WARNING: CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS
I, along with most of the wizarding world, was beyond excited for the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Even though I knew it was a script rather than a novel, and even though I knew J.K. Rowling had some help writing it, I couldn’t wait to crack open the cover, revisit my favorite place in the world, and find out if this new story could meet the high standards set by its predecessors.
The answer, as it turns out, is no.
I honestly don’t think I had unrealistic expectations. I knew it wasn’t going to be another Sorcerer’s Stone. But this play didn’t even live up to “normal author standards,” let alone J.K. Rowling standards.
That’s not because of the writing itself. Although the play format left little room for the descriptive imagery Rowling is famous for, the stage directions still let me picture each scene in my head. The dialogue seemed natural and not forced, and I laughed frequently but not constantly.
The problem with the Cursed Child is the plot.
The entire book reads like a fanfiction. I can’t seem to reconcile this world with the one I so happily left after the Deathly Hallows.
For example, the issue of Voldemort’s offspring. We learn that he and Bellatrix Lestrange had a daughter, Delphi, sometime between the Order of the Phoenix and the Battle of Hogwarts. No major physical problems there — although Voldy doesn’t have a nose, his “guy bits” are evidently intact.
But what was the reasoning behind it? We know he doesn’t have a soul, so he’s incapable of feeling love. And when Delphi was conceived, he was going through the Horcrux phase, so he thought he was going to be immortal… so he wouldn’t need an heir. And if you think like a Dark Lord, you wouldn’t want a kid, because then when they grew up they could become more powerful than you. (Remember what Zeus did to his dad?)
And then there’s the problem of everyone’s favorite social outcast, Albus Severus Potter. The poor kid got every tragedy possible dumped on him: he was sorted into Slytherin, is terrible at flying, Quidditch, and spells, and gets ridiculed by Slytherins and Gryffindors alike. Now, I can understand that the authors wouldn’t want to be predictable. If they had made him the incredibly popular Gryffindor Seeker, we would have complained of monotony and repetition, but in their effort to avoid a carbon copy of Harry, they went to the other extreme. Albus has so many handicaps that it’s impossible to take him seriously; I would almost rather have a Harry Junior.
Here’s something else: who is the cursed child? All the other books have a title that doesn’t make sense at first, but becomes clear at the end of the book. So is the cursed child Albus or Delphi?
That is just one of many loose ends that never really get tied up. J.K. Rowling said at the premiere of the Cursed Child play that there are not going to be any more Harry stories, so why does the plot lack a decent resolution?
Sure, Delphi ends up in Azkaban and Harry (sort of) has a better relationship with his son, but there are a lot of things we don’t know. Why is Delphi called the Augurey? Are Rose and Albus friends again? Where did Rodolphus Lestrange get that prophecy from? What’s up with Harry’s scar?
Honestly, the whole story was just one big letdown. It started getting bad somewhere around scene four (which, by the way, happens to be where they start really deviating from the Deathly Hallows epilogue) and the plot went downhill from there. By the end I was ready to throw Jack Thorne in Azkaban and then use an Obliviate spell to make myself forget the entire experience.
I don’t think I’m allowed to rate this story a negative amount of stars, but Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is worthy of an Unforgivable Curse. Avada Kedavra!