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LTTP: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

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This is a comprehensive review and it does contain spoilers. If you actually care about this, stop reading it now.


I shouldn't need to explain this particular book which is actually a script to a play which has been playing in the West End of London since 2016 and which apparently is being optioned for Broadway starting in 2018 has apparently been very divisive in the Harry Potter fanbase. The Amazon reviews reflect this, as overall it has 4 stars across 10,000+ ratings and yet all the most upvoted featured reviews are 1-star reviews.

I mean, it's been almost 10 years. You don't go back to the well after 10 years and not find people who have been living down there this whole time being angry about how Harry didn't end up with Luna Lovegood. Sigh.

Okay, so enough about the controversy it has engendered. It's been 10 years. Now I'm not going to lie, I bought The Deathly Hallows on the release date, plowed through it in about 14 straight hours, put the book down, and mostly didn't think about Harry Potter for nearly a decade. I was a dedicated fan of the novel series but that was where it ended, when the novels ended I more or less moved on. I never even watched the movies past Order of the Phoenix. I was happy with what I had experienced and didn't need to relive it again under the painfully mediocre film direction of David Yates, who took over because Alfonso Cuaron was too good for Harry Potter. Yates was a dreadful replacement.

Now the reason I've wasted all your time with 3 long-ass paragraphs detailing my own experiences with Harry Potter, assuming anyone has even bothered to read my post this far, is that it's all very relevant to how I felt about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Because, quite frankly, I really enjoyed it. The whole thing seemed a bit dumb, like a Universal Studios ride version of Harry Potter. I mean the story of that ride you go on in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in that theme park is probably as relevant as the story of Cursed Child. A lot of people have criticized it as being like a work of bad fanfiction. Now I'm going to have to umbrage at this statement, because I'm someone who has actually written bad fanfiction (not about Harry Potter, calm down people) and this read like really polished, affectionate, well-written fanfiction that someone closely connected with the franchise would have wrote. Someone like J.K. Rowling. But I enjoyed it all the same.

So what is good about Cursed Child?

Well, Albus and Scorpius are great. As the two main new characters, they are actually nicely written and likable.

Some of the original cast had great moments. Most notable here is of course Draco Malfoy, who after more or less fading into irrelevance around the second half of the novel series has some big developments here, especially with his one-time nemesis Harry. Draco did a lot of making up for how pointless he became in the novels once a real actual villain showed up.

Hermione and Ron have some amusing moments, especially in the alternate timelines. People howled about how Ron has been treated in this one but I just don't get it. I didn't see any issues with him, it's pretty obvious that in any putative marriage between Hermione and Ron the person in charge of everything wouldn't be Ron.

Dumbledore's painting self shows up a couple of times and some of the best conversations in this one are between Harry and Painting Dumbledore, especially the one where Dumbledore finally admits how much he fucked up trying to manage the childhood of The Boy Who Lived.

The surprising star of the tale is actually Harry Potter. Even though it starts out as Albus and Scorpius's story in Part I, by Part II it's clearly about Harry and he ends up having the most development of anyone in the story. It's why the whole thing is called Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, not Albus and Scorpius's Excellent Adventure.

So what is not so good about Cursed Child?

The actual story more or less reads like Harry Potter and His Greatest Hits, stealing story ideas straight from Prisoner of Azkaban, Goblet of Fire, and Deathly Hallows. So, the best books in the series. I know a lot of people criticized the whole time travel basis of the story, because the time travel seemed like it was there just so we could go back to events and places in the original novels and relive them with our fan nostalgia.

In many ways it's not so much like fanfiction as a filler episode of an anime, a whole bunch of stuff happens which seems really important when it's happening but at the end nothing actually happened except I guess Harry bonded with his son. He also finally buried whatever hatchet he and Draco Malfoy have been carrying around for each other all these years. Progress comes slowly when it comes to old childhood enemies at English boarding schools, I suppose.

The main villain of the story comes off as largely ridiculous. Look, I'm not going to go into a great debate about whether Voldemort ever got horny and wanted to bang someone or not. It's just that suddenly Bellatrix Lestrange having a daughter with Lordy Voldy out of nowhere is just about the dumbest retcon imaginable. It's more or less Han shoots second levels of pointless revision. Did we really need Voldy 2.0, especially one who is basically not developed at all beyond the level of being evil and wanting her father back? It boggles the mind that the Wizarding World is so devoid of anyone sufficiently evil that the only villain that could be as good as Voldy was Voldy's Angry Secret Daughter.

The constant obsession with Cedric Diggory is a bit strange. Maybe Rowling feels retroactively sorry that the entire arc of the novels ended up turning around this one random useless Hufflepuff boy who just gets unceremoniously killed by Voldemort after he's resurrected because he's standing next to Harry Potter. Either way, constantly seeing Cedric is quite jarring, just let the poor kid be dead already. Bringing up his now-elderly father is even more distasteful, I don't want to see what old Amos Diggory has been up to after he lost his only child and no one else wants to either. Leave old people alone, dammit!

Some people have criticized how time travel is handled in this one and how it is apparently contrary to how it's portrayed in Prisoner of Azkaban. I don't know if I can buy the criticism here, while the mangling of the timeline that Albus and Scorpius pull off here is almost Back to the Future in the scope of buffoonery, it's a fictional world and Rowling can make up new rules for it as she sees fit. If the timeline is no longer immutable, then that's what it is. No one can tell what Rowling what she can or cannot do with her universe. I should not fail to mention that no one in PoA travels further back in time than a day or so, but Albus and Scorpius travel back decades. If you're going to fuck up a timeline, you're more likely to do it if you go much further back in time. So even there, PoA and Cursed Child do not necessarily contradict each other.

So I've written a bunch of words, and it's doubtful anyone read this far, but for the few poor souls who did I should bring the whole thing back to my original point. I really enjoyed Cursed Child. Some of the emotional moments were genuinely emotional. A number of old and new characters were a pleasure to meet and revisit. The plot was absolutely absurd and some of it was a bit too much of a rehash of what had happened in the 7 previous novels, and the villain seemed shoehorned in because someone apparently had to be the villain since He Who Must Be Repeatedly Named For Nostalgia's Sake was so unavailable, having been tied up with previous appointments in Valhalla. Why this story even needed a villain at all was a mystery, I feel like they could have pulled this off without having one.

I mean, yeah, it's pretty much a filler episode. But there are good filler episodes and bad filler episodes. This was a pretty good one. Also, Albus and Scorpius have like the greatest bromance going in all of Hogwarts. Whew.
I have no desire to read Cursed Child until I see it in its intended form first. Looking forward to seeing it live one day.


I haven't seen the play but the script was ...
It felt like a glorified fan fiction and that whole
Voldemort's daughter time travel thing
was stupid as hell. I hope we will eventually be able to see the play if it ever hits to Bluray but other than that i am definetely NOT a fan of this continuation.


The main problem I had was how incredibly stupid Albus and Scorpius are and sorely lacking a Hermione like figure in the their group, and yet Randomly come up with ingenious methods like
the rug messaging

Also the villian is such a 2D
Evil has given birth to evil
stereotype. And I agree that there is too much fan service.

The ending was nice though.


Tl dr didn't read OP lol
Finally had time to read the book last month, it was decent I'd say, I can say I enjoyed it
Will definitely check out the movie whenever that is


Saw the play this past Saturday, it was fantastic.

Now the story has elements that work really well and others that don't at all.

I agree that Albus and Scorpius are brilliant together, they play of each other nicely. Harry has some fantastic moments and overall there is some good development going on across most of the characters.

Honestly if they were to adapt this story into a film I would really like to just follow Albus and Scorpius year-by-year instead of putting 4 years in a single film. I know that would basically mean to abandon most of the story presented here but, not going into spoilers, most of the story isn't very good. Though it does give the characters a lot of moment to grow.
So I've only read it and not seen it, which I'm sure will affect my opinion of it.

Cedric becoming a Death Eater is the worst character assassination ever. I'm sorry, there is no timeline where this happens. Dumb dumb dumb.

Similarly, I think Ron and Hermione's characterization reflects Jo's distance from the series since finishing the seventh book. Ron becomes a moron and Hermione becomes super duper perfect genius. She never struck me as a Minister for Magic, while Ron getting too drunk at his own wedding? He's a bit thick sometimes, but come on.


I just want to saw that the ply was pretty awesome. The was a blackout in soho the second evening we went, so glad the electricity came back we us to go to the performance. The effects work was phenomenal and the script kinda works on stage.


I saw both parts of the play today and they were utterly amazing.
I'd already read the book when it first came out but the play is a totally different experience, a far better one. The cast were all brilliant (though I believe many of the cast members are changing soon) and the effects...more than once I was watching and just thinking "how the hell did they do that on stage?"
Just read it.

Started okay. Wasn't sure about the years skipping forward so quick but I enjoyed Albus and Scorpius as characters and the dynamic with their fathers was good and an interesting perspective

Then everything went to shit. Delphi was terrible. I don't mind the idea of Voldy having a baby to Bellatrix - I don't necessarily buy that he is asexual. And I could have seen him using sex as another expression of power. Nothing in the original books would lead me to think it's not possible, but they were kids books so no reason to touch on it. However that didn't stop her inclusion from feeling weak and fan fictional. Never mind that it doesn't fit the timeline at all considering Bellatrix never really had a 9 month hiatus in the books, did she?

I am generally a fan of time travel so I am not against its inclusion inherently, but to go and break so many of the universes own rules to make it work is just sloppy. And their motivation just made zero sense to me, I mean for Cedric? Really? And if they were really playing with time travel it felt like a missed opportunity to have some genuine interaction between Albus and young Harry and thread it into the story of their fracturing relationship.

Why were Albus and Scorpio able to see into the Potters house at the end? Isn't it effected by the fidelity charm?

Meeting Snape and telling him what had happened felt so cringeworthy and his reaction was truly out of step for his character. A lot of the character cameos felt like this - discussing things you'd be interested in hearing the discussion on in theory (like Harry confronting Dumbledore over the Dursleys, or Draco confessing his jealousy of Harry) but done in such a way that it feels forced and out of character.

The play lacked any real element of mystery, build up, puzzle solving etc that made the books such a good read. It just didn't feel like it was from the same series.

Don't care that the characters seemed to go into job and character roles that totally went against their teenage selves. That is fine, it reflects change in motivation and attitudes.

Lots of issues. I'm sure it comes off a lot better on stage but generally it feels like the script is a bit underdeveloped and I have to question how much oversight Rowling truly had,

Overall I think they could have done a lot more with Albus as a genuine character in a novel so it feels almost a bit of a waste. I'd prefer to think of it as not canon, or maybe as separate canon specific to the stage - kind of like Game of Thrones TV is to ASOIAF.
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