Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter #8)
Play written by: Jack Thorne
Based on a story by: JK Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany
Set 19 years after the Battle of Hogwarts, Hermione Granger-Weasley is now the Minister of Magic and married to Ron, who runs Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes (the joke shop his brothers started). Harry Potter is the head of Magical Law Enforcement, tasked with finding the last of the Death Eaters, and has three children with Ginny. Things aren’t well in the life of Albus Severus Potter, the couple’s second child.Albus starts his schooling at Hogwarts by befriending Scorpius Malfoy, son of his father’s dreaded enemy Draco. Both boys are sorted into Slytherin – where all the bad wizards seem to go. The two are soon the target of bullies, Albus for not living up to his father’s name and Scorpius because there is a rumor that he is the son of He Who Must Not Be Named. Both boys are at odds with their fathers and desperate for a little recognition. When Albus overhears Amos Diggory blame Harry for the death of his son, Cedric, he decides to right what he feels is one of his father’s many wrong. Recruiting Scorpius and Cedic’s cousin Delphi, he steals a Time Turner from Hermione’s office at The Ministry of Magic. The boys then travel back in time to the TriWizard Tournament in an attempt to save Cedric and maybe show their fathers that they are worthy sons in the process. But time is not to be trifled with – and not everyone is as they seem. Soon the boys are lost in the past. Harry, Hermione and Ron must find a way to bring the boys back, while keeping their own timeline intact.
First off, in case you were unaware, this is a PLAY. It is written in script format, complete with stage direction. I was aware of this prior to purchasing the book, so I wasn’t as surprised as some other unfortunate buyers who thought they were getting a novel written by JK Rowling. Though this is technically the eighth book in the Harry Potter series, it is not a novel.
This is a good story, even though it involves one of my least favorite Harry Potter plot devices, the Time Turner. The play focuses on the two boys, Albus and Scorpius. Albus comes across as a bit of a whiny teenager – but then, so did Harry in Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince. Scorpio is, oddly, the better written of the two characters. You feel sorry for Draco’s son, with the loss of his mother and the constant questions concerning his parentage. Yet, the character doesn’t feel sorry for himself, and that’s what makes him kind of great. He pushes on, trying his best to be a decent wizard and a good friend. Scorpius really is the star of the show here. Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny have all aged well, though their jobs all seemed a bit too obvious. I would have liked one of them to divert from the clear paths the previous books laid out. Also, as much as I love McGonagall, it was a bit unrealistic to think she would still be Headmistress after 19 years. It would have been nice to have a new adult character here – someone to offset return of all the familiar faces. These are minor problems, however, as this is a good tale. The problem with this lies with the format. I would have preferred if Rowling had taken the basic story and fleshed it out to be an actual novel. This would have given us a lot more insight to the characters and their family dynamic. It also would have allowed more time to be spent with the boys in Hogwarts. As it is, it feels a bit spare – like the skeleton of a really good book. What it did do, however, is make me want to see the play, which is probably the point of releasing this as it stands.