So I meant to get a post up yesterday but things got busy and then when I finally had some free time/motivation, my copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child finally decided to show up. Of course I dropped everything. I have so many feelings. Too many to really put in words but I’m going to try.
I guess here’s my review/recap/thoughts of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Fair warning, I can’t really fully process/review this without spoilers, so SPOILERS AHEAD. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
The play begins right where the last book’s epilogue left off – with all of Albus Severus’ insecurities about being put in Slytherin and Harry comforting him. However, we get a picture of a less confident Harry – all is not well the end of book seven LIED. Ahem. Anyway, so Rose (Ron and Hermione’s daughter) and Albus get on the train and meet Scorpius Malfoy, Draco’s son and my new favorite character. Rose knows exactly who he is and wants nothing to do with him. I don’t know how I feel about this, considering that the parents of these kids fought a war to get rid of prejudices.
Albus, on the other hand, hits it off with Scorpius and decides to hang out with him (after Scorpius sings a jingle about candy helping him make friends because he’s a sweet, sweet baby). We find out there’s a rumor that Malfoy and his wife couldn’t actually reproduce and that they sent Astoria (the wife, who dies shortly into Scorpius’ Hogwarts career) back in time to have Voldemort’s kid aka Scorpius, so the poor kid has to deal with bad press on top of already being a Malfoy. Because we can’t have a Harry Potter story without the press and the general public being awful to our protagonists. They get to Hogwarts and surprise, surprise, Albus is sorted into Slytherin with his new best bud.
We get some flashes of the next three years at Hogwarts – Albus can’t fly, Scorpius is a nerd, Rose is a Quidditch and academic prodigy because of course she is. There’s a lot of turmoil between Albus and Harry, with Albus unable to live up to the expectations of being the Harry Potter’s son and Harry unable to connect with Albus but being fine with James and Lily (the other two, perfectly normally named kids). This culminates in a huge fight the night before he starts his fourth year at Hogwarts. Some really bad things are said – Albus reaches peak Potter angst and triggers a resurgence of Harry’s fits from Order of the Phoenix. Albus says he wishes he wasn’t Harry Potter’s son and of course Harry replies that sometimes he wishes Albus wasn’t his son either. Ouch.
I had a little bit of trouble processing that someone who had as awful a childhood and caretakers as Harry did could possibly say that to his kid, but I understand. A lot of people have been ripping the play apart for that particular line, but I think it’s very in character of Harry to say things he doesn’t mean, and he is immediately apologetic after and hates himself for saying it. Not to mention, the resurgence of scar pain and whispers of Voldemort coming back have him on edge and could very well be responsible for his bad attitude – affinity for the dark and whatnot.
Anyway. On the parents side of this, we get peeks into the ministry life. Hermione is Minister of Magic, and Harry is Head of Magical Law Enforcement. Ron runs the joke shop with his brother. We learn from Harry and Hermione that they busted an old Slytherin, Theodore Nott, in possession of a Time Turner. They try to keep this info secret but rumors spread and it lends credibility to the stories of Scorpius’ supposed parentage. The rumors spread far enough that Amos Diggory (remember Cedric from Goblet of Fire? His dad.) finds out and shows up in the middle of the night at Harry’s with his neice Delphi (more on her later) to demand Harry use it to go back to save Cedric aka the spare from Voldemort.
Harry is sensible and refuses, but Albus overhears. The next day, Albus gets Scoprius to ditch the Hogwarts Express with him after Rose tells him the rumors about the Time Turner are true. After a delightful scene in which the Trolley Witch throws pastry grenades and metamorphs into a clawed guardian of the train, the boys escape and head to the old people home where Amos lives.
They tell Amos they’ll go back and correct Harry’s mistake. The two boys, accompanied by Delphi, leave to steal the Time Turner from Hermione’s office and polyjuice hijinks ensue.
So that’s where I’ll stop telling the story in detail, for those who still want to read it.
What follows is an insane adventure involving Albus and Scorpius using the time turner to go back to the Triwizard Tournament from Harry’s youth to stop Cedric from making it to the end of the Maze. They start by sabotaging the first task, but that gets him killed anyway and when they get back to the present, things are only slightly off – Albus is a Gryffindor, Hermione and Ron aren’t together, things are still awful with Harry – to the point that he demands Albus stop being friends with Scorpius. They go back a second time and mess up the second task, but this results in Cedric becoming a death eater and Harry’s death at the Battle of Hogwarts. When Scorpius returns to the present, the world is ruled by Voldemort and he’s the king of Hogwarts, as a Malfoy would be in that world.
It takes a bit longer to get out of this reality, and involves Scorpius getting the help of a still supportive Draco (even though he’s taken Harry’s job at the ministry and should be evil. But he’s not! Yay!) and living Snape. Ron and Hermione are also alive in this universe but living as fugitives and not together romantically.After Scorpius explains everything, Snape, Ron, and Hermione sacrifice themselves at the hands of dementors to help him go back once more. They fix the Triwizard tasks and all is well.
Until it isn’t, because when the adults find Albus and Scorpius, the latter lies about losing the time turner. He and Albus decide to destroy it, but not before alerting Delphi. When she arrives to help them destoy it, it turns out she was evil all along (Voldemort’s daughter via Bellatrix – who knew?) and she goes back in time and takes them with her. At first she tries to stop Cedric in the maze, but she’s foiled and is forced to go back a second time.She destroys the Time Turner when they land before Albus and Scorpius know where they’ve landed.
Turns out they landed on the day Voldemort kills Lily and James Potter. The boys manage to send a message through time to their parents, and the adults use a Time Turner that Draco had (because of course he had one – Malfoys have everything) to go back in time and meet them at Godric’s Hollow. After a fight with Delphi, they manage to stop her but end up reliving the murder of Harry’s parents. It’s all very heartbreaking.
Through it all, Albus and Harry start to repair their relationship.
And that’s the gist. I’ve left out a lot, believe it or not. Overall, the story felt like I was reading sanctioned fan fiction, but I definitely did enjoy it. Plus, I’ve read enough bad fan fiction in my life and as far as it goes, this isn’t the worst. And I thoroughly enjoyed all the small character moments:
- Albus and Scorpius are soulmates and there’s nothing anyone can do to convince me otherwise. They are destined to be together forever, preferably in a romantic capacity given Scorpius’ jealousy at Albus’ interactions with Delphi and his seemingly forced crush on Rose. (As much as it breaks my Dramione heart).
- Harry has some great conversations with Dumbledore’s portrait that seem straight out of his most angst-filled moments in Order of the Phoenix. As much as I hate angsty Harry, I loved how real those bits felt and the call back to the books. Also, he’s afraid of pigeons. And the dark and small spaces (that bit absolutely breaks my heart).
- All of the moments between Harry and Albus are filled with tension and emotion and so many issues that every one breaks my heart.
- Exactly how many times do we have to relive the deaths of the Potters? Making Harry watch was probably the most heart-wrenching moment for me. I actually cried.
- Ginny is as great a mom as you’d expect her to be, given that she was raised by the best examples of parenthood to come from this universe.
- Older Snape seems to have softened up a bit, and I like that. He even jokes about Ron and Hermione being married in the other universe. He jokes.
- Draco wins the award for best dad out of the original bunch, even though we don’t see much of Ron as a dad outside of his jokes and general silliness. Even in the AU where he’s supposed to be evil, he still cares deeply for his son and is willing to trust and help him.
- Draco: “Hermione Granger. I’m being bossed around by Hermione Granger. (She turns towards him. He smiles.) And I’m mildly enjoying it.” – WHAT. My Dramione heart grew ten billion times its size. There are several other few small moments of interaction between them but this takes the cake for best line ever. Is it bad I hope Hermione outlives Ron and these two find bliss in second marriages to each other?
She feels like that OC that someone makes up as a self-insert. I’ve read sooooo many fan fictions where people make up Voldemort’s kid (hell, even I’m guilty of having written a kid for Bellatrix), and she doesn’t seem any more plausible than those. SHE EVEN HAS BLUE STREAKS IN HER HAIR. BLUE STREAKS. If you’ve read My Immortal, you’ll know why that’s hilarious. If not, please do.
Also – how did no one (especially Draco) not know that Bellatrix was pregnant? The kid was born at Malfoy Manor! At least, that’s the story she was told. I don’t know that I actually believe she’s a Riddle. But also, I don’t imagine that covering up a pregnancy would be that difficult with magic involved. Plus, recovering from a pregnancy would explain why Bellatrix was killed so easily in the Battle of Hogwarts (not to discredit Molly’s badassery, here, but it’s how my brain is trying to reconcile the pregnancy).
General issues I had with the story:
- Why couldn’t we get more about the ladies? Ginny was great, and so was Hermione, but we didn’t get nearly enough about them. We don’t get to see Hermione as a mother outside of “Maybe I work too much.” Rose was just glimpses here and there – sometimes snobbish, sometimes okay. Really – for a series written by a woman, you’d think they’d dedicate more time to her female characters. Maybe throw Rose into the adventure too rather than make the villain the only woman with any importance.
- I would have loved at least one scene between Scorpius (or Draco) and Astoria. She sounded like she was a wonderful mom and wife. Let her be more than just fuel for Draco and Scorpius’ emotional fire – actually make us care about her.
- Kind of wish I saw more Ron, too. He seemed kind of one dimensional – all he did was crack jokes. He was more than the buffoon/comic relief in the books and movies.
- As much as I know that JKR isn’t writing another book, I feel like a story this complicated would actually have been served better in a novel format. A novel would have given us the room to dedicate time to all the characters we wanted to see, not to mention it might have helped in not making the plot feel so convoluted. Still, I’m glad we got anything at all. Just wish there was more of it.
Anyway, that’s all I can think of off the top of my head. It’s worth the read if only for the small gems of interaction between the characters. If the plot seems convoluted, it’s because it is. Like I said, sanctioned fan fiction – but fun to read, enjoyable fan fiction.
As always, think happy thoughts!