I want to rate this book five stars and I want to rate this book one star.
“When spares are spared, when time is turned, when unseen children murder their fathers: Then will the Dark Lord return.”
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a script from the play (currently only playing in London) that stars Albus Potter, Harry and Ginny’s middle child, and his best friend, Scorpius Malfoy. Obviously we are not used to those last names being friends, let alone best friends, but their friendship is the best thing about this story.
The second best thing is seeing Slytherin in a positive light. We, so far, have only read thing in this series that star Gryffindor’s golden child. Reading other perspectives and representations of Hogwarts houses was amazing, and I wish we could get a lot more of it.
I was hesitant when I found out this script was going to be released as a book. All around me, everyone was jumping up and down, squealing with excitement. I was just going over in my head all the things that could go wrong. The Harry Potter series was perfect, and I didn’t want a dark cloud looming over what I consider my childhood.
I still went to the midnight release party (shout out to Henderson, NV’s Barnes & Noble for being absolutely amazing, and throwing together an equally amazing and organized event!), I still felt like a kid on Christmas, I still got extremely emotional when actually purchasing this book, I still took a selfie and posted it on all my social media outlets, because I was so thankful to be able to go to a midnight release party that celebrates my favorite books of all time. Especially when I believed there would never be another midnight release after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2007.
The Harry Potter magic is still alive and I was holding it with my own two hands. Every page I turned in Act One was like returning to the best place on Earth. I was even more emotional while reading and I had to stop myself every few pages just to collect my feelings. This, this magic I can’t describe, is why I want to give this book five stars. No other series in the world can do this and it’s not all about the nostalgia factor. Harry Potter is truly magic, and that magic deserves all the stars in the world.
I’m sorry, but the rest of this review is going to be filled with *SPOILERS*. I’m really not sure how to express my feelings without talking about major plot (or lack thereof) points.
The biggest issue I need to address, and hope I’m not alone with this feeling, is that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child felt like the biggest queer bait in the entire world. This feeling wasn’t brought about from me just hoping, there is so much subtext to help establish that Albus and Scorpius had something more than friendship. The evidence was so overwhelming, I was completely convinced and, more importantly, happy that J.K. Rowling was finally giving us something more than “oh, Dumbledore was gay”. But alas, the entire book makes you believe these two were in love and it’s for nothing. This was by far my biggest disappointment in this book.
My next biggest disappointment was the fact that Harry Potter was an asshole. Like, a really big asshole. The way he spoke to McGonagall, when trying to force her to monitor his child’s every movement, left me speechless. I wanted to stop reading the book right then and there.
And that terrible conversation came after he already said an unforgivable comment to Albus. I am not a mother, even though I hope to one day be one, but I can’t imagine, under any circumstance, would I ever tell my child I wish they weren’t my child. What a horrible thing to say, that is completely filled with hate. This is the boy I watched grow up and become to the most powerful wizard of all time, while learning lesson after lesson of how to be a good person? I was dumbfounded.
But you want to know who was a good father? Draco Malfoy. God, what I would give to read J.K. Rowling canon of Astoria Malfoy, who was able to help shape Draco and Scorpius into the men they are in this play. Draco showed such exponential growth, not only in this script, but since his time at Hogwarts. Such a wonderful character, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child portrayed him spectacularly. Oh, and he totally saved the day.
The other character I liked a lot was Delphi. I’m going to guess others will not feel this way, because Delphi feels like the biggest fan-fiction thing about this book, but I still enjoyed it. For those of you who are masochist and are spoiling themselves by reading my review, Delphi is Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange’s love child. Now, I know that this timeline feels questionable, because Delphi was supposed to be born before the Battle of Hogwarts, but I still let it slide and just enjoyed the “surprise”. I also felt a great deal of empathy for Delphi. I think Act Four in Godric’s Hollow was so sad for her, because all she wanted was to have her dad and have him be proud of her. Like, I know she was going to ruin the world, but her reasoning really resonated inside me, and I could understand her pain and desperation.
I was not expecting Cedric Diggory to play such a major role in this story. As much as I love Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, I wasn’t crazy about this plot line. I just seemed like a convenient plot they could manipulate into making people feel that Harry Potter nostalgia.
Speaking of convenient plots, I felt like the time turners were also too convenient. It worked amazing for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, but it felt so wrong here. I hated this plot device, and I have to assume that time turners are all different, because the two in this book didn’t work the same as the one in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I didn’t like it at all, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how freaking dangerous these things are, and how no one has used them in nineteen years, but all of a sudden the Potters have access to two? Talk about a big ass grey area plot point.
Other things that felt horrible:
-Dumbledore and Harry confessing their love to one another. Like, can you guys not? It felt so forced and awkward. I hated everything about that scene, which could have been a beautiful moment had it happened in the actual series and not nineteen years later.
-No one even talking about Teddy Lupin! Like, I’ve already said Harry was acting like a shitty father in this book; I shouldn’t be surprised if he’s a shitty godfather as well.
-Getting to see Lily get sorted, but no mention of Hugo’s sorting. It felt so weird for them to say his name a couple of times, but get nothing about his character. I understand his last name isn’t Potter, so he isn’t as important to this world, but he felt so neglected to me.
-How unlikable Rose, Ron and Hermione’s child, was.
-The Trolley Witch. Like, what the fuck did I just read?
-The baby Harry’s blanket. Like, did they sneak into the house and steal baby Harry’s blanket so they could write a message on it for present-day Harry? I am not too convinced that Lily and James wouldn’t have seen them, since they literally sacrifice themselves to protect Harry a few hours later.
So why am I giving this book, that I just ripped apart with my review, five stars? Because Act One of this play brought me more joy than any other book has in nine years. Yes, I am disappointed and, yes, I will agree that the majority of this felt like fan-fiction, but I can’t even put into words what small parts of this script did to me. I feel so thankful and so blessed that I was able to peak inside this world that was such a big reason for my happiness growing up. And in this world, that unconditional love and happiness deserve more than five stars.
I’m sorry if this review is all over the place with things I liked and didn’t like. I completely apologize if this seems really unorganized to you. I literally just sat down and starting typing all my feelings out and ended up having this cathartic experience. I completely understand the plot holes, and I hope I’ve listed all the major ones, and I understand that many of these characters that I grew up with were not acting like themselves. I also understand that I’m choosing to ignore a lot of these things, because, honestly, mostly nostalgia. I understand these one star reviews, and if I could separate myself from all the things that Harry Potter means to me, I probably wouldn’t give this a five star rating.