Harry Potter and the Cursed Child • J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany, & Jack Thorne | Teen Ink

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child • J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany, & Jack Thorne MAG

December 24, 2016
By AlaNova ELITE, Naperville, Illinois
AlaNova ELITE, Naperville, Illinois
257 articles 0 photos 328 comments

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Harry Potter returns … to the stage? After taking on the shelves, the screen, and an informal YouTube debut with “A Very Potter Musical,” the Boy Who Lived can now be found in the Palace Theater in London. In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the iconic trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermione have been replaced by the next generation of Weasleys and Potters, although there are still appearances from the wizards we know and love.

Albus Severus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy find themselves outsiders as soon as they arrive at Hogwarts. Doomed by their famous parents, Scorpius is labeled the spawn of Voldemort, Albus the son of the Boy Who Lived. Worse yet, Albus is sorted into Slytherin, his only solace is his friendship with Scorpius. Events that went down in wizarding history will resurface, as Albus Severus schemes to revisit the tri-wizarding tournament 20 years earlier. But as we know, time-turners are trickier than they seem and have untold consequences when one revisits the past. It will put to the test the strained father-son relationships of both the Potters and Malfoys, as Great Evil threatens to return again.

Before I go on, I have to say that it feels wrong to critique Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, since it is, first and foremost, the published script of a London theater production. The book is not the final product. There are also actors and actresses to take into account, such as Jamie Parker as an older Harry, Noma Dumezweni as Hermione, and Paul Thornley as Ron. Alex Price plays Draco Malfoy, and Poppy Miller is Ginny Potter. As for the younger cast and crew, Anthony Boyle debuts as the silver-haired Scorpius, and Sam Clemmett is Albus Severus. The casting of Noma Dumezweni as Hermione caused a stir, since the original movie starred Emma Watson. However, as J.K. Rowling stated, the books never specified Hermione’s race. Then there’s the theatrical special effects, which, according to online reviews, make Cursed Child truly spectacular. So there’s a lot of room for interpretation in the bare-bones skeleton of Cursed Child. But here’s what I think, as a lifelong “Potterhead.”

The cover lists J.K. Rowling as a collaborator, but the work doesn’t seem like her. The characters are not nearly as dimensional as we last saw them, waving good-bye to their children on Platform 9¾. Harry taps into relevant themes as he fails to connect with his son, but he doesn’t quite act like the character we’ve known since Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Ron is reduced to a joking trope, and Hermione is less genuine than we know her to be. That’s how the lines read to me, at least. Even Malfoy isn’t satisfying, reduced to a ridiculous lookalike of his father, which is hard to believe after everything he went through.

The plot doesn’t feel like Rowling’s either; it lacks her interconnected emotional genius. To put it frankly, there’s nothing new. There’s some excitement, as we watch Albus and Scorpius whiz through their first years at Hogwarts. But even our new frontrunners aren’t as interesting, dynamic, and fleshed-out as they could be. Without doing away with Rowling’s no-spoilers #KeeptheSecrets, I’ll say that not much new goes on in the plot. Instead, we continually loop back to the tri-wizarding tournament from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which sometimes produces ludicrous results. The script reads like a thoughtfully written yet unimaginative work of fan fiction, which is a bummer.

That said, it’s not terrible. There are touching moments and clever ideas. Cursed Child is great for younger audiences. It also makes for an interesting read to see the next generation of wizards. We are allowed to speculate about something between Rose Weasley and Scorpius Malfoy.

Personally, I was genuinely disappointed. I’ve been eating up Hogwarts business since I was 10 years old. When Cursed Child came out in June, my entire town put on their Hogwarts robes and brandished homemade wands. Those books impacted my life, like countless others around the world, in a way I can’t fully explain.

It’s tough for anything to follow the original books by Rowling, not to mention the magical film septology. We wonder who’s the cursed child now.

The author's comments:

What does "THHRe" stand for? It's THE HOLY HITCHHIKE’S REVIEW...A shorter version of the Hitchhike, reviews principally concerning books, movies, and music. Enjoy, and let loose your commentary and suggestions below. A new column of THH every Friday!


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