‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

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“THE EIGHTH STORY. NINETEEN YEARS LATER…
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 a 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.”

As a huge fan of Harry Potter, when I heard J.K. Rowling was once again diving into the magical world of Hogwarts and it’s inhabitants I was thoroughly thrilled. The idea of a brand new adventure starring Harry and co filled me with excitement and I couldn’t help but think up dozens of possible plot lines, each of them more fantastic than the last. So when ‘Cursed Child’ was published, I eagerly strolled down to my local Waterstones and picked up a copy. I read the entire thing in one day and I have to be honest, I was so disappointed.

The entire tale read like one of the worst fanfictions I’d ever come across. The idea of time travelling and different alternate realities is interesting but the characters that I’ve grown to know and love were absolutely destroyed and written so poorly that it ruined any semblance of an actual storyline. I had a lot of issues with this script and yes, I will probably put the book down and never ever touch it again but that’s mainly due to a few points that really stood out to me as truly awful writing.

Number one: How Hermione’s character is butchered when Albus and Scorpius go back in time. In the initial timeline, Hermione is happily married to Ron and is a kind and great Minister for Magic (no issues there). So why in the second timeline after Albus and Scorpius mess with Cedric’s performance in the First Task of the TriWizard Tournament does Hermione turn into a single teacher who is quite frankly strict to the point of rudeness to her young charges. You can’t honestly expect me to believe that Hermione’s success was down to marrying Ron because that is the single most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. And Hermione’s not the only female character that was badly written, what about McGonagall? Since when would Minerva McGonagall, all round badass boss lady, take orders from Harry Potter? I’m sorry but no matter what his job is if she thought what he wanted would harm his child she would tell him to take a long walk off a short plank without hesitation.

As for Harry’s characterisation: what was that even about? Are you really telling me that Harry James Potter, who spent his entire childhood isolated and alone, miserable and unloved, that he would purposely separate his child from his only friend? Because that is the single most hideous bastardisation of his character that I’ve yet seen. The Harry Potter who made my childhood magical and who was the hero of those 7 books wouldn’t have allowed his prejudices or fears to hurt his child. He would have understood better than anyone how it felt to be alone without friends, isolated and vulnerable.

Speaking of horrendous twisting of characters, does anyone really think that Cedric Diggory, the perfect embodiment of Hufflepuff House, would ever turn killer just because he got embarrassed in the Tournament? It’s a complete misunderstanding of his character to suggest that just because he failed means that he would become so twisted that he would not only become a Death Eater but would murder Neville. Obviously the writers don’t think much of Hufflepuff kindness and loyalty.

Speaking of Cedric, with all due respect to his character because I really loved him and I honestly don’t think he deserved his fate but was he really the only one worth saving? There were so many other people who J.K. killed off who deserved to live. I mean, what about Sirius who spent 12 years in Azkaban, 2 on the run and then 1 locked up in the house he hated his entire life that symbolised his family’s hatred of him? What about Mad Eye Moody who died a brave and entirely unnecessary  soldiers death? What about Fred? Dobby? How about Remus and Tonks who never got to see their baby grow up? It’s honestly ridiculous that Cedric was the focal point of all the survivor’s guilt of the play, especially considering they clearly just used his character and twisted it to match their awful storyline. Also, now that I’ve mentioned Teddy Lupin, where was he? Where were all the other characters who featured in the books like Bill and Fleur who for some reason completely vanished when Harry thought Voldemort might be coming back? You’d think the old members of the Order of the Phoenix would want to know about that?

And as for Voldemort coming back, I know its a stage play and it has to be entertaining and fit in with the genre but I didn’t think it was a pantomime? Why is Voldemort’s voice hissing in the background like some cheap villain? I half suspected someone to turn around in the scene in Godric’s Hollow and scream “HE’S BEHIND YOU!” It’s honestly just so cheesy it’s terrible and it takes away any actual fear a terrifying dark wizard like him who’s already such a well known established villain should inspire. Plus, why is there a Voldemort Day? What sort of lame ass ridiculous notion is that? It’s such a terrible idea I can’t even begin to explain, other than Voldemort is such an evil dictator he’d want every day to be his day, not just one day a year. If they can’t even get a pure evil villain right then honestly they should just call it a day.

Now I know that this incredibly long rant seems like I detested the entire play, which isn’t completely true. There were some positives, for example the characters of Scorpius and Draco Malfoy were spot on. I loved the idea of Scorpius being this total nerd who loves awful puns, is an amazing friend, an incredibly brave boy and is madly in love with Rose. Plus Draco’s consistent love and prioritisation of his son’s welfare was lovely to see. What was really nice was that this also provided a positive example of Slytherin House and showed them as something other than the evil villains, which was refreshing and, as a Slytherin myself, I adored. I can also imagine that the play must look visually stunning, as some of the magic and scenery must be phenomenal to see on stage.

But, basically I hated the storyline and the fact most of the characters were ruined. The worst thing is I’m now praying for everyone to leave Harry alone and just let him have some peace before they ruin him even more, which I never thought I would. I can imagine I’d enjoy watching it if I tried to view it as a separate stand alone piece, but I definitely wouldn’t pay to go. It’s pretty much a perfect example of awful writing being ignored just to make money, and sadly it’s put stain on my love of Harry Potter that will probably never come out. I’m going to do my best to ignore this play ever happened and just pretend J.K. stopped writing after ‘The Deathly Hallows’ but since I loved the Malfoy’s so much, I’ll resist the urge to give it zero stars and instead I’ll take a leaf out of Cedric’s book and show some Hufflepuff kindness and loyalty.

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