>> Thursday, February 23, 2017
TITLE: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
AUTHOR: JK Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
SETTING: Alternate reality
SERIES: 8th in the Harry Potter canon
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, 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 received its world premiere in London’s West End on 30th July 2016.I wasn't sure I wanted to read this one. For starters, it wasn't really fully written by Rowling herself, and it's not a novel but the script for the play, which is something I'm not used to reading (not since reading Shakespeare in secondary school, I guess). And still, even with such low expectations, this was a massive disappointment.
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.
The play takes place some 20 years after HP7, and stars Albus, one of Harry's children. Albus has a tense relationship with his father, mainly because he's keenly feeling the pressure to live up to his legend. He feels his father expects him to be just like him. He isn't, though. He enjoys different things and wants different things in life. Harry doesn't react well to this, which doesn't help. In a fit of rebellion, Albus decides to do something that he knows his father will disapprove of. And this is as far as the spoiler-free bit of this review will go. There will be only relatively mild spoilers in the rest (i.e. only more details about the setup, as that's as far as I got), but if you want to read this or see the play blind, you might want to stop reading here.
This was so, so problematic. Positives first: I loved the idea of the story. How would Harry Potter cope with a child very different from himself? I also loved several of the new characters, particularly Scorpius Malfoy, Lucius's son, who becomes Albus's best friend. Scorpius is a total sweetheart, and I wanted to reach into the pages and hug him.
That is about it, though. I did not really recognise the characters I knew in their adult version. Harry is an oblivious idiot, Ron is a bumbling fool, and Ginny and Hermione don't come out that well, either. And the plot is just stupid. Albus basically decides almost on a whim to go back in time and make a massive change, with zero thought. Things we’ve been told in the canon are difficult and require huge amounts of planning, such as a raid on the Ministry of Magic, using polyjuice potion and playing with fucking time, are done with no effort, very deus ex machina. They just happen.
And then we get to what looks like it might be the central plot of the book. Albus has changed something in the past and boom! All sorts of things in the present he knew have changed. How will he fix that? Aaaand... I was out. This is hands down my least favourite plot device ever. I hate time travel books in general, will only cope with time travel if I’m otherwise loving the book (e.g. Azkaban), and this particular plot device in particular is not one I want to read. Add to this dialogue that might work perfectly in a theatre, but that feels dull and lifeless on the script, and I just didn’t want to go on. So I didn’t.
Too bad, because because this could have been a good one.
MY GRADE: A DNF.