“One person. All it takes is one person.”
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a play written by Jack Thorne concerning the next generation of students at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, specifically Harry and Draco’s sons, Albus and Scorpius, respectively. The play premiered in London in mid 2016 to mixed reviews, and will be moving to Broadway in early 2018. Its original cast include Jamie Parker (Harry Potter), Paul Thornley (Ron Weasley), Noma Dumezweni (Hermione Granger), Sam Clemmett (Albus Potter), and Anthony Boyle (Scorpius Malfoy). Dumezweni’s casting has brought to public awareness the amazing possibility of Hermione being black, which Harry Potter author Rowling supported.
The Elevator Synopsis:
Nineteen years have passed. The Golden Trio are now adults, and Harry’s second child, Albus, is starting his first year at Hogwarts. Unlike the rest of his family, though, Albus ends up in Slytherin House and befriends Scorpius, Draco Malfoy’s son whom many suspect of being Voldemort’s heir. At school, the boy struggles under the weight of his father’s legacy, while at home, Harry fails to bond with this elusive and unhappy child. But events take a turn for the worst when a powerful Time Turner falls into the hands of Albus and Scorpius. Originally intending just to save Cedric Diggory from being murdered all those years ago, the pair may have changed history forever and ushered in Age of Dark Magic like never before seen.
… spoilers ahead …
I didn’t enjoy this play at all, and actually gave it a one star rating on GoodReads. It was fun seeing old characters like Snape and Cedric revived. However, they neither talked nor acted like themselves. Snape in particular feels less like the Snape of the books, and more like the character that has evolved from the plethora of fan fiction that materialized since the original series’ publication. In the same vein, the writing felt very mediocre. Nothing stood out to me. Nothing made me catch my breath. No phrase was underlined or highlighted. The Harry Potter series had magic. They breathed and captivated me from the first page. The Cursed Child fell flat in comparison.
Furthermore, I found the time jumping tedious. Time travel has always been a difficult to handle, and I liked its limited use in Prisoner of Azkaban; it did its job and got out so the story can progress naturally. However, Cursed Child relies heavily on time turning. Each time the children go back, they change one small detail and cause massive “ripples” that alternate the future completely, a trope that happens in every time jumping narrative.
In regards to Delphi, one of the few new characters introduced in Cursed Child, I ended up feeling bad for her. How could anyone not? Her cries to get just a glimpse of her father echoed in my mind long after I finished. I’ve always appreciated Rowling’s ability to create complex villains. But the ending made the heroes, including Harry, who had once spent hours staring into a mirror to see his own parents, seem heartless.
As for the old characters, I had originally looked forward to seeing how they would behave as adults, but was severely disappointed. Ron is goofy and a caricature. Single Hermione is bitter and cruel. (Is this really the message we want to send? That losing the love of your life means that you become an empty shell? What happened to the full and balanced Hermione who continued to fight after Ron abandoned them in Deathly Hallows?) The only character who behaved believably were Harry and Ginny, who were bright spots in this otherwise drab work.
*Note: I read Cursed Child as an ebook. I fully acknowledge that my feelings may be different if I had seen the play performed.