Monday, December 5, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child-- My belated thoughts

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

It's been nineteen years since the Battle of Hogwarts.  Harry Potter now works at the Ministry and has 3 kids going to Hogwarts.  The youngest of the three shares a name with 2 of Harry's idols, but Harry can't connect with this boy like he can his other 2 kids.  Albus Severus Potter is sick of being the "disappointing" Potter.  He's sick of having people stare and judge.  His dad doesn't seem to get how his fame has affected his youngest son's life and Albus doesn't have the energy to explain it to him.  As the rift grows larger between father and son, it becomes obvious that there's an opening for something Dark to come into Albus's life.

This was never going to be a coherent "review", so instead I'm just going to share some random thoughts on this book/script.  Before I get to that, I just want to say that I've avoided all spoilers of this book until I read it this past week.  I mean, I knew it was about Harry and Ginny's son, and I did hear something about Draco having a child in this book, but that was seriously all I knew.  I didn't know who was "cursed" or why or really anything beyond the epilogue at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

So here are my thoughts on this new chapter of Harry Potter:

(PS-- Definitely some SPOILERS ahead)

  • I almost got up and did a tap dance when I found out that Harry's youngest son went into the Slytherin House.  I did a whole post on how I didn't think J.K. Rowling gave enough love to Slytherin-- and here I am a few months later reading about HARRY POTTER'S SON being in the house.
  • I'm in Slytherin if you didn't already figure that out-- but GUYS, we get a POTTER in our house now!!  I'm still dying of happiness inside.
  • I loved Scorpius.  He was hands down my favorite character.  He was bookish, the voice of reason, super loyal... I'm actually not sure why he got sorted in Slytherin except for his being a Malfoy.
  • I liked the premise, but it seemed a little basic for J.K. Rowling.  It was cool that there was a secret Voldemort heir and that it was a girl, but I didn't think there was enough set up for it to be a shocking revelation.  Maybe it feels different on the stage, but reading it in print, it fell a little flat.
  • The dialogue felt off to me somehow.  Especially as it went on.  I don't feel like they truly captured any of the character's real voices.  I just wasn't feeling that 100%.
  • Albus had highs and lows.  At the beginning I was feeling his angst.  It really would be hard to be the son of such a famous person-- there would be so many expectations-- but it would be even harder if you had older siblings that were talented.  Albus had a lot he was supposed to live up to, and I can totally see him rejecting all of it before he could fail.
  • After a while though??  Albus got on my nerves.  He was really whiney and wanted to make everything about his damn dad.  They'd be right in the middle of almost dying, and he'd stop and be like-- I wonder if my dad still thinks I'm a loser?  Scorpius deserved better.
  • I LOVED the Albus/Scorpius friendship!!  It was different from the Ron/Hermione/Harry friendship and I appreciated that.  It was an us-against-the-world type of friendship instead of us-against-an-evil-enemy.  I also loved that they weren't the heroes that the original characters were.  Scorpius and Albus were just regular dudes.
  • The other characters-- I really wasn't feeling the original Harry Potter characters.  Barely any of them felt like the same people.  I know Draco has been through a lot, and he may have begrudgingly helped with preventing Voldemort's return, but he would not have been chummy with Harry Potter.  I didn't think that was true to his character.
  • I didn't like how McGonagall let Harry, Ginny, Hermione, and Ron walk all over her.  I know Hermione is the Minister for Magic, but McGonagall is in charge at Hogwarts.  I didn't think that was true to her character.
  • Ron's character was half-assed.
  • I thought a lot things weren't being described well enough.  For example, when they're in the maze of the Tri-Wizard Tournament the time-turner runs out of time, as it had been doing every time they went back... next thing we know they're at a train station in 1981.  How did they get there and how did Delphi get away from them without them seeing her?  Also, why was she able to stay in 1981 for longer than 5 minutes?  If she destroyed the time-turner, why wasn't that told to us?
  • There were lots of little questions like that that kept coming up for me.
  • Hermione's office was another sore spot for me.  A.  Alohamora to get in the Minister for Magic's office-- really???  B.  Her library riddles to get to such a dangerous and forbidden object were not up to Hermione's intelligence level.
  • I do think it would be fun to see this on stage.  All the time-turner turning scenes would be cool to see.  It's fun imagining what effects they would use to bring that to life.  I would also love to see the stage-version of those Tri-Wizard events.
  • It feel like I spent the majority of this complaining, but I didn't hate it.  I'm glad it exists because it's FUN.  I was completely entertained and couldn't stop reading it.  Even though it didn't feel like a J.K. Rowling story-- it was supremely satisfying to read what she envisions for the future of the characters.

OVERALL: It's worth reading for any true Harry Potter fan even though I don't see this as a true addition to the original series.  This was more like authorized fan-fiction.  Fun to read, and fun to think this is what COULD have happened... but in my head I don't 100% put it as what DOES happen.

Did you read this?  What did you think of it?

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  1. I pretty much felt the same way about the book. I enjoyed it for what it was and didn't try to judge it against the actual HP books. The most annoying thing for me was Ron. He didn't even seem like Ron at all! Great review!

    1. Right?? Who was that dude they had pretending to be Ron? Because the guy in the book certainly wasn't anything like the Ron I remember. I agree with you though, it was fun to read, but didn't feel like it was a true part of the series. It didn't feel Rowling enough for me :(

  2. I totally agree with you about Scorpius and Albus and the original characters were definitely not portrayed in a way that was true to their younger selves. People change as they get older but not their personalities. I didn't care for the Delphi storyline. While I believe Bellatrix would have gladly had a child for Voldemort I thought when I read the original series that she couldn't have children. Otherwise like she told Narcissa, I think she (and her husband) would have been proud to raise little future Death Eaters for him. I highly doubt on the other hand that Voldemort would have wanted a child-the risk of someone who could be powerful enough to one day overthrow him? Also the fact that no one at Malfoy Manor (in Deathly Hallows) mentioned Bellatrix being pregnant. Malfoy was there so he would have known his aunt had a kid. Totally didn't make sense.

    I think it was fun to revisit the characters and the school and I liked that Albus became a Slytherin. While it didn't live up to my expectations I was still glad I read it. I treat it as a piece of fan fiction which is kind of what it read like. I believe the idea came from J.K. Rowling but she didn't write a word of it which is why it felt so different.

    Fantastic post!