Hey, reader! Welcome (back) to Writer Central!
Recently, at the end of July in fact, J.K. Rowling released a new book, The Cursed Child. If you don’t know about this exciting occurrence then I’m really not sure which rock you’ve been living under – but that’s ok.
Nevertheless, that’s beside the point, because I’ve finished The Cursed Child! (Finally.) And, as I promised, I’m going to review it today, because there is so much that I absolutely need to get out of my head.
So, here’s how the review works: I’m going to start off with a spoiler-free review for the few of you who haven’t read this book yet, and then I’ll go into a full-length review, which will be full of spoilers. But don’t worry, I’ll alert you when we transition into spoiler territory!
Let’s start with some information for those of you who haven’t yet read – or finished – this book.
What is Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is, essentially, the eighth story in J.K. Rowling’s original seven-book series. This book is a little different, however, because it is the script for a Harry Potter play that is to be put on in London (though I hope it will migrate to the U.S. soon enough). It basically tells the story of Harry Potter and his friends and family, nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts, which is at the end of the seventh book.
Did I enjoy this book?
I enjoyed it very much. I was a bit nervous going into it, because I know a lot of people did not like it, and I was afraid I wouldn’t. To be honest, the thought of not liking anything Harry Potter-related was terrifying. But I tried to start it with low expectations. I suggest you do the same: after all, it’s just a script book and if you expect much from it you’ll probably come out disappointed.
It was nice to get back into the world of Harry Potter again – and it was even nicer that I already knew the world and I didn’t have to world-build in my head much at all. Anyway, I almost want to go back and reread the whole series right now just because I miss the young characters so much.
I rated the book four out of five stars, because there were a few issues that I will discuss in the spoiler section.
ENTERING SPOILER TERRITORY! All of you who don’t want to be spoiled can just scram and come back once you’ve read the book. So long, suckers!
Alright, now that it’s just us spoiler-y people, we can dig in real deep.
Let’s start out with the first scene and just sort of run through the whole book. Warning: this is going to be really long.
I appreciated how the first scene actually is the same scene that the Deathly Hallows ended with. I really liked that, because it made me feel like I didn’t miss anything while we had that nineteen-year break between books. Plus, it was interesting to see it in different format. Hugo didn’t seem to exist, though. At first I didn’t think much of Albus’s fretting about getting into Slytherin. I brushed it off as idle fear and thought for sure he would be in the Gryffindor because, well – his ancestors have all been Gryffindor. I was shocked when he wasn’t, but looking back I rather like that he’s a Slytherin.
When Albus met Scorpius, I immediately liked the Malfoy son. I was expecting him to be more like his father, but it turns out they are nothing alike, and I really appreciated that. I don’t think I would have enjoyed a déjà vu all over again. And they thought that he could possibly be Voldemort’s son? That just seemed so unlikely. Frail Astoria, of all people, going back in time and having a child with the Dark Lord?
Also, I thought the names were a bit weird. It seemed odd to me that Harry’s children would be named after people of the past while Hermione and Ron’s were just random. It also seemed weird that Hermione’s last name became Granger-Weasley while Ginny’s changed to Potter. Sure, they’re different families with different ideas and opinions, but I thought it was a little weird.
I love how different Albus and Scorpius are from their fathers, both struggling against the stereotypical identities that everyone expects them to have. Meanwhile, there’s Rose, who’s the perfect mix of both of her parents.
I almost started crying when Astoria died, because I felt so bad for Draco and Scorpius. I also felt pretty bad for Delphi and Amos. Delphi seemed really nice at the beginning, and to be honest, I didn’t suspect her at all. But I didn’t even think about the fact that Albus would soon be trying to bring Cedric back. I knew it was extremely foolish, because timeturning rarely works out.
And then here’s the scene I was a little skeptic about – the one where Harry told Albus he wished he wasn’t his son. I was a taken aback, because that’s not something Harry would say. Sure, he’s ignorant, but he is – or, used to be – an extremely compassionate person, and this is his son! In other times, too, I felt that the dialogue was off and the characters weren’t acting normal. One of the problems of the book being in script format is that you can’t see how the characters are feeling, which means everything relies on the dialogue, which means the dialogue has to be perfectly realistic.
And then Harry’s scar starts to hurt again. Seriously? At the end of book seven they made it sound like that whole plot was in the past. But no, maybe Voldemort’s back. And Draco started acting defensive, as if he knew something about it. Then, on top of all that, Albus and Scorpius try to go find the timeturner so they can bring Cedric back. (I really liked the scene with the trolley witch, how it showed that she’s so much deeper than she seems.)
Then Delphi, Scorpius, and Albus use the Polyjuice potion so that they can sneak into the Ministry of Magic. From there, things got a little weird. Albus, pretending to be Ron, starts kissing his aunt and talking about babies (and then thinks nothing of it later). This scene was so hilarious because Albus imitated Ron almost perfectly.
And then they get the timeturner from the library (which, by the way, was guarded in such a Hermione-style way that I almost started laughing), and Delphi starts teaching them how to use charms and spells and such. I noticed that Albus seemed to be taking a liking to Delphi, which is odd as she’s so much older.
Then they go back into the past and try to stop Cedric from winning the Triwizard Tourno that he doesn’t get killed by the portkey. Unfortunately, they find out that the timeturner only lasts in one place for five minutes, and they are whisked back after only changing a small detail.
At first, it seems like nothing’s happened. But then, Ron starts acting a little weird and we find out he’s not married to Hermione anymore, and Rose doesn’t exist. Plus, Hermione’s gotten quite a bit different. It made me sad to see her that way. Also, Harry’s insane.
So, Albus and Scorpius, being the geniuses that they are, decide to go back alone and fix everything once and for all. They go back to the second task of the Triwizard Tournament, and try to humiliate Cedric. I could see so much that could go wrong, and I was cringing.
But then Scorpius returns to present-day to find that, in this alternate universe, Albus doesn’t exist. Umbridge is headmistress of Hogwarts; Scorpius is the most popular student at the school; Harry Potter is dead…and now, they’re about to celebrate Voldemort Day. *gasp* It turns out, Cedric was so angry about being embarrassed and losing the second task, that he turned into a Death Eater and killed Neville before Neville could destroy the sixth Horcruz, Nagini. So Voldemort killed Harry and took over the world.
I actually really enjoyed this alternate universe, actually. I think time and time travel is amazing, and to see what the world could have been had something happened to Neville – it was just fascinating! It was depressing, though, too, and gave me lots of questions. I cried when Snape, upon learning that he died in the real world, took it easily and even sacrified himself again so that Scorpius could get away.
Now, I’ve never been a huge fan of Romione, but in this alternate universe I completely changed my mind. They were so in love, and in that way I liked this universe better than the one where they weren’t.
So, Scorpius gives up his popular life to go back and try to save Albus. Everything rights itself, EXCEPT – Delphi gets her hands on the timeturner. And it turns out she’s evil and actually wants to go back to “save Cedric.” She overtakes Albus and Scorpius and brings them back to the third task of the Triwizard tournament.
Albus and Scorpius manage to stop her, and see Cedric while he is trying to get through the maze. I almost cried when they told Cedric that his dad loves him, and I wanted to scream at them to tell Cedric the truth, even though that, of course, would be a terrible idea.
The entire time, I was expecting Mad-eye Moody to get involved. After all, he was watching the maze, wasn’t he? But he didn’t seem to care that there were two random people in the maze, presumably because he was just watching Harry.
Anyway, Delphi manages to take the boys even further back in time – to October 30, 1981 – as a chance to stop Voldemort before he attempts to kill baby Harry. We learn that Delphi is actually Voldemort and Bellatrix’s daughter, and that she wants to save him and join him as his Augurey.
This part seemed a little odd, because, honestly, the thought of Voldemort having a child with Lestrange seemed a little off – and definitely very disturbing.
Anyway, Albus and Scorpius manage to leave a clever message on the blanket that Harry had given Albus, which seemed a little too convenient. And it turns out, Draco has a timeturner, which also seemed a bit to convenient. They use it to go back in time to the day Harry’s parents died. Harry is Transfigured as Voldemort and they catch Delphi and everything is mended. I thought their little “squad” was hilarious – especially when Draco talked about how he enjoyed being bossed by Hermione.
I nearly – but not quite – cried when Harry watched his parents die again. I can’t imagine how devastating it would be to know your parents are about to be killed and have to sit there and watch it happen.
Anyway, I liked how this story had a sort of modern twist to it, whereas the previous books felt more old-fashioned. I enjoyed seeing the wizarding world in modern day, the exact way it would have been now, except with a wizarding edge.
Something I didn’t like was that the entire time I knew that everything was going to be alright (unless someone from their squad was killed, of course), because otherwise the world they had lived in would have been different from the start. I thought it was weird that they didn’t take much time at all, and no one really ever knew that they had saved the world, because it was so quite and timeless.
This is my rambling Harry Potter and the Cursed Child review! If you’re still around now, I hope you appreciated it because I spent a lot of time pouring out my rant of thoughts.
If you have a question, comment, or idea, just drop it below and I’ll get back to you. Be sure to follow if you enjoyed this post – my other ones can be found here. Let me know how you’re doing on the Bout of Books read-a-thon, and also let me know your feelings on the eighth Harry Potter story! Did you like the older characters? Did you like the plot? Put your thoughts below.
See you next time!