Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

August 18, 2016 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

childHarry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

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Despite being a huge fan of the Harry Potter series, I wasn’t all that eager to read this newest entry. It wasn’t written by Rowling, it was a script and not a book, and it was set outside of the events that cemented the character. I figured that I would eventually get around to it, but I couldn’t get as excited about it as I was when, say, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. That I got to it as soon as I did was only because of a coupon on an already-good deal.

The story is set nineteen years after the end of Deathly Hallows, and is more about Harry’s son Albus and Draco’s son Scorpio than anything else. I’m fine with that — stories set in the same universe but around different characters appeal to me more than additional stories about established characters (though that could be the Star Wars Expanded Universe talking) — but the writer(s?) decide to dip back into Harry’s life to establish the backbone of the story. There’s a convoluted story of time travel and paradoxes in place that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and since that means Albus and Draco go back to the events in the original series, it also means the authors are relying on those moments to carry the story. It has its emotional moments, but only because the story dips back into the most emotional moments of the original stories and replays them for us. What original bits remain feel flat and emotionless.

I won’t spoil the story (such as it is), but somehow the authors don’t understand the appeal of the characters they’re writing about. Harry isn’t supposed to be a bumbling father who spends more time with his work than his family and doesn’t understand them; Ron isn’t supposed to be relegated to being useless comic relief; and Snape isn’t supposed to be an obvious hero. I think their portrayal of Snape is probably the worst part of the story, because in the original series, he had a depth of character due to his hidden motivations, but here the authors bring it right to the front, changing him from a menacing, brooding antihero to being a cliched good guy. That felt like more of a betrayal than anything else in the story.

It’s probably not fair to judge the entire story off of the script alone, since this is a story meant to be seen instead of read. The story seems to move too quickly, and it’s hard to get a sense of the characters through dialogue alone. Also, one of the neat things about the series was how everything was told through Harry’s perspective; even though Harry isn’t the main character of this story, it still jumps around from character to character, which is unusual for the series.

I didn’t expect too much from this story, but it was still disappointing. On the plus side, I feel certain this is going to be released on Blu-Ray within a year or two, and I’ll be able to experience the story as it was intended. I’m still not sure if the story is enough to carry even the performance, but I’ll likely watch it just to be sure.

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