Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Jack Thorne, J. K. Rowling and John Tiffany
3.75 / 5
This will be some final thoughts on the Cursed Child, which follows on from my review of Part One yesterday. Post your links to your reviews in the comments section if you have read it, make sure to label it with [Spoilers] so no one can accidentally have it ruined for them.
[A BIT SPOILERY, NOT TOO MUCH THOUGH]
Albus and Scorpius are the leading characters in this new tale into the Potterverse, and for the large part they are a double-act that come across well to the reader, their friendship being one of the highlights of the story. Their adventures together, though come from a different mindset to the original leading characters (Albus seeks out an adventure), takes them to historical places in Potter we know well. The revisiting of these places had a hit-and-miss effect with me, it was nice to be back at places, this time with a different mission, but I feel that an opportunity has been missed to expand the magical world further with the introduction of new and previously never been visited places.
Time-travel plays a crucial part in the Cursed Child. Again this was a little hit-and-miss for me. The hits were the finding of the Time Turner, and the scene in the Ministry of Magic (though the infiltration was very quick compared to Harry, Ron and Hermione’s in the Deathly Hallows), Albus and Scorpius’ use of the Time Turner and also the villain’s use of it. The main grapple I had was an almost deux ex machina device used by the writers, that being Draco waltzing in with his own Time Turner! With this Time Turner, the ending was made possible, which devalues it slightly. However, I must say the ending scenes were especially good, and would no doubt look incredible on stage.
I feel that the Cursed Child demands to be seen as a theatrical production rather than a stand-alone script. The form rather restricted the staple of a Potter novel, the fantastical descriptions of the magical world that we have come to love. On stage, this would be different due to the high levels of production and scenery which would be included. As a reading experience the script was lacking in regard to some of the characters as they were unestablished and underdeveloped, this could have been avoided if released as a book as the villain in the Cursed Child is given very little backstory, thus, the scale of threat did not reach the heights of Voldemort by a long way. The format leaves me with one big question: What would Rowling have done had the Cursed Child manifested itself in her most comfortable medium, with her idiosyncratic style of descriptions seamlessly guiding readers rather than leaving them to fill in the acting blanks and imagine how this script can be transformed to life on stage?
All in all, it is a welcome addition to the Harry Potter canon, though it will be the least revered due to the form. Undoubtedly the Cursed Child is much better portrayed on stage rather than script, the script feels like it is missing something…the magic perhaps? The typical Rowling descriptions that feature throughout the novels are gone, but in its place, more attention is given to the fractious relationship between a father and a son, and the burdens, problems and thoughts that they find hard to share with each other. Potterheads will be glad of another story to read (and see), though it will not reach the heights of success nor the heights of love that the novels or the films receive.