As you should all know (unless you’ve been living under a rock), on July 31st the eighth story in the Harry Potter series, The Cursed Child was released in book form. It is already on stage at the West End, as has been since the end of June. I went into town on the 31st not really planning on buying the book, even though I saw it in WHSmith and it was being sold half price if you bought it with some other Harry Potter things, but I resisted the temptation and… went to Primark instead. I did buy some Harry Potter t-shirts though! I know, this review isn’t going great so far but I’ll get there eventually! I would like to say that I will try and keep this review as spoiler free as possible, but if there are any spoilers I will let you know in advance!
When I got home I was talking to a couple of blogging friends of mine who had ALREADY finished the book, and couldn’t recommend it more, so the next day I went to Sainsbury’s and bought it for £9, which I think is a decent price for a brand new hardback. But then, everywhere is selling The Cursed Child super cheap so if you still want to get a copy, then make sure you do it fast!
Now let’s get onto the review. I have read the original Harry Potter series, but it’s been a while since reading any of the books or watching any of the films. However, if you’ve been brought up in the Wizarding Fandom like myself, it’s hard to forget about all of it. I didn’t have much of a problem getting used to reading The Cursed Child as a script, as I’ve had to read, and analyse plenty of scripts before but I can understand why some people may not like reading in this way at first. However, I would say it’s easy to get into it. The writing flows really well, and you can definitely picture it being so magical on stage. I feel like it being a script helped me read The Cursed Child quicker, as I managed to finish it in a day, which is the fastest I’ve ever read anything that is over 50 pages long!
The story takes place where Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ends. We start at King’s Cross Station, on Platform 9 and 3/4, with Albus Potter preparing for his first year at Hogwarts. Rose Granger-Weasley is also going to Hogwarts for the first time, but we can immediately see the Albus doesn’t feel the same excitement as everybody else. On the train, Albus meets Scorpius Malfoy, and the two become friends. However, Rose doesn’t want anything to do with him, and so goes to find somewhere else to sit. And so begins the story.
Harry and Albus have an interesting relationship, and we see that it’s not so easy for either of them to actually try and make things better between them. Harry feels disconnected from Albus, unlike his relationship with James and Lily (his other two children). The whole story is mostly about how the two try to get to know each other better, but it proves harder than anyone thought possible. As the years go by, Albus becomes more and more distant from Harry, and feels like he needs to prove himself, as his father once did. So, when an elderly Amos Diggory comes to Harry asking if it is possible to go back in time to try and save Cedric, Albus overhears and wants to take actions into his own hands.
When I first started reading, I felt like everything was going quite fast. The first three school years seem a bit rushed, and you don’t really get a whole feeling of how much Albus hates Hogwarts. He voices his opinions, but when I was reading it I felt that there wasn’t much to show it. However, this isn’t really the whole premise of the story. When things really start to get going, it’s easy to fly through the pages and be surprised that you’ve suddenly finished Act One. And then you’ve got to the end of Act two. As the plot progresses, you just want to know more and more and want to find out how it is possible for anyone to get out of the mess that has been created.
The other thing I loved was how Slytherin house is no longer seen as the “evil” house, which we can see through Scorpius Malfoy. It was also great for me, because I am a Proud Slytherin, and I think if I was any character, I would be Scorpius. He is so nice, and genuine, and smart, you’d have thought he could be a Hufflepuff! It surprised me how much of a major role Scorpius would be, especially in Part 2, because I saw him as a kind of Ron replacement, or a Ron equivalent at the beginning. Of course there are other students who bully Scorpius and Albus, but their houses aren’t always identified so it highlights that being placed in a certain house or group shouldn’t immediately determine what you are like as a person.
The Cursed Child, in comparison to the original series, is not as good in my opinion. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like it, though. I think if I was able to watch it on stage I would be able to really understand what Rowling, Thorne and Tiffany wanted to show to the audience, and that’s something you’ll never be able to truly capture just from reading the script. But in saying that, I felt chills when plot twists were revealed, I often shouted out things like “OH MY GOD?!” and “AHHHH!” and my brother, who hasn’t read it yet, walked in at one point and asked me to be quiet! I would definitely recommend The Cursed Child to any Harry Potter fan, because although it may not be perfect in every way, it was definitely what I needed after such a long time without a new installment in the Wizarding World.