Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

Harry_Potter_and_the_Cursed_Child_Special_Rehearsal_Edition_Book_CoverI will try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible.

This story takes place 19 years after the events of the Battle of Hogwarts at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Harry, Ginny, Ron, and Hermione are seeing their children off at Platform 9 3/4. It’s clear that Harry struggles to get along with his son Albus. Fast-forward a few years, and things have only worsened on that front. Albus is in Slytherin and best friends with Draco Malfoy’s son Scorpius. Albus struggles with being the son of the Boy Who Lived and wishes to do something heroic of his own, to make a name for himself. So he and Scorpius steal a Time-Turner and attempt to prevent the death of Cedric Diggory (whom Voldemort killed at the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, saying, “kill the spare”). They are prompted to do so by Delphi, who is Cedric’s cousin. Clearly, these three would have benefited from seeing the Muggle classic Back to the Future, and therefore learning that changing anything in the past can have terrible and unforeseen consequences in the future. Can they undo their mistakes and prevent the rise of Voldemort? Can they mend their relationships with their fathers? Can any of them be redeemed? Should they?

The play redeems Draco considerably. He has clearly grown from the bully and prat he had been as a teen, though still holds a great deal of resentment toward Harry (and we would expect nothing less). His son, Scorpius, is hands-down my favorite character. I’m a sucker for a person who loves bad puns. Delphi felt a little flat to me. Albus was annoying, but as a teenage boy who hates his dad, he’s kind of supposed to be, I think.

Look, I love the world of Harry Potter, and I love time-travel stories, so this story was right up my alley. The format may be a little tough to get used to for anyone not accustomed to reading scripts, for that is all this is. That can make characterizations a bit weak since there’s no room for exposition, as a friend of mine complained. This can be especially true for the new characters who can’t benefit from our previous knowledge of them from earlier in the series. I didn’t really have a problem with this, but I can see how others would.

Any Harry Potter fan is likely already going to read the book, so I’ll not preach to the choir here. If you haven’t seen the films or read the books, this is not the place to start, but it’s definitely a good place to end up.

Review by Jessica A.

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