Before I start with my review, I want to mention that I was never part of the people who considered this to be ” the 8th Harry Potter novel ”. I did understand from the beginning that this was a written version of a play and that it was not written by Jo Rowling, therefore I didn’t have crazy expectations and I was ready to enjoy it for what it was, which was an opportunity for the potterhead in me to go back into this world, with the author’s seal of approval on it. I even posted this on Instagram as soon as I got out of the bookstore on Sunday morning:
I am aware that this can’t be compared nor rated the same way I would a novel, it’s mostly dialogue and it wasn’t intended to be read, but to be viewed and experienced. It was also written by a different author, and the idea of that wasn’t a problem to me until I got into it. I realized that the writing was so far from what we are used to when reading about the Potter universe that I couldn’t connect the two together, it literally felt like fan fiction, and not a great one. I’ll admit that I very rarely read plays, so maybe it’s just fine for the genre and I’m just not used to it, but since the Harry Potter series has never been anything else than well fleshed out novels, I found myself unable to really appreciate this for what it is.
Honestly, I found it ”lacking”, and confusing at times. I didn’t connect with any of the characters, especially not the trio that we know so well. Harry, even if I’m considering he’s 20 years older (and even in the “real” time frame of the play) didn’t feel like the same character at all. It’s really unbelievable that he would be so dislocated with his own “outcast” son, knowing he had the same feelings or issues when he was his age. You would think they would have had a much stronger connection. That didn’t make a lot of sense to me that Harry would not know how to act with him because he didn’t fit in, on the contrary. Also, his conversations with Ginny didn’t feel genuine or natural, they seemed ”scripted”. Ron was a completely useless character, no matter the time frame. He was there for comical relief, which failed anyway most of the time. Hermione as Minister for Magic, so obvious I rolled my eyes. And don’t get me started on the whole “dark lord devil spawn” twist. So Bellatrix delivered right before the Battle of Hogwarts? Really? Because we all remember her being in really good shape while that happened. Also don’t tell me that Voldemort’s daughter would have waited 20 + years before resurfacing and doing something.
Draco’s kid, Scorpius, is the only likeable character that I wasn’t annoyed by at one point or another. Thank God for him. Rose was horrible in the beginning, acting like a younger Draco. You wouldn’t expect that from Hermione’s daughter. I also couldn’t really sympathize with Albus over his ”hatred” of his father because in the first scene he seemed so scared of being in Slytherin and even though Harry tells him in the beginning that it would be fine no matter what, everybody gets real moody real fast. I get it, it’s a play, there is a time frame, but don’t adapt such a complex world that usually get 400, 500, 600 pages to develop if you can’t do it right.
Overall, the tone was much darker than I anticipated. I didn’t dislike the story even if I’m complaining a lot in this review, but I didn’t love it either. One thing is for sure, I’m really curious to see how they arranged the theater for such a “magical” story, with that many different settings and scenes being so short between all of them. The logistic of everything must have been pretty tough to organize. I don’t doubt that it’s a much better experience in person than on paper, as I’ve only seen great reviews for the show, and a lot of mixed review from the readers. I’ll definitely pay the big price to see it if it comes to my area (I’ve heard they’re considering Toronto, that’d be manageable).
What were your thoughts on The Cursed Child?!
EDIT: It has always been clear on the cover of this book that this was the ”rehearsal edition”, however, I just read that they plan on publishing a “Definitive Collector’s Edition” in a few months that actually reflects the final script used on stage. I didn’t expect them to come out with a new and improved version, but who am I kidding.
I get that it was cool to publish it on the day of the official premiere, and on Harry’s birthday also, but this is money grabbing at its finest. You get the world excited for something and organize midnight release parties around the world for a rehearsal edition while you plan on coming out with something better? Whether the differences are minimal (in which case you’re spending money twice on virtually the same thing) or important (in which case why did I buy something that wasn’t finished and that was considerably improved upon), it’s bad either way.
Just my opinion. I’m still way more excited about seeing Fantastic beasts because Jo wrote the script, so it’s the real deal! Midnight premiere, count me in.