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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Legacy or Flop?

3 minutes to read

Warning: spoilers and a brutally honest opinion

I’m a massive Harry Potter fan. The kind who wrote her own Hogwarts letter painstakingly with a quill and ink way after age eleven; the kind who listened to a podcast breaking down the books chapter by chapter for the last four years. You’d think I’d be ecstatic by the release of yet another addition to the Potter universe with Harry Potter and the Cursed Child but I couldn’t be less excited by it.

The cast of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Source.

I farewelled Harry and his friends on the page back in 2007 with Deathly Hallows. I lined up for the book, raced to finish it before my sister, cried over the deaths and was content with the final words. After that, I got my kicks from the occasional info-drop from JK’s twitter and slightly longer expositions on Pottermore. And that’s the way I liked it.

Did we really need Cursed Child?

There’s one important thing to keep in mind before you pick up your copy of the script (not novel) though: it was not written by J.K Rowling herself. And it’s blatantly obvious. Instead the script was written by Jack Thorne, and the play directed by John Tiffany.

For those expecting the advertised ‘eighth story’ in the Potter saga, prepared to be disappointed with a poor-man’s addition that feels less like Harry Potter canon and more like a crack-pot fan fiction scooped out from the depths of Fanfiction.net. It truly pains me to write this but if it were just that, a story on the internet, I would have stopped reading half a dozen pages in.

Cursed Child weaves its story around Albus Potter who feels burdened by his father’s legacy, seeks comfort in a friendship with Scorpius Malfoy and finds himself mixed up in a convoluted time-travel plot to save Cedric Diggory. And that’s a very brief recap of the plot.

While I’ve been reminded countless times Cursed Child is to be enjoyed as a stage play and not simply mean to be read, I can’t help but think the absence of a stage and special effects for the mass population only draws attention to the flaws present in the dialogue and plot that are there no matter what.

As I finally read the play one evening, I found myself not quite believing these were some the same characters I’d gotten to know over the past decade. While Rowling influenced the plot, it seems Jack Thorne was left to his own devices when it came to the dialogue. When it comes to the crew of our original seven books, I felt some of the words said and actions taken by the Golden Trio and even Draco Malfoy felt out of character even with a twenty-plus year gap. And while we may be able to excuse some of the newer character as we don’t truly know them, there were still a few questionable lines (Scorpius: I’m quivering with geekiness!) that cannot be overlooked.