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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Book Review

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Book Review




         The unofficial 8th book in the Harry Potter series came out on July 31, 2016, Harry’s 36th birthday, 9 years after the book that we all thought would be the end was released in 2007. This story takes place 19 years after Voldemort was defeated and Harry Potter became the savior of the wizarding world for the second time. When the news came out that there would be a Harry Potter book being co-written by J.K Rowling, I went crazy with the rest of the world. I am the biggest Harry Potter fan I know and waited in line in Barnes & Noble for the midnight release with at least a hundred others. Finally getting to see my favorite characters again seemed like a dream come true. However, this excitement quickly diminished. The more I learned about the novel, the more I thought we would all be better off leaving the wizarding world well enough alone.

I will admit that I was not happy when I found out that this book would center around Harry’s son, Albus Severus, whom I hated on principle ever since we learned what his name was in the Deathly Hallows epilogue. Rowling’s decision to name Harry’s son after two character I feel he had no reason to admire is something I will never understand. While I was wary of Albus at first, he turned out to actually be one of my favorite characters and provided an interesting point of view that is very different from the one we are used to, while still living in what we all know as “Harry’s” world. Sadly, while I was excited to finally see Harry Potter again, I was left very disappointed by him and pretty much disregarded this new version of my favorite character immediately after reading because he seemed so mischaracterized. I will do my best not to be too harsh on J.K Rowling, but I have to say it is hard to comprehend a lot of the decisions that were made in this book.

It is important to note that the book is actually written in script-form as it is originally a play currently being performed in London, and co-written by Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. The two other co-writers make an obvious impact on the story as this book reads nothing like the original Harry Potter series at all. The lack of description and a book made up almost entirely of dialogue takes away from the magical atmosphere that we all know and love. This book does not have the usual Rowling style in which you can tell who is speaking without even looking at the name because the characters are so rich, and that quality is sorely missing.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child picks up where we last see our three heros at Platform 9 ¾, 19 years after the Battle of Hogwarts. Except this time, Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione are sending off their kids to Hogwarts instead of going themselves. Ron and Hermione are married with two kids, Rose and Hugo. Harry and Ginny have three children, James, Lily, and Albus. While we don’t really get to see much of the other kids throughout the course of the book, I really did love Rose and what little we got to see of James, who seems to be very much like his grandfather and uncles, Fred and George. As seen in the epilogue of Deathly Hallows, Harry tells Albus not to worry if he is sorted into Slytherin because they’re not all that bad. However, it seems Harry is singing a very different tune when Albus actually does become a Slytherin as it creates a huge rift between the father and son. Albus quickly becomes an outcast at school and home, who resents being the son of ‘the Chosen One’ and becomes increasingly filled with anger at everyone’s expectations for him.

While it is expected for Harry to have a difficult time filling the role of a father, growing up in an abusive home with any good father figures quickly passing away, Harry seems to only have problems with Albus. His deep fear of further loss along with awkwardness when expressing emotions makes him unable to connect with his son. At one point the two get into a heated argument in which Harry tells Albus that he sometimes wishes that he weren’t his son. So while I agree that Harry would have some trouble with parenting, I wouldn’t want to believe this is something Harry Potter would ever say to his son and wish it was not a part of the book. It is this fight that leads Albus to steal a time turner and go back to save Cedric Diggory from dying in the Triwizard Tournament against his father’s wishes.

If that last sentence sounded pretty crazy to you, just know that it doesn’t sound any less crazy in book form where there is no explanation offered as to why J.K Rowling would randomly decide to bring back minor character Cedric Diggory from the dead or include time-turners, which were all supposedly destroyed in Order of the Phoenix. So Albus and his best and only friend Scorpius Malfoy (Yes, Draco’s son) meet up with Delphi Diggory, Cedric’s niece, and go back in time to sabotage Cedric so that he does not make it to that fateful graveyard where he was killed by Voldemort 20 years ago, mostly just to piss Harry off. This sets off a whole ridiculous chain of events which make up the majority of the book.

Without getting too spoilery, the two go back in time about four different times and their world is pretty much turned upside down every time they return. There is a reality where Harry is dead and Voldemort is the headmaster of Hogwarts with muggle dungeons and blood balls, Ron and Hermione live in the whomping willow on the run from death eaters, and most disgustingly, we get to meet an alive-again Snape who is forever talking about his creepy obsession with Lily. In the end we get to see Harry and Voldemort come face to face again, learn that Draco Malfoy is probably a better father than Harry after all, and get to meet Voldemort and Bellatrix’s secret child that nobody knew about until now.

While this book was obviously a bit of a disappointment, there were still plenty of great things about it that made it worth it. Hermione is Minister of Magic, as we all knew she would be, and fits the role perfectly. Draco’s son Scorpius is definitely my favorite character that is newly introduced in this book, he is so funny and positive despite all the crazy situations he has to deal with. The relationship between Draco and Scorpius is something that I was really interested in and was glad to see how different it was from the one between Draco and his own father. Ron is as great as ever in this book, providing comic relief whenever he is on the page and it is obvious that all the kids love him the most. Overall, while I still kind of wish this book never happened, I am at least glad that we get to see where the trio ended up and know that they are all more or less happy.





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