Friday, January 20, 2017

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Author: Jack Thorne
Format: Hardcover

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 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.

Let's be clear: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was a play that I wanted to love.  I wanted so desperately to love this play.  For it to be everything that it's predecessors were.  But after finishing Act 1, Scene 1, I knew, without a doubt, that this was not a Harry Potter story I would love.  When I finished, I realized not only did not I not LOVE it, I didn't even really like it.  

I have been a Harry Potter fan for 15 years.  For 15 years, I loved those first seven books.  From The Sorcerer's Stone when Harry gets that letter, then hears the words uttered by Hagrid that changed his life -  "You're a wizard, Harry" - to the moment in The Deathly Hallows when Harry kills Voldemort and the entire great hall erupts in cheers, and crying, and clapping, I have loved these books.  

I fell in love with Fred and George Weasley, laughing when they told Ginny they would send her a Hogwarts toilet seat.  I cried when Dumbledore, and Sirius, and Fred, and Lupin, and all these other amazing and wonderful characters died.  I rolled my eyes and groaned when Dolores Umbridge came out with yet another bloody educational decree.  I cried when Harry went into the headmasters office after he'd killed Voldemort and all the portraits were crying and clapping and happy.  

So, when I heard that there was ANOTHER story being developed - this one for the stage - I was excited, if a bit cautious.  After all, according the the end of the Deathly Hallows, "all was well."  After all, Voldemort was dead.  He stayed dead.  Hogwarts, Harry, the entire wizarding community - they were all safe.  Then, suddenly, The Cursed Child comes along, and shatters the pretense and, apparently, the illusion that all was well.  

Harry's children are at Hogwarts.  They are living their lives as little witches and wizards in training.  They are learning to fight and dream and time travel (because all the time turners DID NOT get destroyed at the Ministry after all.  And Harry - dear Harry - finds himself with his scar hurting again.  He also finds himself in the midst of a tumultuous time with his son Albus.  (At one point, he actually tells Albus that he wishes Albus were not his son.)  

The whole plot felt like a big train wreck.  Sure, the whole loving people for who they are thing was still there - Harry had to learn to love Albus for who he was and not who Harry wanted him to be, after all.  And they kept the theme of acceptance for all people.  That was good.  But overall, there was really minimal development and the whole story was predictable and poorly planned out and executed.  Also, I was really surprised at Albus's inability to figure out that Delphi was related to Bellatrix.  Was he not educated about who Bellatrix was?!  Surely he had seen at least ONE PICTURE of Bella in his life, and surely the remembrance of what she looked like would clue him in to the fact that Delphi was her DAUGHTER!!!!!!!

In terms of characters - there was no real change or development.  Even from who they were at the end of The Deathly Hallows.  Ron was an absolute moron in this book - he was just completely incapable of anything.  Now, out of their trio, we all know Hermione was the freaking genius.  But Ron is and never was completely stupid.  If anything, he was just your typical lazy teenage boy - but he should have grown out of that by the time he was grownup.  And the way Harry acted towards Albus was just not something I would have expected from him - he was horrific to Albus.  Mr. Treat everyone Kindly was an asshole.  He even went so far as to tell Albus he couldn't hang out with Scorpius, because Scorpius is a Malfoy and all the Malfoy's are evil no matter what!

With characters that fell flat, writing that was nowhere near as good as J.K. Rowling's, and a plot that could fight with Fifty Shades for the gold in Crap, I'd say that even die hard Potterheads like myself are better off saving your time and reading something else.  If you must read the book, get it from a friend or the library and save your money.  

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