathly Hallows, there is no mention of a pregnant Bellatrix. This part felt like a poorly made fan fiction.

I am thankful to Rowling to make additions to the existing series, because after 8 years we got a glimpse of Harry’s future. But, this play was not necessary, it exists because Rowling had a dent in her coffers. Even after the last book in the series, Deathly Hallows was released in 2008, I have followed Rowling’s writing in her blogs posted at Pottermore.

Given the benefit of doubt that cursed child is not a novel, it is a script, still it did not seem like Rowling’s writing style. If you expected to see Rowling weave her creativity and transport you to Harry’s world you would be heart broken. This book is not written by Rowling. Jack Thorne wrote it based on a short story written by Rowling.


Article by Sreyoshi Sur.


 

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