Cursed Child

(Contains spoilers)

Image from — Cover art for Cursed Child (2016)

Okay, so I’m a huge fan of Harry Potter, but some Potterheads wouldn’t consider me to be, because I did indeed watch the movies first. I have also read the books only once (but was planning on reading them this summer). The reason why I like the movies more is simply because I get nostalgic feeling from them. I didn’t read the books as a child, but I did wish every new Potter movie for a Christmas present. The movies just mean more to me, and it’s okay if you have the opposite opinion, which I also reckon to be the more popular one. I’m probably not going to review the Potter books, because I feel like I should review them as a whole, and not as separate pieces, which sounds too broad of a topic to me. However, when I heard that Wizarding World was getting more content on it, besides the Fantastic Beasts, I thought that I finally found a way to enjoy the reading experience on first hand, before the possible live recreations. Well, the reading experience indeed did come first, but it was not pleasant at all.

Cursed Child is two-part play, which was written by Jack Thorne, based on the story, that Thorne, J.K. Rowling and John Tiffany created together. Bear in mind, that the first time that I read the book, I hadn’t done much research on it, and didn’t know that it was a “collaboration” of some sort. In 2016 Cursed Child was released in a form of a fantasy novel also. The story is based on the same Wizarding universe, where Harry, Ron, Hermione, and everyone else we know and love, also exist in. Harry and Ginny’s son Albus is starting Hogwarts and, already in the beginning, he finds out that being Harry Potter’s child might not be such a good thing for him. He feels pressured to be selected in “the right house”. He doesn’t succeed in his studies as well as he hoped, and making friends is difficult for him. He feels useless and a disappointment to his parents. Then, he overhears Amos Diggory’s pleas about bringing his son back using one of the last time turners that Ministry has. After Harry understandable refuses, Albus decides to bring Cedric back on his own.

First, I’m going to quickly acknowledge what J.K. Rowling is doing nowadays. I have to say that I firmly believe that Cursed Child and all the other franchise products seem to be just quick money grasps. She also constantly tries to change Potter books to be more inclusive, than they actually were and are. I don’t think that anyone had as much of a problem with the non-diversity of the story, when comparing to the ridiculous claims about the characters that have been brought up recently. Why do we have to know now, that Dumbledore was gay, if it didn’t have any affect to the plot at the time?

Presumably the literature form is way different in Cursed Child than Potter books, because it’s a play, but I didn’t find that to be one of my biggest problems with the story. When I first bought the book I read it in one sitting, and the same happened this time too. That kind of text is really easy and quick to read. I decided to do a list of all the things that bothered me about this novel, and believe me, there’s a lot:

  1. I feel like the main characters are stuck at the age they were in Potter books. Obviously we all maintain same personality traits and such when we grow up, but I don’t see any character development even after 20 years. One example for this is the comedic Ron “the over-eater”, where he’s constantly talking about food or seen with it. I know that these books are meant for children, but you can’t claim that Rowling didn’t think of the fact that the original Potterheads are now adults as well.
  2. Speaking of the lack of character development, some of these characters did develop, but in a worst way possible. I’m sure, that I wouldn’t have recognized some of them by their behavior, if they didn’t have their names written down before every scene. Firstly, I don’t think that there can even be an universe where Harry can yell and threaten McGonagall into silence. And to top that, she promises to keep an eye over some teenagers, who are not supposed to spend time together. I’m sure she has better things to do as the headmaster of Hogwarts. Secondly, Draco and Harry are not friends and I find it hard to believe that at the end they would bond together and talk about their dreams and ambitions over a nice hot cup of tea.
  3. I also think that Rowling did some of the character developments based on the response that she got from the Potter books. She tried to fix Dumbledore's image through this play, and portrayed him as lovable, mourning man. During the conversations that Harry had with Dumbledore’s painting, Dumbledore was teary eyed, and even cried when he reassured that he had always loved Harry — “I have never been able to love without harm”, and that’s supposedly why he waited over 20 years to finally said it to him. He’s not even alive, he’s memories are, so why tell him now? Welcome to Dumbledore’s pity party everyone… Would you like something to drink? Also the scenes with Snape feel more like a weird recap of earlier events. He also shows this new emphatic, impassioned and selfless side of him, which I have never seen. He didn’t care about Harry, only Lily, and that love could be also described as possessive.
  4. Over the last 20 years, you would have thought that the Ministry of Magic had increased it’s security. Did they learn nothing from the war? It was so easy to Albus, Scorpio and Delfi to portray themselves as the trio, and break in. It seemed so unrealistic when they didn’t face any obstacles on their way. Even Hermione, the brightest witch of her time, couldn’t come up with better hiding place for the time turner than the bookcase. All the potion making and spells didn’t require much (if any) practice for Albus and Scorpio. I get that it’s a play and things should happen quite quickly, but the plot just seemed to handle too many things at the same time.
  5. The main plot is just straight up stupid. Harry’s adventures were justified, because, as he said himself too, he was forced to face things that no teenager should go through. Albus’ reasoning for saving a boy that he had hardly even heard of, was that he knows how it feels to be “useless” like Cedric. That’s such a poor excuse to risk your own life over — not to mention your friends’ and family’s. I was also so disappointed with the effects of the time travelling. You are telling me, that only Ron’s jealousy in Yule ball moved his and Hermione’s relationship eventually from friends to lovers, and without that, they wouldn’t have gotten together? And what about Cedric? Just the humiliation in the lake snapped him and turned him into death eater? Hard to believe. Another big question mark was the vision where Harry figured out where Albus and Scorpio were. Harry haven’t had these visions since Voldemort died, so how did he now suddenly begin experiencing them? Quite convenient I would say. When Voldemort was alive, the reasoning behind those dreams or visions, whatever you might like to call them, was that he had a part of Voldemort’s soul in him. He doesn’t have that anymore, so does he just become a human compass when ever Voldemort’s relatives are nearby? Did Delfi do that on purpose or what’s going on?
  6. Oh and the fanservices, so many fanservices… We get to experience more of Harry’s childhood, but the information is vague and pointless, and doesn’t carry the plot forward at all. Both conversations with Dumbledore, and with Bane in the Forbidden Forest, don’t provide anything. They are just there, because, I guess they thought that familiar characters would make the story more interesting. There’s many more name droppings, such as Trelawney, and mentions of certain objects, such as the invisibility cloak, Lily’s patronus and Marauder’s map. The same way they mentioned Lupin’s advice on eating chocolate if you hurt or stress yourself too much. I guess those can be fun, little “Easter eggs” to some.
  7. It really seems like the Potter universe has just two types of people: the book worms/ over achievers (Hermione, Rose, Scorpios, Ginny) and the “fuck-ups” (Ron, sometimes Harry, Albus). It’s really repetitive and doesn’t provide anything unique to the new characters. Not to mention the lack of diversity once again, which just proves that Rowling really doesn’t care about creating distinctive, special and, to many, relatable story lines and characters. Cursed Child was released in 2016, so she could’ve made new characters fit into her apparently inclusive viewpoint of Hogwarts. Oh, and people say that LGBTQ+ community forces inappropriate themes into the media, when in Cursed Child, Albus literally voluntarily kisses his aunt, Hermione, multiple times AND Scorpios jokes about Albus liking older women such as teachers. Ugh, why is this still normalized if the people in question are straight?
  8. So, I saved the biggest WTF-moment last — Voldemort has a daughter. I can see how this would be exiting to some — who would be a better bad guy than Dark Lord’s daughter. Well, in this case, anyone else. Tom Riddle didn’t have any romantic or even friendly relationships. Even in school he associated with people in order to form and maintain his authority. I won’t believe that he had any sexual desires either. Bellatrix obviously was more complex as a character— she was married, so she, at least, had some desires for companionship. It could be possible that, what made Bellatrix such a reliable ally, was that she was madly in love with Voldemort. In my opinion, it’s still not possible that they would do anything sexual together. And where did Delfi go after they died? Who took care of her? The whole thing is just so far fetched, that my brain hurts.

Overall, Cursed Child is pointless. At the end, Albus can’t bring Cedric back and Delfi doesn’t achieve her ambitions either. This story is just basically J.K. Rowling justifying why she chose such awful, awful names for Harry’s children. Dumbledore and Snape both have to mention how pleased they are that Albus carries their names. I might have liked the story if it was an actual fanfiction, which it seemed to be, but because it’s a serious sequel-like piece, it’s just depressing. I’m sorry Cursed Child (not really), but I have to do this to you.




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Reviewing books I happen to stumble upon. Definitely just an amateur’s opinions. Enjoy!