Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts I & II (Special Rehearsal Edition)
Joanne K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany
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 playscript for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was originally released as a "special rehearsal edition" alongside the opening of Jack Thorne's play in London's West End in summer 2016. Based on an original story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne, the play opened to rapturous reviews from theatergoers and critics alike, while the official playscript became an immediate global bestseller.
Reviewed: 2021-05-22Done. Read. After two years, I have finally picked up the long-awaited sequel that was not so much of a sequel - not how, I think, many fans imagined it.
It was a play, there was no doubt about it but it did definitely give, in essence, what I... wanted? I got to find out how the rest of Harry´s life played out and it was nice.
I could not help but feel the difference between simply reading the script and reading a book. It was not that the plot and all the particulars were not good enough, it was only that it was not fleshed out and made out to be played, not read. That is really the only problem with the book.
I mean, all right, the time travelling was a bit wild but overall, yes, I am satisfied.
I did not grow up reading the books, I actually saw the films first, that also helped, I think. I am not such a Potterhead to be that particular about the book. (Even if it did take me so long to pick it up... =D)
Reviewed: 2021-02-20Refraining from rating on this one. I think I'll take some bits and pieces from this as canon and leave the rest as-is. Honestly, I've seen countless people calling this fanfic and it... kind of really is. Authorized fanfic, but still.
Starting with the negatives: I'm not in the least impressed by the plot, as it was full of holes and went from 'let's revisit all Harry Potter books and find ways to appeal to the fans by including this specific thing' to 'let's drop this plot point for shock value and not because it makes so much sense'. I'm sure plenty of people have already worked out entire essays about this though, so enjoy my super vague non-spoilerish comment instead.
And I know nineteen years will change people - I wasn't expecting the trio to be 100% the same as they were at Deathly Hallows. Still, I missed them and couldn't quite discover them in these people, except maybe Hermione. (But I'm also biased, so.)
Then we have the next generation. Though Rose rather disappointed me there (I hope she cleans up her act more, she's still learning and growing), I was immediately taken by Scorpius. Ticks all the boxes, precious child protect him etc. Also, good job for getting me to ship him with Albus within five minutes. I'd seen the baiting comments before so I was prepared it wouldn't lead anywhere and don't get me wrong, I love their friendship, but dang did it feel like the whole script was building up to something other than friendship between these two. What a missed opportunity there. (And it's way, way easier to roll with them as a couple than with Delphi's origins, what the actual heck.)
In all honesty, after the first scenes I was hoping for more Hogwarts shenanigans and less convoluted time travel plot, especially what with Albus and Scorpius carrying most of the plot. I get it, Harry Potter's Kids and the Fairly Uneventful Year at Hogwarts wouldn't really draw an audience, but still. (I lie. I'd literally read a book on how paint dries at Hogwarts. Give me all the magical history and classes.)
I liked parts of what we got is what I can say here, I guess. I might think about it some more and maybe rate it after all, but for now... Yeah, fanfic.
ETA: Okay, you know what, I'm more riled up about this than I thought at first. Still not gonna give a rating, but I'm not super enthusiastic about this book.
("But it's a script, it can only shine on stage!" This is true, but it doesn't excuse the fact that the plot is a mess on paper. Good plays can stand on their own on paper. It's obviously way better to see a play performed, but if it falls apart the minute you only have the written words in front of you without the performance to distract you from what is being said, something went wrong.)
I don't buy Delphi's parentage. Not at all. I think that she believes Voldemort is her father, sure, but I highly doubt he actually is for many, many reasons. How do they even know for sure, anyway? Only because Rodolphus told her, unless I entirely missed something there? Clearly the wizarding world has no fool-proof parentage tests, or those ridiculous rumors about Scorpius would have been cleared up a lot sooner. It makes more sense for Delphi to have been an orphan being convinced she was Voldemort's daughter and therefore determined to bring him back. And that would have been a way better plot. Ditch the whole time-traveling shit; unless you carefully plan it out (which is safe to say this play didn't), you're almost always bound to break your own rules. And we wouldn't have had any of that 'Cedric got humiliated in a game so he turns into a death eater and kills Neville' bullshit, because seriously, what the hell was up with that.
But you know what? Just because Voldemort died, doesn't mean his followers and his ideas did, too. A misled Delphi gathering followers to bring back her 'father' could work without the time travel. In the end, it doesn't matter whether she is his daughter or not - as long as people believe she is and/or continues his heritage, it's enough to get a gathering. (Heck, she could even say she's a lost horcrux or something, whatever.) She could still attempt time travel, but the plot could have insisted on there no longer being time turners, never mind super extra special powerful ones. And honestly, I was expecting a plot more along those lines - Harry dealing both with a son he can't understand, and with new threats to the wizarding world as even though Voldemort has died, there are still people with bad intentions out there. I wasn't expecting revisiting the past and changing everything, only to undo it after all. (And hey, if you can go that far back in time, why not kill Voldemort while he was just a baby? Surely that would probably negate some people's existences, but Albus and Scorpius didn't think that one through in the plot we got, either.)
And another thing - Ron Weasley handing out love potions as a joke? The same Ron Weasley who fell victim to one of those and knows how shitty they are? And then the plot conveniently forgot Tom Riddle was conceived under the influence of one, and look how well that turned out? Bullshit. They could have used literally any other potion to get the same result, because in the end, all that really mattered for the plot was that it was spilled on the blanket and reacted with the message. Sigh. I honestly don't understand how the Imperius curse is forbidden and love potions are not. Relatively small point, but still.
I'm not done yet. Because Harry Potter telling his kid he sometimes wished he wasn't his son? What? I can imagine Harry being an awkward dad, not really knowing how to handle being one, sure. I can imagine Harry going 'I don't understand you at all' or something along those lines, considering the plot demanded a WHAM line and Harry had the most trouble connecting to Albus. But seriously, what the hell? Harry Potter aka the boy who, despite being an orphan raised in a terrible household, still had so much to give, and was able to defeat Voldemort because he understood love after all he went through? (By the way, thanks from Sirius, Remus, Hagrid, Arthur etc. for dismissing them as father figures. Maybe not in his youngest years, no, but Harry definitely had examples later on, plus he gained a family he could rely on in the Weasleys.) Honestly. Harry Potter telling his kid 'sometimes I wish you weren't my son'? What. The. Bloody. Hell.
It does sound familiar though. Coupled with the whole 'you can't see Scorpius anymore' bit and where Albus says it's better for the two of them not to see each other anymore. Because out of context, this sounds exactly like a thing a homophobic parent would say. And yes, I'm going there again - because the Scorpius and Albus scenes definitely read as a slowly growing romantic relationship. And honestly, I am down with it, and this is why I am so upset with that last scene going all 'but we are Totally Attracted to Girls' (complete with Scorpius's very out of character statement of just needing time to persuade her, nice, great, we definitely need more 'who cares about what a girl wants she just needs some convincing' scenes in the world). Because the rest of the play is saying something different, and this felt like the biggest cop out.
Where did we last see two friends being all awkward about hugging? Oh right, Chamber of Secrets with Hermione and Ron. Look at that. (Granted, that's the movie, but I have no qualms about bringing in movie canon, considering the play seemed to have lifted Ron from the movies and gave him very little chance to shine the way he did in the books.)
Scorpius could only ward off the dementors once he thought about Albus. Snape even compared that to his feelings for Lily - and regardless of my thoughts on that, for him, those are definitely romantic feelings. And then we get: 'You're giving up your kingdom for Albus, right?'
"If I had to choose a companion to be at the return of eternal darkness with, I’d choose you."
"In fact, you’re probably the best person I know. And you don’t - you couldn’t - hold me back. You make me stronger - and when Dad forced us apart - without you -”
“I didn’t much like my life without you in it either.”
I can go on. And on. Because it's in most of the scenes these two have together. What's that you say? 'Why can't they just be friends'? Oh sure, they can. Like in those 50 billion other stories we have. We already get two boys being just good friends all the time, would it really kill them to use this opportunity for something else for once, for such a big audience? If you're going to show me all of these things, then don't turn around and tell me 'oh but they like girls after all! Not a chance they'd like each other!'. I won't buy it, and it's just harmful.
Rowling can state in an interview years later that Dumbledore's gay and that's all nice and dandy, but it was never explicitly stated in seven, rather big books. You can read between the lines with Grindelwald and see it there, sure, but it's never stated, and representation matters. If they have Harry having heart-felt talks with Dumbledore's portrait anyway, bringing up 'love blinds us', why on earth not take this opportunity to bring this out in the open so it's in canon once and for all? Dumbledore confides so much in Harry anyway, why not this? Is being gay something to be ashamed of? Something to be shoved aside by comments of 'I asked out a girl after all', lest people might think there's something going on between the two male characters?
The world of Harry Potter means so much to me. I don't want to shove everything under the carpet what happens in this play just out of nostalgia, however. I'm critical here precisely because I care and because I know first-hand how much influence stories can have. This would have been a great opportunity to create more acceptance and representation.
People have written better and more coherent articles on this, so I'll leave them to it. This was just my hissy take on it.
That being said, I'll take:
- Harry being afraid of pigeons
- The few moments Ron did get to shine
- Black Hermione, because at least that's one step in the right direction of representation
- Professor McGonagall
- This Ginny over movie!Ginny
- Draco's development
- Scorpius Malfoy this precious nerd child, 'relatively nice kid' for understatement of the century
- Beauxbatons being 10000% done with the Triwizard Tournament
- The Scorpius/Albus relationship, whether romantically or not, but I know how I see it for the future. They're only fourteen, they have plenty of time. I just would have really liked to see at least a possibility for them being acknowledged, not shut down with a 'lol girls right'.
Reviewed: 2021-02-05I'd give this one and a half stars if I could. I didn't hate it, but I didn't think it was good either. It reads like fan fiction and tries to cash in by putting in as many references to the previous books as possible. I think "meh" sums it up pretty well.
Reviewed: 2020-02-26I was a bit scared when I started it cause I know a lot of fans had been disappointment. Maybe because of my low expectations, I enjoyed it thoughtfully. I get how it can be disappointing, it is very different from the books, and it obviously hasn't been written by Rowling, but for me it brought the characters back to life.
Reviewed: 2019-04-20This Drarry fanfiction reader had no complaints.
Reviewed: 2019-02-063/5 stars? I'm not sure.
I kind of liked the direction of the story from about 30%. The part before that is just massively depressing. It's also depressing after that though and didn't really leave me with happy feelings. It's nothing like the bookseries.
That would be fine, except that it just falls a bit flat. I miss a bit more character building and information. They never really become 'real' characters. They remain 'thin' and distant
I kind of wished this series would have been left alone, it ended it perfectly on it's own. All the characters haven't really turned out how I'd hoped.
Was it something different and daring? Yes. But I would've enjoyed it more if it just wasn't so depressing and had a little more depth to it.
I'm curious how they transfer some of these concepts to the stage, it'll probably tale a lot of special effects.
Reviewed: 2016-10-04No. Just... No. That 1 star is because of Scorpius. That's it. Ugh.
Reviewed: 2016-07-30I really liked it! Yes, there are some things that mess up the canon, and a big couple of things that just don't make sense if you think about them too hard, and a couple of characters who are a little out of character, but overall I thought it was lovely. The beginning took a bit to get into, especially with the play format, but it very soon after, it was like greeting an old friend. There are a couple of triumphant fist in the air moments (Hermione!!!), and maybe I cried once or twice or a lot. Hard to say.
I do hope it gets staged in the U.S. I would love to see what they do with the sets.
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