I have, for many reasons,been putting off reading this playbook. When the series ended, I was content with its closing and was even glad of the epilogue showing that light can come to those who have faced the dark. This is one of the main reasons I was hesitant in picking up any sort of continuation of the story. That being said, I do think that there are so many tales that can be told from this world, which is why I am so excited about Fantastic Beasts coming out this week. So it was with much skepticism that I dove into Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
HPCC was written for the stage by Jack Thorne and was based on an original story created by Thorne, J.K. Rowling and John Tiffany. A couple decades have passed since our trio left Hogwarts. Like we learn in the epilogue, Harry and Ginny end up together as do Ron and Hermione. Their kids are going off to school and it is here that the Potter’s middle child learns that he will be in Slytherin along with a boy who seems to be his only friend throughout: Scorpius Malfoy. The tale focuses on a couple of different parental relationships, how the younger generation are impacted by the past actions of their parents, and the importance of thought before action.
Albus Potter is the middle child. He often feels over looked and under appreciated. One night, in a heated fight, Harry accidentally comes back with a retort to the effect of “I wish you weren’t my son.” Ouch. This has a noticeable and obvious impact on the boy. Another important argument (this one Albus overhears and is not directly involved in) is had between Amos Diggory and Harry in which Amos blames Harry for Cedric’s death. All these many years later he is unable to accept the loss of his son and dwells on the fact that he was the “spare”. Collateral damage. The feeling of being the spare really resonates with Albus and he decides that preventing Cedric’s death would be a good course of action for setting things straight.
I don’t really understand this logic. This mission of his just doesn’t reeeeally make sense.
At this same time a Time Turner is discovered and taken in by the Ministry (oh yeah, Hermione is Minister for Magic, whaaaa?!) and isn’t this just perfect since Albus has decided that going back in time is exactly what he needs to do. How. Convenient.
So he and Scorpius go back in time to the Triwizard Tournament (a.k.a. book four). And wouldn’t you just know it but they mess shit up. Like really really badly. What frustrates me so much about this idea of theirs (which the story is largely based around) is that they are so inconsiderate of their actions and don’t even pause to think what undoing something that had happened two decades prior would do to the present. Preventing someones death that far back….I can’t even begin to fathom how many wrinkles that would produce. Which is why it seems so implausible. These kids have grown up in the wizarding world. Don’t you think they would be aware of the repercussions that something like this could have? I can see how there would be a counter argument formed: if they are living in a world in which all Time Turners had been abolished (/destroyed) maybe the perils of time travel weren’t taught to them. I don’t know. What I do know is that their ignorance sure does not create bliss.
When they get back to the present all sorts of things have gone haywire. So what do they do but decide to go back AGAIN to right what they’ve wronged. This time they travel to the second task and guess what…they eff some more shit up. When they get back to the present some people (including one of our main characters) weren’t even born! That’s how messed up things get. Also, Voldy is alive and well in this new present. Great. Now, to fix this, time must be travelled through…again.
This goes on and it is a total of four times that our characters traverse the time stream. Unbelievable.
A complaint that I have heard/read from many Potter fans is that the way Harry treats Albus doesn’t match up with the character we all grew up loving. I totally see where these thoughts are coming from. There are definitely some lines that I had to reread and recheck who the speaker was because it just seemed so out of touch. However, to that I say: Harry is a parent in this time. We have never before seen him in this role. So obviously there are going to be new facets of his character with which we are not as familiar. I mean, 20 years have passed, ya know? I definitely hope that some my 17 year old self’s traits evolve by the time I’m 37 (I’m about midway through that evolution and think things are going quite nicely…but I digress).
When all is said and done, I did not hate the read but I was not over the moon about it. It is very easy to get through because it is dialogue and stage direction and not any sort of expository “stuff” or narration. I would definitely encourage all Potter fans to check it out but I would caution them to go into it with an open mind. This is the story of Albus Potter despite Harry’s name being in the title. This is a play and not a book and as such should be viewed for what it is: a different medium. This is extensive fan fiction flushed out by Rowling and not penned by her. This is one to add to your Rowling shelf in the hopes that more stories (written by her or not) are to come.